Sunday, January 31, 2010

From Mass Marketing to Viral Marketing

From Mass Marketing to Viral Marketing

The digital age has given us the tools to change the way we market products. But although the Internet and the huge growth of digital devices has been around now for 10-15 years, most marketers haven’t really began to understand its full potential. Why?...

50-100 years of mass marketing inertia is the answer.

Let’s take a closer look…

Viral marketing
has been with us for more than 90 years. In the 20’s, although it later became illegal, the Ponzi Scheme was one of the first amazing examples of how successful a Viral Marketing campaign can get. With the arrival of mass media advertising (Radio in the 20’s – 30’s and TV in the 50’s – 60’s), viral marketing was left aside for a few decades but now in the digital era it has come again strongly. Internet and mobile devices speed up and facilitate enormously communications between people, creating a fertile ecosystem where the “Virus” of an intelligently designed marketing campaign can spread like never before. To get an idea of how fertile the terrain is for Viral Marketing campaigns, let’s take a look at some findings of an eMarketer Study on Viral Marketing:

  • 89% of US adults share content by e-mail
  • 25% share content daily
  • Only 5% of respondants would refuse to share content that contains a clear brand message

… And these data is from 2006 !! Before Twitter, Facebook and Social Media became popular !!

What this data is showing is that never before in the recent history of marketing, users were so eager to spread a marketing message, had so many tools available and at such low cost. This poses a great challenge to today’s marketers. We’re just starting to see the tip of the iceberg regarding Viral Marketing in the digital era. Even though online advertising has grown at consistently high rates (see how Online Advertising has overtaken TV advertising in UK) most of it is still mass marketing. Most marketers only shift budgets from TV or Radio to massive online advertising campaigns but don’t really take advantage of all the new features and possibilities this new media has. After many decades of marketers specialized in mass media channels (Newspapers, TV, Radio, etc), it’s gonna take some time, and probably require a generational change until we see Top Brands with regular viral campaigns, big budgets assigned to Viral Marketing and really specialized professionals in this field.

This is the first of a series of three posts dedicated to Viral Marketing. In the next post, we’ll take look at the Viral Marketing Mindset.

Copyright MBA Internet Marketing Manager

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