As part of the research work for my master’s program in Organizational Management at Ashford University, I was asked to define what viral marketing is and explain why it is a valuable online marketing strategy. One thing I was sure that my investigative work would uncover is that viral marketing is a very effective strategy advertisers use to spread their message from one person to another. In fact, this is a tactic that counts on individuals’ ability to get excited about something so that they will go out and share it with friends and family through various social media outlets.
The research work I conducted helped me understand various reasons why things like wristbands, nonfat Greek yogurt, the Atkins and South Beach diets, iPhones, and the Macarena caught on. In his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, Berger (2013) explained that fads like these are forms of social epidemics – instances where ideas, products, and behaviors became a part of public consciousness that was helped spread by word of mouth. According to Berger’s research, there are three main reasons why products go viral: (1) they are innovative products of high quality or ideas that offer value; (2) they are products or services that have been given discounts or offer equal value as their pricey competitors; and (3) they offer unique advertising efforts (Berger, 2013). Although it is fairly easy to identify samples of social contagion, it is actually much more difficult to get something new to actually go viral.
One reason some products and ideas become sensations is because they are just better products. In other words, when items come along that function more efficiently or offer a unique experience, people tend to want to own them. For example, earlier models of television and computer monitors were large and weighed considerably. Flat screen sales skyrocketed because they offered larger screens and weighed less. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why these items became a sensation.
In my eBook (also available in audio book format), The Value of Strategic Management (2014), my research work provides more details on how companies strategically develop management plans to entice consumers and get them excited about their brand so that they will take some kind of action to help spread the word. This research work also helped me understand how the Avon Company came up with a marketing plan to breathe new life into the firm that was once an industry leader in direct sales beauty products. What I discovered is that leaders at the Avon Company came up with an effective marketing plan, that was aimed to excite a new generation of women about their innovative new products. In doing so, they were instrumental in helping the brand regain momentum and earn them a higher status in the global marketplace (Berry, 2014). In short, leaders that focus their online marketing strategies to appeal to consumers emotions, are in a better position to encourage viral marketing and improve the firm’s overall performance.
That’s it for today! On Wednesday we will continue our online marketing discussion. Until then … stay organized!
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Berger, J. (2013). Contagious: Why things catch on. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.
Berry, M. A. (2014). The Value of Strategic Management. USA: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.