Definition of Viral Marketing
The New Word of Mouth


What exactly is the Definition of Viral Marketing? This is a very important topic to explore because viral marketing may very well be the key to your business' success.

viral marketingOnce you understand the power and value of the viral philosophy, you will be ready to launch into a viral marketing campaign that will catapult your business ahead of the competition.

What does a virus have anything to do with your business? Although it makes use of a seemingly undesirable—albeit a fitting one, as you will realize later—metaphor, viral marketing is actually a tool that can promote your business exponentially. To understand the concept more clearly check out our top 10 viral marketing examples.
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So, what is the true definition of viral marketing and how is it relevant to your business?


Definition of viral marketing

Wikipedia defines viral marketing or viral advertising as “marketing techniques that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes.” The strategy is designed to be similar to the far-reaching spread of pathological or computer viruses.

InvestorWords.com came up with its own definition of viral marketing as “a marketing tactic relying upon some aspect of the system to cause the promotion to propagate itself as initial targets pass the promotion onto others.”

And the cool thing is it applies to customer to business and business to business marketing ideas. Leave no stone unturned.

Another definition of viral marketing is offered by Love to Know Business: “a marketing strategy that encourages people to spread the word by sharing information with people they know.”

Web Marketing Today pitched in this definition of viral marketing: “(It) encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, (even) millions.”

Internet viral marketing and the use of viral marketing products are relatively modern coinage. It has existed for almost a decade, but it’s only now that it has taken a whole new mainstream significance when used in the context of online marketing. The simplest old-fashioned definition of viral marketing is “word of mouth.”

Other similar terms for viral marketing are buzz marketing, network marketing, and leveraging the media. The latter definitions, however, are mostly associated with offline promotional strategies and advertising techniques. On the internet, however, the phrase “viral marketing” is still the most widely used. And on the internet, the specific type of marketing called viral email marketing has been embraced by many successful business people.
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You are guilty of infecting others with this virus

Whether you realize it or not, you too have, in one way or another, become a viral marketer at some point in your life. Remember telling your friends, colleagues and family about that particular restaurant where they serve the yummiest, most tender of steaks? Do you remember gushing to your friends about the movie “Troy” after seeing Brad Pitt’s derriere?

Do you have any idea how many people you have influenced in trying that restaurant or watching “Troy”? You will probably say, “Well, I only told about half a dozen people.” But each of those half a dozen people probably told half a dozen people who in turn told another half a dozen people each. If we try to come up with a rough estimate, the people you have helped influenced with your gustatory enthusiasm about a particular dining place and your visual delight about Pitt’s movie would be about 216, and it’s still counting! Now, that’s viral marketing for you.

The good thing about it is that, you may have stopped gushing about that restaurant and that movie a long time ago, but the power of your word of mouth didn’t stop there. At this very moment, more and more people are being influenced about what you had said. And to think, we only considered you alone as the originating host! How about the others who have thought and said the same things about that restaurant and that movie? Gee, through mere word of mouth alone, you can almost do away with expensive banners and billboards!


Do you now see the power of viral marketing?


When using this powerful tool to your advantage, you may want to remember another definition of viral marketing, that it’s like a tiny pebble dropped into a pond, creating ripples that spread farther and farther long after the pebble has sunk to the bottom.

As you may already have realized by now, the system will work best for you if the image being spread is a positive one. Viral marketing can work both ways: it can promote your business in a positive light, or it can ruin it if the people are spreading negative aspects about your business. So, make sure they can only say good and interesting things about you.

A corporation that has done an excellent job of using a viral campaign to spread their message is Starbucks Coffee Company. The Starbucks marketing strategy was implemented in a subtle yet highly effective way that has influenced other up and coming companies.

Now, that you know the definition of viral marketing and how it can be an effective business ally both online or offline, use this strategy to draw people to your business. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you want to increase traffic to your existing business, you can count on this friendly virus to drum up your sales.


Are there any disadvantages of viral marketing?


The disadvantages of viral marketing happen when a business does not put it's best step forward, and someone (like a patron) decides to spread the word. Unfortunately it could be a one-time deal. We all have a bad day from time to time.

So how can a business recover from some bad publicity? The best way to deal with any kind of complaint is to tackle it head on. Face it. Do not ignore it. Ignorance could run you out of business. Look at the complaint made against your business honestly. If there is relevance to it, correct the issue.

But, what if the complaint was unwarranted? It happens all the time. A customer is having a bad day, and suddenly this patron's view point is completely skewed. Sometimes, there may a hint of a problem nestled in the complaint. Rise above the pettiness, and show the customer you care.

If the complaintant addresess you at your place of business spouting venom, stay calm. Adopt a stance of understanding, and nod your head. Many times their complaint will stop with the right kind of response from an owner, manager or other staff member. Be sure to train your staff well.

But if the patron leaves your establishment, and writes some comments on a review-type blog or posts an unfavorable comment on a review site, make sure you get a chance to write a response. Handle this with dignity and finese. Spewing back unsavory comments will only make the unsatisfied patron look like a justified victim. This type of internet viral marketing has the potential to reach millions of visitors. Make your comment count.

In the end there really are no disadvantages to viral marketing, when it's good, it's great. And when it's not good, it has the opportunity to be great.


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