Viral Marketing

Virtual Marketing
– Permission instead of interruption –
dr. Albert Benschop
17 February 2015
Who I am & what I do
 Sociologist University of A’dam
 Cybersociology
– New discipline
– Internet as instrument & object of research
Social Science Information System
Studies on the peculiarities of cyberspace
“Cyberwar has already started,
and your computer takes part in it.”
How many marketing messages do we see in a day?
In a world of mass-marketing we are consistently overloaded
with adverts that compete for our limited time & attention span.
 Estimation: range from 3.000 to 20.000 (Yankelvich Research)
They counted every time you pass by a label in a grocery store, all the
ads in your mailbox whether you see them or not, the label on everything
you wear, etc.
 We see at least 247 images per day but probably don’t notice
half of them even though we’ve been exposed (Consumerreports)
When messages are in reasonable proximity for you to see, it doesn’t
mean you saw them. Our brains can’t process that many messages.
 Overflow of interruptions 
People will disregard them, tune out, and refuse to respond.
No Second Life for Coca Cola
As soon as Coca Cola discovered Second Life it tried to pollute this 3-D virtual
world in a massive advertisement campaign which shocked the inhabitants.
Virtual Thirst: Control+Alt+Refresh
Silicone Cola Avenue
Cola Vending Machines
on every virtual corner
How happy can you be
in your ideal imagined society
Who likes to drink virtual coca cola?
In virtual worlds we don’t drink at all.
There’s no digital liquid to swallow.
For Cola ads nothing is sacred
Virtual marketing
 Trying to sell something without direct contact
 Trade without Touch
 Building online contact with people you can reach via
internet & mobile networks
 Create a feeling of proximity, a sense of presence
 Traditional orientation on social-statistic target groups
replaced by targeting individuals
 From element in a demographic category to real persons (“one-to-one”)
 Crucial factor: disposition on detailed and actual info
on specific persons
 Acquire “Big Data”
Viral Marketing (1)
 Marketing techniques that use pre-existing social
networking services to generate increases in brand
awareness or product sales through selfreplicating viral processes.
 Distribution: by word of mouth or enhanced by
network effects of internet & mobile communication.
Viral Marketing (2)
 Viral messages can utilize an endless amount of
potential forms & vehicles for transmission, including
mobile devices.
– Forms of viral marketing: video clips, interactive Flash games,
advergames, ebooks, brandable software, images, text messages, email
messages, or web pages, or tweets.
– Transmission vehicles: pass-along based, incentive based, trendy
based, and undercover based.
 Ultimate goal of viral marketers
is to create viral messages that
appeal to individuals with a high
social networking potential (SNP)
—> Alpha users
The promises of viral marketing
Peculiarities of virtual social networks
 Essence of virtual social networks
– Based on mutual trust and assistance
– Friendly & supportive atmosphere
– Feeling of community – safety zone
 Personal, friendly relations may have an `economic’
dimension, but have not been created to earn money.
 Manipulation of this utilitarian dimension is a
precarious affair: before you know it you trespass the
border of negative responses.
 Building a successful virtual network requires more
than a brief flirtation with potential customers.
Unsolicited / Unwanted Advertising
Undesired Commercialities
Interruption vs. Permission Marketing
 Interruption Marketing
Divert the customer’s attention from whatever they are doing
A television advert that cuts into a TV show or film
An internet pop-up that interferes with reading a website
Spam in your e-mail box
 Permission marketing
Instead of interrupting customers with unrequested information, permission
marketing aims to sell goods and services only when the prospect gives consent in
advance to receive the marketing information
Opt-in email: internet users sign-up (give permission) to receive information about a
certain product or a service.
More effective  the potential client is more interested in information that was
requested in advance.
More cost-efficient businesses only need to target consumers who have
expressed an interest in their product.
“Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers”
[Seth Godin]
Elements of Permission Marketing
Interruption marketing [IM] is a competition to win people’s attention.
Permission Marketing [PM] offers an opportunity for the consumers to
agree to be marketed to.
– By only targeting volunteers, PM assures that consumers pay more attention to
marketing message.
– PM encourages consumers to engage in a long-standing, cooperative marketing
 Anticipated
People anticipate service/product information from company.
 Personal
Marketing information explicitly relates to customer.
 Relevant
Consumer is interested in marketing information.
Marketing strategies should be based on these principles
Limitations of PM
 Paradox = PM is inevitably initiated with IM.
To develop a permission-based relationship with a
prospect, the very first step is always in the form of
traditional marketing, where the marketer has to win
the prospect’s attention.
 Permission is not enough
Idea is not that all you need to do is get people to
agree to receive your e-mail (to "opt-in") and then you
can market to them happily ever after.
 Abuse of Permission.
Misusing Permission Marketing
A company hardly pays any money to bombard consumers with updates, sales
pitches, product news, special offers, items of interest, press releases, messages
from the president -- just about anything.
 Permission to do what?
 Relevance
 Timing
Reassure customers that you are not going to sell their names to anyone else.
Dissatisfied Customer
Now the work has been completed….