Traditional marketers have always defined their approach by the Five P’s: People, Product, Price, Promotion, Place. Viral Marketing (VM), on the other hand, is the family of marketing techniques that make it easy – or automatic – for existing clients to refer new prospects. This white paper also includes brief case studies for professional service firms, charitable fundraising, and book publishing.
Many years ago, there was a television commercial for shampoo that ended with the main character saying “And they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on”. While the ad copywriter probably didn’t know it, this simple line of dialog precisely defines the goal of Viral Marketing. This white paper provides perspective on the topic.
Traditional marketing follows a traditional analytical path:
People: Each market segment is defined; not only who they are (demographics), but also how they make their purchase decisions.
Product: What does the product actually do, and what need does it satisfy? There are a number of other questions that also require analysis and decisions: How is it designed, what are the unique features, is there a service component to the product, what is the warranty? And of course, what is the price?
Price: How much should the product cost? And what is it’s value in the mind of a prospect?
Promotion: How will the product be promoted to the people? Advertising? Media Relations? Coupons? Online?
Place: Which channels should the product be sold through: Direct, retail, digital, etc? Do the distribution channels vary by market segment?
Once these five attributes are analyzed and decisions made, then what remains is execution. Of course, the reality is a bit more complex, as better marketers assess the competition, reach back into product development and then forward into advertising, public relations, sales compensation plans, partnerships, and after-sales support.
It is not an either-or between traditional and viral marketing: traditional analysis is a prerequisite to a viral marketing strategy, in that it helps define the baseline on which to build, and ensures that no basics are overlooked.
Viral marketing (VM) can be defined as the family of marketing techniques that make it easy – or automatic – for existing relationships to refer new prospects. It takes a fundamentally different approach than traditional marketing, and rests on three basic tenets:
What can a Viral Marketer build into the product that empowers the client or prospect to make a recommendation? The opportunities are unlimited, but here are seven of the places where this can be made to happen:
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