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FINAL PROJECT REPORT ON

A Study of Viral Marketing as a Promotional Tool


Submitted for partial fulfillment of the degree of
MASTER OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF:

Mrs. Rupa Rathee

Submitted To: HINDU INSTITUTE OF MGT

Submitted By: RAMPAL ROLL NO-40

[AFFILIATED TO M.D. UNIVERSITY (ROHTAK)]

ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY


CHAPTER NO. TOPIC PAGE NO.

DECLARATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS PREFACE


1.

INTRODUCTION
Significance of the study

1-8 3 4 5 6 8

Review of existing literature Conceptualization Focus of study Objective of the study Hypothesis 2.

INTRODUCTION OF THE PROJECT


history Type of viral message Principal of viral marketing Diagnosis Impact 9 12 21 25 29 36 37 39

3.

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research design Collection of data Sampling

4.

DATA ANALYSIS & INTERPRETATION


SWOT Analysis PESTE analysis Questionnaire Analysis

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42 46 52 53 54

5. .6 7. 8.

FINDING& OBSERVATION CONCLUSION RECOMMENDATIONS SUGGESTIONS Limitation


Questionnaire Sample Bibliography

&

55 56 57 59

DECLARATION

I Rampal Roll No.(inwords) Fourty M.B.A Final year (IV semester) of Hindu Institute of Management hereby declare that the Final Project Report entitled A Study Of Viral Marketing As A promotional Tool is an original work and the same has not been submitted to any other institute for the award of any other degree. A seminar presentation of the Training Report was made on ________ and the suggestions as approved by the faculty were duly incorporated.

PRESENTATION INCHARGE CANDIDATE

SIGNATURE OF THE

Mrs. Rupa Rathi

Rampal

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS

It gives me immense pleasure to acknowledge my appreciation to all those who were involved directly or indirectly in the genesis of this report.

I place my deep sense of gratitude and sincere thanks to H.I.M College, sonepat for providing me an opportunity to work and undertake this project.

PREFACES

Peoples ideas without an action based on them means nothing. We can say that practical training is the essential part of managerial courses. Theoretical studies in the class room are not sufficient to understand the functions climate and the real problem comes in the way of people such as cable operator services, effect of advertisements, rent of viral marketing. So, practical exposures are indispensable to such courses. Thus, practical training acts as a supplement to the classroom studies. It offers an exposure to do the real work of management in various organizations .

It was my fortune to work of this project a very healthy atmosphere. I learnt a lot of new things which I could never been learnt from theory classes. This project includes the perception of people profile toward viral marketing through market survey and research. The overall knowledge gained by me will show in the report itself.

INTRODUCTION

Vi r a l m a r k e t i n g Definition Marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message. Information Viral marketing depends on a high pass-along rate from person to person. If a large percentage of r e c i p i e n t s f o r w a r d s o m e t h i n g t o a l ar g e n u m b e r o f

friends, the overall growth snowballs very quickly. If the pass-along numbers get too low, the overall growth quickly fizzles. At the height of B2C it seemed as if every startup had a v i r a l c o m p o n e n t t o i t s s t r a t e g y , or a t l e a s t c l a i m e d t o have one. However, relatively few marketing viruses achieve success on a scale similar to Hotmail, widely cited as the first example of viral marketing. Viral marketing is a technique that uses word of mouth or email to reach and affect an audience. Some forms of viral marketing have existed for centuries. They are mentioned in annals of Greek Athenian histories and are a common strategy in marketing and media relations techniques. T h e g o a l o f a v i r a l m a r k e t er i s t o c r e a t e " b u z z " a b o u t a product or idea, so that the idea spreads widely. If e f f e c t i v e , v i r a l m a r k e t i n g m a y r e q u i r e v e r y l i t t l e ef f o r t on the part of the propagandist, as the recipients of the m e s s a g e b e c o m e t h e pr i m a r y a g e n t s w h o s p r e a d i t t o other people. On the other hand, the weakest thing about this form of marketing is that it is hard to control. Like the "telephone game" that children play, the message may change as it passes from ear to ear.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY


o To get the knowledge about the viral marketing.

o Types of businesses carried through the marketing. o Assessing individual expectation and abilities.

o marketing.

Assessing immediate and long-term benefits through viral

o o

To study the effect of viral marketing. To know that how viral marketing Works so efficiently in

a fast manner and succeeding day by day. o marketing To find the general solution to the problems of this

REVIEW OF EXISTING LITERATURE

SOURCE 1: BUISENESS WORLD Are Indian Market research underpins these activities. Through advertising, it is also related to many of the creative arts enterprises knows about channel activation for viral marketing business.

SOURCE 2: Indian journal of marketing0(August,2007) What is VIral marketing?

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It provides knowledge about rural marketing and how it can be useful for farmers and rural person. Wholesale houses operate outlets for their wares, and farmers sell their products through their own wholesale cooperatives. Recent years have seen the development of wholesale clubs, which sell retail items to consumers who purchase memberships that give them the privilege of shopping at wholesale prices.

SOURCE 3 (India Today) Business & Economy.( dated 19dec 2005, page no 39) viral Marketing methods are informed by many of the social sciences, particularly psychology, sociology, and economics. Anthropology is also a small, but growing, influence.

SOURCE 4 HINDUSTHAN TIMES OF 25th Nov2005, At all points of the viral marketing system people have formed associations and eliminated various middlemen in order to achieve more efficient marketing. Manufacturers often maintain their own wholesale departments and deal directly with retailers. Independent stores may operate their own wholesale agencies to supply them with goods. Source 5.www.clickZ.com
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Advertising in viral marketing

The activities of a company associated with buying and selling a product or service. It includes advertising, selling and delivering products to people. People who work in viral marketing departments of companies try to get the attention of target audiences by using slogans, packaging design, celebrity endorsements and general media exposure. The four 'Ps' of marketing are product, place, price and promotion

CONCEPTUALIZATION

I f y o u a r e g o i n g t o s p r e a d t h e m e s s a g e o v e r t h e I nt e r n e t , y o u w a n t t o e l i m i n a t e a l l p o t e n t i a l t e c h n i c a l pr o b l e m s . With the massive spread of viruses troubling computers worldwide, you should avoid using attachments in the message you want spread. The fact is, many people won't
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open them, the file size could be too large, and many corporations put up security mechanisms that don't allow their employees to open up certain attachments. A simple resolution to that problem is to point the person to a link. It allows the actual email message to be smaller and eliminates most potential technical concerns. Also, try to avoid the use of any plug-ins that would be necessary to have in order to view your message.

FOCUS OF PROBLEM

In India companies are still using the traditional methods of the advertising that is reaching to the customer in the t r a d i t i o n a l w a y s w h i l e i n r e s t of w o r l d , w h i c h i s f a r a h e a d u s i n g o t h e r i n t e r a c t i v e m e t h o d s of t h e a d v e r t i s i n g .

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Now a days after every six months the methods and technology changed. In this fast changing scenario it is very difficult to have every bit of knowledge about the new technology. The companies providing cellular s e r v i c e s i n t h i s h i g h l y c o m p e t i t i v e w o r l d , c o s t of t h e service is the only factor, which apprehensions. I n c r e a s e d c o m p u t i n g p o w er h a s p e r m i t t e d t h e m e d i a t o alter its very nature. With the advent and accelerated dispersion of technology through society, media has b e c o m e l e s s o f a m a s s i n s t i t u t i o n , w h er e a l l ef f o r t s a r e aimed at providing the most widely appealing news, e n t e r t a i n m e n t a n d i n f or m a t i o n , t o a h i g h l y c u s t o m i z e d industry able to supply very narrow windows into the v a s t n e w s a n d e n t e r t a i n m e n t of f e r i n g s n o w a v a i l a b l e . N o l o n g e r d o t h o u s a n d s o f c o p i e s of i d e n t i c a l c o n t e n t c r e a t e u n b e a t a b l e e c o n o m i e s of s c a l e i n pr o d u c t i o n c o s t s . S m a l l and large media firms can provide selective content to a selective audience with reasonable efficiency. New media types have been created to satisfy the wants of select g r o u p s o f c o n s u m e r s . O l d m e d i a h a v e b e e n a l t er e d a n d revamped demands. T h i s h a s r e s u l t e d i n f u n d a m e n t a l l y d i f f e r e n t i n t er f a c e s between media and consumers. to meet new, m or e exacting, consumer governs all the

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The Problems What is the market potential for the new medium of advertising? 1. What are the characteristics of the target customers? 2 . W h a t a r e t h e d e s i r a b l e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h e n e w service? 3. What methods should be used to promote the viral m a r k e t i n g a s a n e w m e d i u m o f c u s t o m e r i n t er a c t i o n ?
4. How to cope up with the new changing demands of the market?

OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY


The statement of problem formulated various research q u e s t i o n s . T h e o b j e c t i v e s of a p r o j e c t a r e a l w a y s t o f i n d o u t t h e a n s w e r s t o t h e r e s e a r c h pr o b l e m s r e l a t e d t o t h e field.

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T o u n d e r s t a n d w h a t a r e t h e o p p or t u n i t i e s a n d s c o p e o f v i r a l m a r k e t i n g . M o r e o v e r w h a t t h e y a r e d o i n g i n or d e r to serve their customers, clients as well as f ut u r e prospects in better and in most effective manner, which in turn help them in increasing their market share, and profitability by providing value for money & desired quality proper of service to to their customers. & Moreover their projection of customers need well in advance and using medium communicate educate c u s t o m e r s t o m a k e m a x i m u m u s e of a v a i l a b l e s e r v i c e s and offers..

The Objectives Of This Project Are Given Below: -

To understand present level of viral marketing for different category To spread the information by networking to the public at low cost. To identify the reasons of less response of the public toward the viral marketing.

To develop strategy of improving channel activation for viral marketing.

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History
Some argue the term viral marketing was originally invented by Tim Draper and coined by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson in 1997 to d e s c r i b e H o t m a i l ' s e - m a i l pr a c t i c e o f a p p e n d i n g advertising for themselves to outgoing mail from their users. T h e f i r s t t o w r i t e a b o u t v i r a l m ar k e t i n g w a s m e d i a c r i t i c Douglas Rushkoff in his 1994 book Media Virus. The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a " s u s c e p t i b l e " u s e r , t h a t u s e r w i l l b e c o m e " i nf e c t e d " ( i . e . , sign up for an account) and can then go on to infect other s u s c e p t i b l e u s e r s . A s l o n g a s e a c h i nf e c t e d u s e r s e n d s m a i l t o m o r e t h a n o n e s u s c e p t i b l e u s e r o n a v er a g e ( i . e . , t h e b a s i c r e p r o d u c t i v e r a t e i s gr e a t e r t h a n o n e) , s t a n d a r d i n e p i d e m i o l o g y i m p l y t h a t t h e n um b e r of i nf e c t e d u s e r s will grow according to a logistic curve, whose initial segment appears exponential. 4 months ago V i r a l m a r k e t i n g w a s a t e r m o r ig i n a l l y c o i n e d b y v e n t u r e c a p i t a l i s t S t e v e J u r v e t so n t o d e s cr i b e t h e u n i q u e r e f e r r a l- m a r k e t i n g p r o g r a m cr e a t e d b y H o t m a i l , o n e o f t h e f i r s t f r e e e - m a i l se r v i c e s . Steve Jurvetson (bio) is [2005] the Managing D i r e c t o r o f ' Dr a p e r F i s h e r J u r v e t s o n ' w w w . d f j . c o m ( a p r e m i e r v e n t u r e c a p i t a l f ir m ) . T h i s f ir m h a s c r e a t e d a g l o b a l n e t w o r k o f a f f i l i a t e d ve n t u r e f u n d s w i t h o v e r $3 billion in capital commitments and offices in the major technology centers around the world. How Jurvetson helped Hotmail spread using Viral Marketing:

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Hotmail would include a promotional line for its free e-mail services at the bottom of every message. Users of Hotmail were automatically promoting the free service to their friends and colleagues every t i m e t h e y s e n t a n e - m a i l m e s sa g e . T h e f r e e s e r v i c e s p r e a d l i k e a v ir u s , a n d Ho t m a i l r e p o r t e d l y r e ce i v e d 12 million new subscribers within 18 months of its launch from this simple technique!!! Draper Fisher Jurvetson reported that Hotmail spent less than $ 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 o n m a r k e t i n g , a d ve r t i s i n g a n d p r o m o t i o n d u r in g t h i s p e r i o d w h i l e i t s n e a r e st c o m p e t i t o r , Ju n o , s p e n t $ 2 0 m i l l i o n f o r a f r a c t i o n o f t h e su b s c r i b e r s . T h u s , i t w a s o r ig i n a l l y H o t m a i l , w h o d e v e l o p e d t h e concept of viral marketing. Student Martin Braedy, in BCS 555 in October 2005, found a good newspaper story that discusses the origins of Viral Marketing.

Martin says "T h r o u g h m y s u b s c r i p t io n t o t h e G l o b e a n d M a i l , I came across an article in last Thursdays business section (Oct. 27th edition, page B13) regarding the u s e o f v ir a l m a r k e t i n g c a m p a ig n s t o d i s t r i b u t e creative and unique content using the Internet. The article describes how the "Organic Trade Association" asked a marketing agency to design a s h o r t f i l m f o r t h e ir m e s s a g e o f f o o d a n d a g r i c u l t u r a l issues in a lighthearted way. The result was a Star Wars spoof called "Store Wars: The Organic R e b e l l i o n " t h a t h a s b e e n v i e we d b y 1 0 m i l l i o n p e o p l e w i t h i n 4 m o n t h s d u e t o v ir a l m a r k e t i n g . T h e r e ' s e v e n

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an incredible quote from the communications director of the OTA stating "It was amazing how quickly it w e n t a r o u n d t h e w o r ld . . . I g o t e m a i l f r o m p e o p l e w h o w a n t e d t o t r a n s l a t e t h e w o r k i n t o Japanese, Portuguese, German, Polish and Spanish within 48 hours of the films launch." Amazing stuff.

Viral Marketing
V i r a l m a r k e t i n g a n d v i r a l a d v e r t i s i n g r e f e r t o m ar k e t i n g t e c h n i q u e s t h a t u s e p r e - e x i s t i n g s o c i a l n e t w or k s t o p r o d u c e i n c r e a s e s i n br a n d a w a r e n e s s , t hr o u g h s e l f r e p l i c a t i n g v i r a l p r o c e s s e s , a n a l o g o u s t o t h e s p r e a d of p a t h o l o g i c a l a n d c o m p u t er v i r u s e s . I t c a n b e w or d - of mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of t h e I n t e r n e t . V i r a l m a r k e t i n g i s a m ar k e t i n g p h e n o m e n o n that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message voluntarily. Viral promotions may take the form of funny video clips, interactive Flash games, advertise games, images. It is claimed that a satisfied customer tells an average of three people about a product or service he/she likes, and eleven people about a product or service which he/she d i d n o t l i k e . V i r a l m ar k e t i n g i s b a s e d o n t h i s n a t u r a l human behaviour. The term "viral marketing" is also sometimes used p e j o r a t i v e l y , t o r e f e r t o s t e a l t h m ar k e t i n g c a m p a i g n s , t h e u s e o f v a r i e d k i n d s of a s t r o t u r f i n g b ot h o n l i n e a n d o f f l i n e t o c r e a t e t h e i m p r e s s i o n o f s p o n t a n e o u s w o r d of mouth enthusiasm.

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Types of viral messages


1. Pass-along A m e s s a g e a t t h e b o t t o m o f a n e - m a i l t h a t pr o m p t s the reader to pass it along (eg. chain letters). The success of this method depends on how interesting or exciting or believable the message. 2. Incentivised viral Offering rewards for providing someone's address. This can dramatically in c r e a s e referrals. However, this is most effective when the offer requires another person to take action. Most online contests offer more chances of w i n n i n g f o r e a c h r e f e r r a l g i ve n ; b u t wh e n t h e referral must also participate in order for the first p e r s o n t o o b t a i n t h a t e x t r a ch a n c e o f w i n n i n g , the chance that the referral participates is much higher. 3. Undercover AKA Stealth Marketing A v ir a l m e s s a g e p r e s e n t e d a s a c o o l o r u n u s u a l page, activity or piece of news, without obvious i n c i t e m e n t s t o l i n k o r p a s s- a l o n g . P a r t i c u l a r effort is made to make the discovery of the item
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seem spontaneous and informal, to encourage natural memetic behaviour. Outside world "clues", such as graffiti appearing in cities with k e y v i r a l wo r d s , i s o f t e n u s e d t o d i r e c t p e o p le t o s e a r c h o u t t h e p r e se n t e d " m y s t e r y " . B e c a u s e o f t h e l a r g e a m o u n t o f u n u s u a l a n d e n t e r t a i n in g content on the internet, this can be the hardest t y p e o f v i r a l t o s p o t , e s p e c ia l l y a s c o m p a n i e s t r y t o i m i t a t e t h e s t y le a n d c o n t e n t o f a m a t e u r websites and authentic underground movements.

4. "Edgy gossip/Buzz Marketing" Ads or messages that create controversy by challenging the borders of taste or appropriateness. Discussion of the resulting controversy can be considered to generate buzz and word of mouth advertising. Prior to releasing a movie, some Hollywood movie stars get married, get divorced, or get arrested, or become involved in some controversy that directs conversational attention them. An example is the publicity campaign about the dubious love affair between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes that came out just before each of them released a movie, or the controversy over who would be named the next James Bond. 5. Anonymous matching This service requires each user to create a confidential list of friends and acquaintances they are interested in dating. A match only occurs if the object of their affection reciprocates by logging in and placing them on their own secret list; thus, each user has an incentive to get their crushes to visit the site. Most of these services allow users to email recipients anonymous messages informing them that an undisclosed person has a crush on them. On eCRUSH, one system using this methodology, 20% of the email recipients start
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accounts of their own. A Business 2.0 article noted, "eCrush is intrinsically viral hopeful romantics become eCrush marketers as they try to find out if their crushes return their ardor"

Advantage OF Viral Marketing


The advantages of viral marketing are low costs, great reach, high credibility, high efficiency and the possibility of continuous campaign adjustments. The downfalls of viral marketing include the extent of the reach of failed campaigns, the lack of control, risks that the viral message is perceived as spam and the limited possibility for segmentation. o Cheap and low cost (there's no printing involved!) o Extensive reach o High credibility o High efficiency Pitfalls - things to avoid o Brand Dilution o Association with unknown groups o Avoid making purely financial-based offer o Large-scale spam issues

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Brand Dilution Viral marketing depends upon people not versed in your brand to do the "selling" for you. It is important to carefully craft a message that is strong enough to endure misinterpretations or make your communication brandless. Association with unknown groups Viral marketing's strength is its potential to spread exponentially from person to person. During this process, it is possible that your message could wind up in the hands of and passed on by someone you would rather not be associated with. The only way to partially counter this is to ahead of time define and limit what information you make available for your viral marketing. Avoid making purely financial-based offer

Spam threats

If done poorly, viral marketing can lead to large-scale spam issues. Consider a company that pays individuals to email their friends to convince them to buy one of its products. In this case, the individual who receives the email had only given the friend permission to send email of a personal nature. The one friend's receiving an unsolicited commercial email can weaken his or her relationship with the person who sent it. This can lead to the recipient of the email dropping a friend and becoming angry with the marketer for sending an unsolicited message. Flames may result, leading to damage to the advertiser's reputation. In some cases, individuals who want to earn more money simply go out and spam people. This can be problematic for your company image

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Viral Marketing is the hot topic at the moment, but many dont really understand what the term means. As this is an internet based business, and therefore Internet Marketing, we need to look at it in internet terms. You know when someone sends you a joke on email and its a good one you want to pass it on. From your mailbox you open your list of friends names and post the joke on to everyone you know, or everyone on your joke list, a list of people you pass jokes on to. Next time you do this, have a scroll down the email to see the list of people it has come from at the head of each mailing. Each person who sent the joke on will have sent it to everyone on their joke list. Youll see quite a few names youll recognize, some of who will be on your own list. This is Viral the joke has been passed on like a virus from person to person. Everyone they come in contact with has passed it on to everyone else they know. The trick with viral marketing is to duplicate that process with your products and the business opportunity itself pass your stores website URL on to everyone who cleans their house or takes nutritional supplements, or who might, and get them to do the same with everyone they know. Also, a lot of people who start using the products are going to want to get the products at wholesale. So they w a n t t h e i r o w n s t o r e . S o t h e y s i g n u p u n d er y o u ! A n d you get the commission not only on what they buy, but o n a n y t h i n g p e o p l e t h e y k n o w b u y f r o m t h e m , a n d f or a n y o n e w h o s i g n s u p u n d er t h e m , w h o w i l l b e i n y o u r second line! So, just as you send a joke you get to your joke list, you need to get the biz opp to anyone who has a biz opp list. Congratulations, you have just been!

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Marketing tools Why use marketing tools? A lot of people on the Net arent looking to join a program, they are already in one. I t d o e s n t m a t t e r t h a t o ur s i s b e t t e r t h a n t h e i r s , i f t h e y n e v e r l o o k a t t h e o p p a n d c o n s i d e r i t , t h e y a i n t g o n n a signup. What we can give them however is a way to market what t h e y a r e a l r e a d y s e l l i n g . S o w e of f e r t h e m o ur m a r k e t i n g t o o l s . I n d o i n g s o , t h e y j o i n o ur d o w n l i n e f or t h a t program, and so does anyone else they sign up. This g i v e s u s m a r k e t i n g m e t h o d s t o g e t o ur b i z o p p o u t t o people who DO want to see it! R e m e m b e r t h e a n a l o g y e a r l i er a b o u t t h e j o k e l i s t ? W h a t you have there is a list of people you send jokes to. How did you build that list? Your list of friends who you send jokes to. How did you get on the list of someone else, the person who sent you the joke? W h a t y o u n e e d t o b u i l d f o r y o ur b i z o p p i s w h a t i s k n o w n as an opt in list. This is a list of people who have c h o s e n t o j o i n y o u r l i s t t o r e c e i v e i nf o r m a t i o n f r o m y o u . B u i l d i n g a l i s t i s v i t a l f or m a n y r e a s o n s . SPAM is the first and foremost it is illegal to send spam unsolicited email to people who havent asked for it and didnt want it. Junk mail. Despite the legal ramifications, look at the basic logic. Why send your biz opp to someone who doesnt want to see it? Why send a letter to someone who will just bin it without even opening it? Why send an email with a link to your site if the person receiving it doesnt want to know so wont even go look at it? Y o u m a y h a v e t h e b e s t b i z i n t h e w or l d a n d s e l l t h e
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hottest products but if you cant get people to it, you arent going to make a sale! So we use listbuilding tools so that you have people to send your biz opp to! These are known as VLBs Viral List Builders. A n d a g r e a t w a y t o a d v er t i s e y o u r VL B i s o n a T r a f f i c E x c h a n g e p r o g r a m a T E , S ur f E x c h a n g e , S ur f 4 H i t s , etc. (Whats in a name?) Once you have a list of people who opted in to hear from you, and you have made initial contact and built up a r e l a t i o n s h i p , t h e n y o u c a n s h o w t h e m a bi z o p p t h a t works for you, and then help them build their own business. C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s - y o u ' v e j u s t b e c o m e a m e n t or !

categories
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advertising metrics advertising specifications affiliate marketing business and ebusiness content and community controversial marketing domain names email marketing free web site promotion linking strategy online advertising search engine marketing web design and marketing web site hosting

Principles of Viral Marketing


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I a d m i t i t . Th e t e r m " v i r a l m a r k e t i n g " i s offensive. Call yourself a Viral Marketer and people will take two steps back. I would. "Do t h e y h a v e a v a c c i n e f o r th a t y e t ? " y o u w o n d e r . A s i n i s t e r t h i n g , t h e s i m p l e v i r u s i s f r au g h t with doom, not quite dead yet not fully alive, it e x i s t s i n t h a t n e th e r g e n r e s o m e w h e r e b e t w e e n disaster movies and horror flicks. B u t y o u h a v e t o a d m i r e t h e v i r u s . H e h a s a w ay of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that h e w in s b y s h e e r w e i g h t o f n u m b e r s . H e p i g g y b a c k s o n o t h e r h o s t s a n d u s e s th e i r r e s o u r c e s t o i n c r e a s e h i s tr i b e . A n d i n th e r i g h t environment, he grows exponentially. A virus don't even have to mate -- he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration: 1 11 1111 11111111 1111111111111111 11111111111111111111111111111111 111111111111111111111111111111111111111 1111111111111111111111111 In a few short generations, a virus population can explode.

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Viral Marketing Defined What does a virus have to do with marketing? V i r a l ma r k e t i n g d e s c r i b e s a n y s t r a t e g y t h a t encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the p o t e n t i a l f o r e x p o n en t i a l g r o w t h i n t h e m e s s a g e ' s e x p o s u r e a n d i n f l u en c e . L i k e v i r u s e s , s u c h s tr a t e g i e s t a k e a d v a n t a g e o f rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions. Off the Internet, viral marketing has been r e f e r r e d t o a s " w o r d - o f- m o u t h , " " c r e a t i n g a b u z z , " " l e v e r a g i n g th e m e d i a , " " n e t w o r k marketing." But on the Internet, for better or worse, it's called "viral marketing." While others smarter than I have attempted to rename it, to somehow domesticate and tame it, I won't try. The term "viral marketing" has stuck. The Classic Hotmail.com Example The classic example of viral marketing is H o t m a i l . c o m , o n e o f th e f i r s t f r e e W e b - b a s e d e-mail services. The strategy is simple: 1. Give away free e-mail addresses and services, 2 . A t t a c h a s i m p l e t a g a t th e b o t t o m o f e v e r y f r e e m e s s a g e s e n t o u t: " G e t y o u r p r i v a t e , free email at http://www.hotmail.com" and, 3. Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates, 4 . W h o s e e th e m e s s a g e ,

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5. Sign up for their own free e-mail service, and then 6. Propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.

Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy


Accept this fact. Some viral marketing s t r a t e g i e s w o r k b e t t e r t h an o th e r s , an d f e w work as well as the simple Hotmail.com strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral m a r k e t i n g s t r a t e g y n e e d n o t c o n t a i n A L L th e s e elements, but the more elements it embraces, t h e m o r e p o w e r f u l t h e r e s u l t s ar e l i k e l y t o b e . An effective viral marketing strategy: 1 . G i v e s a w a y p r o du c t s o r s e r v i c e s 2 . P r o v i d e s f o r e f f o r t l e s s tr a n s f e r t o o t h e r s 3. Scales easily from small to very large 4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors 5 . U t i l i z e s e x i s t i n g c o m mu n i c a t i o n n e t w o r k s 6 . T a k e s a d v a n t a g e o f o th e r s ' r e s o u r c e s Let's examine at each of these elements briefly. 1 . G i v e s a w a y v a l u a b l e p ro d u c t s o r s e r v i c e s " F r e e " i s th e m o s t p o w e r f u l w o r d i n a marketer's vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Free e-mail services, free information, free "cool" buttons, free software programs that perform powerful
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functions but not as much as you get in the " p r o " v e r s i o n . W i l s o n ' s S e c o n d L aw o f W e b M a r k e t i n g i s " T h e L aw o f G i v i n g a n d S e l l i n g " (http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmta/basicprinciples.htm). "Cheap" or "inexpensive" may g e n e r a t e a w a v e o f i n t e r e s t , bu t " f r e e " w i l l u s u a l l y d o i t mu c h f a s t e r . V i r a l m a r k e t e r s practice delayed gratification. They may not p r o f i t t o d a y , o r t o m o r r o w , b u t i f th e y c an generate a groundswell of interest from s o m e t h i n g f r e e , t h e y k n o w th e y w i l l p r o f i t " s o o n a n d f o r th e r e s t o f t h e i r l i v e s " ( w i t h apologies to "Casablanca"). Patience, my friends. Free attracts eyeballs. Eyeballs then s e e o t h e r d e s i r a b l e th i n g s t h a t y o u a r e s e l l i n g , and, presto! you earn money. Eyeballs bring valuable e-mail addresses, advertising revenue, a n d e - c o m m e r c e s a l e s o p p o r t u n i t i e s . G iv e a w a y something, sell something. 2. Provides for effortless transfer to others Public health nurses offer sage advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, wash your hands often, and don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread w h en th e y ' r e e a s y t o t r an s m i t . T h e m e d i u m that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: e-mail, website, graphic, software download. Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Digital format make copying simple. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without degradation. S h o r t i s b e t t e r . Th e c l a s s i c i s : " G e t y o u r

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private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com." The message is c o m p e l l i n g , c o m p r e s s e d , a n d c o p i e d a t th e bottom of every free e-mail message. 3 . S c a l e s e a s i l y f ro m s m a l l t o v e r y l a r g e To spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. The weakness of the Hotmail model is that a free e-mail service requires its own m a i l s e r v e r s t o t r a n s m i t th e m e s s a g e . I f th e strategy is wildly successful, mailservers must be added very quickly or the rapid growth will b o g d o w n a n d d i e . I f th e v i r u s mu l t i p l i e s o n l y to kill the host before spreading, nothing is accomplished. So long as you have planned ahead of time how you can add mailservers rapidly you're okay. You must build in scalability to your viral model. 4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. What proliferated " N e t s c a p e N o w " bu t t o n s i n th e e a r l y d a y s o f the Web? The desire to be cool. Greed drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, l o v e d , a n d u n d e r s t o o d . Th e r e s u l t i n g u r g e t o c o m m u n i c a t e p r o d u c e s m i l l i o n s o f w e b s i t e s an d billions of e-mail messages. Design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you h a v e a w in n e r . 5. Utilizes existing communication networks Most people are social. Nerdy, basementd w e l l i n g c o m p u t e r s c i e n c e g r a d s tu d e n t s a r e the exception. Social scientists tell us that
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each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and a s s o c i a t e s . A p e r s o n ' s b r o a d e r n e tw o r k m a y c o n s i s t o f s c o r e s , h u n d r e d s , o r th o u s an d s o f p e o p l e , d e p e n d i n g u p o n h er p o s i t i o n i n s o c i e t y . A waitress, for example, may communicate regularly with hundreds of customers in a given week. Network marketers have long understood t h e p o w e r o f t h e s e h u m an n e t w o r k s , b o t h t h e s t r o n g , c l o s e n e t w o r k s a s w e l l a s t h e w e ak e r n e t w o r k e d r e l a t i o n s h i p s . P e o p l e o n th e I n t e r n e t d e v e l o p n e t w o r k s o f r e l a t i o n s h i p s , t o o . Th e y collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs. Affiliate programs exploit such networks, as do permission e-mail lists. Learn to place your message into existing communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its dispersion. 6. Takes advantage of others' resources The most creative viral marketing plans use others' resources to get the word out. Affiliate programs, for example, place text or graphic l i n k s o n o th e r s ' w e b s i t e s . A u th o r s w h o g i v e a w a y f r e e a r t i c l e s , s e e k t o p o s i t i o n th e i r articles on others' webpages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals a n d f o r m t h e b a s i s o f ar t i c l e s s e e n b y h u n d r e d s of thousands of readers. Now someone else's newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message. Someone else's resources a r e d e p l e t e d r a t h e r th a n y o u r o w n .

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The Diagnosis
What is it? Many individuals and companies coin their own terms and/or programs to capture the essence of the various alternative marketing approaches they choose to deploy; however, for the purpose of this paper, when discussing viral marketing, other terms such as word-of-mouth, wordof-mouse, buzz marketing, and stealth marketing are commonly used. Viral Communication defines strategies that allow an easier, accelerated, and cost reduced transmission of messages by creating environments for self-replicating, exponentially increasing diffusion, spiritualization, and impact of the message (Welker, 2002, p.4). Word-of-mouth (WOM) has been described as the worlds most effective, yet least understood marketing strategy (Misner, 1994, p.26). In the marketing context, it is the informal exchange of positive and negative information between individuals about a particular product or service. Negative WOM has been documented to spread quicker than positive WOM making it a fearful phenomenon to marketers who
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cannot grant 100% customer satisfaction, and a two-edged sword as informal discussions among consumers can make or break a product (Helm, 159). To further support the power of WOM, Grewal, Cline, and Davies (2003) describe how it forms the basis of interpersonal communications and significantly influences product evaluations and purchase decisions and that WOM has been shown to be more powerful than printed information because WOM information is considered to be more credible (p. 188). Electronic word-or-mouth (EWOM) or word-of-mouse is basically the extension of traditional WOM on the Internet. Various websites such as: Epinions.com, Bizrate.com, Ciao.com, and Dooyoo.com all provide forums where consumers can discuss and rate various products and services illustrating the power of the exchange of communication in an online environment. Helm (2000) says that viral marketing is a communication and distribution concept that relies on customers to transmit digital products via electronic mail to other potential customers in their social sphere and to animate these contacts to also transmit the products (p. 159). It based on the idea that people simply enjoy passing on entertaining or informative content. Viral messages can come in various forms. They can be as simple as text at the bottom of an email to encourage the passing along of the message or an online contest offering incentives for providing friends email addresses or they can be more complex in the form of elaborate interactive games, quirky commercials, or other amusing video clips. Howard (2005) states: Kaikati and Kaikati (2004) discuss how viral stealth marketing is word of mouth through a digital platform. They state, It involves spreading the message via word of mouse and ensuring that the receivers have the interest to pass along the message to their acquaintances (p.9). Thomas (2004) feels buzz marketing has superseded the term viral marketing and is more appropriate to use. He defines it as the amplification of initial marketing efforts by third parties through their passive or active influence (p. 64). Thomas differentiates between codified and uncodified buzz. He mentions the various codified buzz tools companies can use include testimonials, endorsements, trial versions, referral programs, gift certificates, etc. Codified buzz is that

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which is incubated, fostered and underwritten by the firm. It is the job of the marketer to uncover uncodified buzz and reveal it (p. 66).

Viral Marketing in Action


T h e s u c c e s s o f a n y v i r a l m ar k e t i n g c a m p a i g n i s t h e a b i l i t y t o b r e a k t h r o u g h a l l t h e a d v er t i s i n g n o i s e . D o b e l e , T o l e m a n , a n d B e v e r l a n d ( 2 0 0 5) i d e n t i f y s e v e r a l k e y message characteristics that increase the likelihood that c o n s u m e r s w i l l p a s s i t a l o n g . A m e s s a g e s h o u l d b e : ( 1) f u n , i n t r i g u i n g , a n d c a p t u r e t h e i m a g i n a t i o n ; ( 2) a t t a c h e d to a highly visible/easy to use product and be c o m m u n i c a t e d w i t h v ar i o u s a v a i l a b l e t e c h n o l o g i e s ; ( 3 ) w e l l - t a r g e t e d t o r e f e r e n c e gr o u p s a n d o t h e r o p i n i o n
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leaders who play significant roles in consumers decision making; and (4) associated with a credible source to enhance believability. The Institute of Information Management has identified five propositions that may also contribute to the success o f v i r a l c o m m u n i c a t i o n : ( 1) G i v i n g a w a y v a l u a b l e products or services; ( 2) P r o vi d i n g e f f or t l e s s transmissions; (3) Exploiting common motivations and b e h a v i o r s ( a p p e a l i n g t o s o m e o n e s g o o d n a t ur e t o s h a r e information); (4) Utilizing existing communication n e t w o r k s ; a n d ( 5 ) C a p i t a l i z i n g o n o t h er s r e s o u r c e s a n d infrastructure (Welker, 2002). The following are just a few examples of various companies who have recognized the value of viral marketing and the necessary components of successful implementation. Each one of these companies/products has used it as part of their advertising strategy. Anheuser-Busch Anheuser-Busch hired Gregg and Evan Spiridellis to d e v e l o p w e b e n t e r t a i n m e n t f or B u d w e i s e r . T h e S p i r i d e l l i s brothers, founders of the animation and design studio Jib J a b , a r e k n o w n f o r t h e i r c r e a t i o n of a n a n i m a t e d presidential election spoof, This Land, viewed by a p p r o x i m a t e l y e i g h t y m i l l i o n v i e w e r s ( H o w a r d , 2 0 0 5) . DeBeers gave website consumers the opportunity to design their own rings and then share their designs with family and friends. DeBeers found visitors enjoyed the site and did a c t u a l l y s h a r e i t w i t h o t h er s . Gap San Francisco retailer Gap Inc. recently added a viral ad t o i t s p r o m o t i o n a l m i x w i t h t h e a d d i t i o n of a v i r t u a l m o d e l . C r i s p i n P o r t e r + B o g u s k y w er e a s k e d t o h e l p develop the concept. The virtual model lets viewers create an image and select physical traits including weight, skin tone, and hair. Consumers can then choose

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various outfits for the model to wear and club music will play as model performs a striptease down to his or her u n d e r g a r m e n t s b e f o r e g o i n g t o t h e dr e s s i n g r o o m . Long John Silver's Long John Silvers created a website t o p r o m o t e i t s P o p c o r n S hr i m p . T h e w e b s i t e f e a t u r e s a t w o - m i n u t e f i l m a b o u t a g u y a n d hi s b u d d y ( w h o h a p p e n s to be a shrimp) taking a road trip. The website documents t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e t w o f r i e n d s w i t h n ar r a t i o n and flashbacks of previous shared experiences. The movie ends with an unexpected twist when the guy eats h i s b u d d y a t a L o n g J o h n S i l v er s r e s t a u r a n t ( H o w a r d , 2005). P r o c t e r & G a m b l e , P h y s i q u e , a n d T r em o r Physique was the most successful shampoo launch in the U n i t e d S t a t e s f o l l o w i n g a v i r a l m ar k e t i n g pr o m o t i o n b y P&G. Visitors who referred 10 of their friends to the Physique website won a travel-sized styling spray and were automatically entered for a chance to win a supply o f s h a m p o o f o r o n e y e a r . O v e r a l l , t h e pr o m o t i o n g e n e r a t e d t w o m i l l i o n r ef e r r a l s .

Viral Impact Strengths


Viral marketing provides companies with a list of strengths and benefits that make it an attractive option and welcome addition to the promotional mix. Dobele, T o l e m a n , a n d B e v e r l a n d ( 2 0 0 5) i d e n t i f y t h a t t h e m a i n

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strengths of viral marketing include the low expense, v o l u n t a r y n a t u r e , a n d e f f e c t i v e t ar g e t i n g . Expense Even though specific costs for viral marketing may be difficult to measure, it has been documented that the amount of money spent on web advertising in general continues to rise. In fact, according to TNS Media Intelligence, in 2004 $7.4 billion was spent on internet a d s w h i c h s h o w e d a 2 1 % i n cr e a s e f r o m 2 0 0 3 ( H o w a r d , 2005). With this in mind, one of the most attractive benefits for companies engaging in viral marketing is c o m p a r e d t o c o n v e n t i o n a l a d v e r t i s i n g ; vi r a l m a r k e t i n g campaigns can be viewed as inexpensive. A s D o b e l e , T o l e m a n , a n d B e v e r l a n d ( 2 0 0 5 ) p o i nt o u t , t h e cost of forwarding the particular brand message is c a r r i e d b y t h e i n d i v i d u a l w h o s h a r e s t h e i nf o r m a t i o n , n o t the company itself. Hotmail (a free email service), spent only $500,000 in 18 months gaining 12 million s u b s c r i b e r s j u s t b y t h e a d d i t i o n of t h e t a g G e t y o ur private, free eMail at http://www.hotmail.com at the b o t t o m o f e a c h e m a i l s e n t . T h e i r c l o s e s t c o m p e t i t or , Juno, spent $20 million (Kaikati & Kaikati, 2004). This e x a m p l e i l l u s t r a t e s b o t h t h e c o s t - e f f e c t i v e n e s s of v i r a l marketing and the speed in which a message can be disseminated across channels. Voluntary Nature As stated earlier, the advertising landscape is cluttered with messages. Consumers are constantly being bombarded and can view traditional advertising as a mere i n t e r r u p t i o n a n d a n n o y a n c e . I n t h e c a s e of v i r a l m a r k e t i n g , b e c a u s e e l e c t r o n i c m e s s a g e s a r e f o r w ar d e d voluntarily by a particular individual to somebody they know, they have a greater chance of being received more p o s i t i v e l y t h a n i f t h e m e s s a g e c a m e i n t h e f or m o f a p a i d testimonial or other conventional mass ad campaign.

Targeting

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Individuals forward viral marketing messages to people they know and can identify which friends and family members would most appreciate, relate, and respond to the particular message. The simple knowledge that is a result of pre-existing relationships is something that the most astute researchers attempt to tap into when identifying target markets. Account planners try to get into the mind of the consumer and spend a great amount of time identifying the people who will be the most i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i n f or m a t i o n t h e i r c l i e n t s n e e d t o communicate. The level of interest does not just rest in the particular product itself but also in the way in which i t i s p r e s e n t e d . I n t h e c a s e of v i r a l m a r k e t i n g ndividuals may choose to share something with friends or f a m i l y m e m b e r s j u s t b a s e d o n a p a r t i c u l a r a s p e c t of t h e m e s s a g e . T h i s m a y i n c l u d e t h e u s e of h u m or , p r e s e n t a t i o n o f a r t w o r k , or a n o t h e r r e a s o n t h a t i s appreciated only because of the knowledge that is the result of the established relationship (Dobele et al., 2005). The Future of Viral Marketing T h e p u r p o s e o f t h i s p a p e r w a s t o p r o v i d e a b r i ef g l i m p s e of how traditional advertising is slowly becoming lost amid the newer and more innovative alternate executions o f v i r a l m a r k e t i n g . T h e r e ar e m a n y o pi n i o n s r e g a r d i n g i t s v a l u e a n d w h e t h e r o r n o t i t w i l l b e a t e m p or a r y f a d or i f i t w i l l e v e n t u a l l y b e g i n t o p u s h o t h er c o n v e n t i o n a l f o r m s of communicating advertising messages to the back of b u s i n e s s e s m i n d s . T h e f o l l o w i n g ar e a f e w t h o u g h t s f r o m v a r i o u s a d v e r t i s i n g a n d m a r k e t i n g pr o f e s s i o n a l s . a d v e r t i s i n g l a n d s c a p e i s c h a n g i n g , f or c i n g m a r k e t e r s t o broaden and redefine the concepts of media, influence and audience reach. If consumer-generated media is in fact the most effective and trusted form of advertising, i t s c r i t i c a l t h a t m a r k e t er s b e g i n t o m e a s u r e , m a n a g e a n d influence it and, equally importantly, heed the c o n s e q u e n c e s w h e n c o n s u m e r s t ur n t h e m e s s a g e a g a i n s t brand
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Viral Impact - Weaknesses

Measurement Difficulty
One of the biggest concerns of viral marketing is the i n a b i l i t y t o m e a s u r e t h e ef f e c t s . T h e b e n e f i t of d e c r e a s e d cost may come at the expense of audience reach. When companies pay large amounts for traditional media p l a c e m e n t , t h e y u l t i m a t e l y b e n e f i t f r om t h e e s t a b l i s h e d tools such as Nielson ratings to aid with reporting m a r k e t i n g m e t r i c s . T h e s e s o u r c e s o f i n f o r m a t i o n p r o vi d e companies with vital information to aid in strategic decisions regarding advertising placement. Unfortunately, because viral marketing is still relatively new, there are not as many tried and true ways of measuring and evaluating the success of viral campaigns. A s p o p u l a r i t y o f v i r a l m ar k e t i n g i n cr e a s e s , m a n y c o m p a n i e s a r e r e c o g n i z i n g t h e n e e d f o r b e t t er measurement tools and are devising methods to measure t h e i r s t e a l t h m a r k e t i n g ef f o r t s . F o r e x a m p l e , w h e n Mercedes-Benz launched its new roadster in Britain, it p r o d u c e d a m o c k t r a i l e r f o r a f i c t i o n a l m o vi e c a l l e d Lucky Star. The trailer would be shown on TV and in movie theaters and at the end; viewers w e r e d i r e c t e d t o t h e L u c k y S t ar w e b s i t e . T h e w e b s i t e tracked the amount of times the trailer was downloaded. I n f o u r m o n t h s , t h e y w e r e a b l e t o r e p or t i t h a d b e e n downloaded 50,000 times. Although this may not be the most definitive measure in assessing the campaigns o v e r a l l e f f e c t i v e n e s s , i t d i d pr o v i d e s o m e f o r m o f measurement to evaluate the amount of buzz the trailer created (Kaikati & Kaikati, 2004). Lack of Control T r a d i t i o n a l a d v e r t i s i n g d ef i n i t e l y g i v e s a c o m p a n y m o r e control over message content and dissemination. O b v i o u s l y , w h e n c o m p a n i e s p l a c e a d s i n m a g a z i n e s or r u n c o m m e r c i a l s , t h e y h a v e f u l l c o n t r o l o v er h o w l o n g t h e m e s s a g e w i l l r u n a n d a g o o d i n d i c a t i o n of w h a t
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a u d i e n c e w i l l b e v i e w i n g t h e m e s s a g e . V i r a l m ar k e t i n g d o e s n o t o f f e r c o m p a n i e s t hi s s a m e s e c u r i t y . O n c e a m e s s a g e i s r e l e a s e d , t h e r e i s n o r e a l w a y f or m ar k e t e r s t o know who is viewing their message, the way in which it is being conveyed, and how long it will run. As Welker ( 2 0 0 2 ) s t a t e s , T h e o r e t i c a l l y , t h e i d e a v i r u s cr u i s e s around endlessly (p.6). Companies also face a risk that the particular message m a y a c t u a l l y c a u s e s o m e n e g a t i v e i m p a c t t o t h e pr o d u c t o r b r a n d . I n s o m e c a s e s , n o n t r a d i t i o n a l m ar k e t i n g m a y b e viewed as underhanded and consumers my wind up feeling the company has tried to trick them by catching t h e m o f f g u a r d . A t l e a s t w h e n a c o m p a n y p ur s u e s t r a d i t i o n a l a d v e r t i s i n g a n d m ar k e t i n g t a c t i c s , t h e y u s u a l l y h a v e c o n t r o l f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g t o t h e e n d of t h e c a m p a i g n . T h i s m e a n s t h a t i f t h er e ar e a n y c o n c e r n s o r questions about the campaign, the company can address them without too much concern. Viral marketing does not a l w a y s a l l o w c o m p a n i e s t o t r a c e t h e e x a c t r e a c h of t h e i r particular message which could ultimately produce some s e r i o u s c o n s e q u e n c e s ( K a i k a t i & K a i k a t i , 2 0 0 4) . Ethical and Legal Issues T h e e t h i c a l a n d l e g a l i s s u e s t h a t a r i s e f r o m vi r a l m a r k e t i n g c a m p a i g n s a r e l ar g e l y a t t r i b u t e d t o t h e previous issue of control. According to Kaikati and Kaikati (2004), Ralph Nader has argued that stealth m a r k e t i n g i s a n a c t o f d e s p e r a t i o n o n t h e p a r t of t h e advertising industry (p. 19). Many critics feel stealth marketing is done in an attempt to tinker with c o n s u m e r s m i n d s ( p . 1 9) a n d f e e l a s i f t h e r e i s a t h i n line between innovative and deceptive advertising and feel as if several campaigns have propelled concerns over truth in advertising to the forefront. Examples regarding e t h i c a l i s s u e c o n t r o v e r s i e s o c c u r r e d a s a r e s u l t of a F o r d S p o r t K a a d d e p i c t i n g t h e d e c a p i t a t i o n of a c a t b y a sunroof and an ad for a Volkswagen Polo showing a s u i c i d e b o m b e r b l o w i n g h i m s e l f u p i n s i d e t h e c a r . F or d and Volkswagen denied any involvement with the
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c r e a t i o n o f t h e a d s , b ut t h e s e e x a m p l e s i l l u s t r a t e t h e p o t e n t i a l n e g a t i v e p o w er a n d i m p a c t of v i r a l a d v e r t i s i n g (Sarkar, 2005). A n o t h e r a r e a u p f o r d e b a t e i s t h e u s e of b r a n d s w i t h i n song lyrics. Some feel it commercializes and cheapens an a r t f o r m a n d l o b b y i n g e f f o r t s a r e u n d e r w a y t o f or c e r e c o r d a r t i s t s t o d i s c l o s e w h e n t h e y ar e c o m p e n s a t e d f o r using particular brand names in their songs.

Viral Impact Weaknesses


Although viral marketing does provide some solid b e n e f i t s , f o r e v e r y o n e of t h e s t a t e d s t r e n g t h s , t h er e appears to be a corresponding weakness for which c o m p a n i e s n e e d t o b e a w a r e . N o t e v e r y pr o d u c t o r service may lend itself to the dynamics associated with viral communication and may have some unintended c o n s e q u e n c e s . S o m e o f t h e m o s t n ot e d w e a k n e s s e s include measurement difficulty, lack of control, and emerging ethical and legal issues.

Measurement Difficulty
One of the biggest concerns of viral marketing is the i n a b i l i t y t o m e a s u r e t h e ef f e c t s . T h e b e n e f i t of d e c r e a s e d cost may come at the expense of audience reach. When companies pay large amounts for traditional media p l a c e m e n t , t h e y u l t i m a t e l y b e n e f i t f r om t h e e s t a b l i s h e d tools such as Nielson ratings to aid with reporting m a r k e t i n g m e t r i c s . T h e s e s o u r c e s o f i n f o r m a t i o n p r o vi d e companies with vital information to aid in strategic decisions regarding advertising placement. Unfortunately, because viral marketing is still relatively new, there are not as many tried and true ways of measuring and evaluating the success of viral campaigns. A s p o p u l a r i t y o f v i r a l m ar k e t i n g i n cr e a s e s , m a n y c o m p a n i e s a r e r e c o g n i z i n g t h e n e e d f o r b e t t er measurement tools and are devising methods to measure
43

t h e i r s t e a l t h m a r k e t i n g ef f o r t s . F o r e x a m p l e , w h e n Mercedes-Benz launched its new roadster in Britain, it p r o d u c e d a m o c k t r a i l e r f o r a f i c t i o n a l m o vi e c a l l e d Lucky Star. The trailer would be shown on TV and in m o v i e t h e a t e r s a n d a t t h e e n d ; v i e w e r s w er e di r e c t e d t o the Lucky Star website. The website tracked the amount o f t i m e s t h e t r a i l e r w a s d o w n l o a d e d . I n f o ur m o n t h s , t h e y were able to report it had been downloaded 50,000 times. Although this may not be the most definitive measure in a s s e s s i n g t h e c a m p a i g n s o v er a l l e f f e c t i v e n e s s , i t d i d p r o v i d e s o m e f o r m of m e a s u r e m e n t t o e v a l u a t e t h e a m o u n t o f b u z z t h e t r a i l e r cr e a t e d ( K a i k a t i & K a i k a t i , 2004).

Lack of Control
T over message content and dissemination. Obviously, when companies place ads in magazines or run c o m m e r c i a l s , t h e y h a v e f u l l c o n t r o l o v er h o r a d i t i o n a l advertising definitely gives a company more control w long the message will run and a good indication of what a u d i e n c e w i l l b e v i e w i n g t h e m e s s a g e . V i r a l m ar k e t i n g d o e s n o t o f f e r c o m p a n i e s t hi s s a m e s e c u r i t y . O n c e a m e s s a g e i s r e l e a s e d , t h e r e i s n o r e a l w a y f or m ar k e t e r s t o know who is viewing their message, the way in which it is being conveyed, and how long it will run. As Welker ( 2 0 0 2 ) s t a t e s , T h e o r e t i c a l l y , t h e i d e a v i r u s cr u i s e s around endlessly (p.6). Companies also face a risk that the particular message m a y a c t u a l l y c a u s e s o m e n e g a t i v e i m p a c t t o t h e pr o d u c t o r b r a n d . I n s o m e c a s e s , n o n t r a d i t i o n a l m ar k e t i n g m a y b e viewed as underhanded and consumers my wind up feeling the company has tried to trick them by catching t h e m o f f g u a r d . A t l e a s t w h e n a c o m p a n y p ur s u e s t r a d i t i o n a l a d v e r t i s i n g a n d m ar k e t i n g t a c t i c s , t h e y u s u a l l y h a v e c o n t r o l f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g t o t h e e n d of t h e c a m p a i g n . T h i s m e a n s t h a t i f t h er e ar e a n y c o n c e r n s o r questions about the campaign, the company can address
44

them without too much concern. Viral marketing does not a l w a y s a l l o w c o m p a n i e s t o t r a c e t h e e x a c t r e a c h of t h e i r particular message which could ultimately produce some s e r i o u s c o n s e q u e n c e s ( K a i k a t i & K a i k a t i , 2 0 0 4) . Ethical and Legal Issues The ethical and legal issues that arise from viral marketing campaigns are l a r g e l y a t t r i b u t e d t o t h e p r e v i o u s i s s u e o f c o n t r o l . According to Kaikati and Kaikati (2004), Ralph Nader h a s a r g u e d t h a t s t e a l t h m ar k e t i n g i s a n a c t o f desperation on the part of the advertising industry (p. 19). Many critics feel stealth marketing is done in an attempt to tinker with consumers minds (p.19) and feel as if there is a thin line between innovative and deceptive advertising and feel as if several campaigns have propelled concerns over truth in advertising to the f o r e f r o n t . E x a m p l e s r e g ar d i n g e t h i c a l i s s u e c o n t r o v e r s i e s occurred as a result of a Ford Sport Ka ad depicting the d e c a p i t a t i o n o f a c a t b y a s u n r o of a n d a n a d f or a Volkswagen Polo showing a suicide bomber blowing himself up inside the car. Ford and Volkswagen denied any involvement with the creation of the ads, but these examples illustrate the potential negative power and i m p a c t o f v i r a l a d v e r t i s i n g ( S a r k a r , 2 0 0 5) . A n o t h e r a r e a u p f o r d e b a t e i s t h e u s e of b r a n d s w i t h i n song lyrics. Some feel it commercializes and cheapens an a r t f o r m a n d l o b b y i n g e f f o r t s a r e u n d e r w a y t o f or c e r e c o r d a r t i s t s t o d i s c l o s e w h e n t h e y ar e c o m p e n s a t e d f o r using particular brand names in their songs. The r e c o r d i n g i n d u s t r y i s t r y i n g t o c r a c k d o w n o n bl a t a n t p r o d u c t p l a c e m e n t a n d i s m a k i n g i t m or e d i f f i c u l t f o r artists to include brand names and images in their music and videos for fear audiences will rebel (Kaikati & Kaikati, 2004).

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RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically. In it we study the various steps that are generally adopted by a researcher in studying his research problem along with logic behind him. Why a research study has been undertaken, how a research problem has been defined, in what way and why the hypothesis has been formulated, what data have been collected and what particular
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method has been adopted, why particular technique of analyzing data has been used and a host of similar other questions are usually answered when we talk of research methodology concerning a research problem or study.

RESEARCH DESIGN
A R e s e a r c h D e s i g n i s t h e f r a m e w o r k or p l a n f o r a s t u d y , which is used as a guide in collecting and analyzing the d a t a c o l l e c t e d . I t i s t h e b l u e p r i nt t h a t i s f o l l o w e d i n completing the study. The basic objective of research c a n n o t b e a t t a i n e d w i t h o u t a p r o p er r e s e a r c h d e s i g n . I t s p e c i f i e s t h e m e t h o d s a n d p r o c e d ur e s f or a c q u i r i n g t h e information needed to conduct the research effectively. It i s t h e o v e r a l l o p e r a t i o n a l p a t t e r n o f t h e pr o j e c t t h a t stipulates what information needs to be collected, from which sources and by what methods. Descriptive research design has been used under this project.

DATA COLLECTION

There are mainly two sources of data collection primary sources and the secondary sources. Primary Data During the course of experimental research we collect the primary data with the help of Questionnaire. There is greater flexibility under this

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method as the opportunity to restructure, question is always present and there are less chances of non-response. Primary Sources: Questionnaires.

Secondary Data For Secondary data the book which has been referred here is Newspaper, magazines and Websites. The Author provides an overview of the whole mobile marketing arena, with a particular focus on how it has changed the way businesses of every size can get their message across to customers. For this study the data collection method is adopted to gather the information. This we can call is detailed probing method to gather all the related information.

Secondary Sources: News papers. Journals.

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Articles. Internet.

SAMPLING

Sampling refers to the method of selecting a sample from a given universe with a view to draw conclusions about that universe. A sample is a representative of the universe selected for study. Convenience sampling is used in exploratory research where the researcher is interested in getting an inexpensive approximation of the truth. As the name implies, the sample is selected because they are convenient. This non-probability method is often used during preliminary research efforts to get a gross estimate of the results, without incurring the cost or time required to select a random sample.

SAMPLE AREA
I select sample from main places of rural areas like shopkeepers and farmers.

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SAMPLING TECHNIQUE
Convenience sampling technique was used in the survey conducted

ANALYSIS PATTERN
Tables were used for the analysis of the collected data. The data is also neatly presented with the help of statistical tools such as graphs and pie charts. Percentages and averages have also been used to represent data clearly and effectively

ANALYSIS

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QUESTIONNAIRE

Responses of customers with the help of graph and pie chart:


Do you believe in viral marketing?
PARTICULARS YES NO TOTAL NO. OF RESPONDENTS 80% 20% 100%

NO. OF RESPONDENT S
100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% YES NO 20% 80%

INTERPRETATION: The above diagram shows that majority of the people are concerned about viral marketing.

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Which Internet site have you heard the most?


PARTICULARS Yahoo.com Rediffmail.com ebay.com Google.com Monster.com Gmail.com TOTAL NO. OF RESPONDENTS 30 20 10 20 5 15 100

120 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 Yahoo.com 20 10 20 5 30 15

100

INTERPRETATION: By the above graph it can be seen that yahoo.com is most preferred by the respondent.

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What do you prefer the most?

PARTICULARS SERVICE SELF EMPLOYMENT TOTAL

NO. OF RESPONDENTS 60% 40% 100%

P R E FE R E N C E OF S E R V IC E & S E L F E M P L OYM E N T
S E RV ICE 60% 100% 40% S E LF E M P LO Y M E NT TO TA L

INTERPRETATION: The above diagram shows the preference of service and self employment. The table shows that more respondents in service sector. So respondent prefers the service most.

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Are you satisfied with the services provided by emarketing.


Particulars Satisfied Highly satisfied Neutral Dissatisfied Highly Dissatisfied TOTAL %Age 17% 23% 21% 21% 18% 100%

SATISFACTION LEVEL OF RESPONDENTS


18% 17% Satisfied Highly satisfied 21% 23% Neutral Dissatisfied 21% Highly Dissatisfied

INTERPRETATION: The above diagram shows that less people are satisfied with the e-marketing.

Do you believe ininternet?

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PARTICULARS NO. OF RESPONDENTS YES 70% NO 30% TOTAL 100%

NO. OF RESPONDENTS 120% 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% YES NO TOTAL

NO. OF RESPONDENTS

INTERPRETATION: The above diagram shows that most people belive in viral marketing.

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Are you interested in knowing the kind of viral marketing?

PARTICULARS YES NO TOTAL

NO. OF RESPONDENTS 70% 30% 100%

INTEREST LEVEL OF KNOWING IN REMUNERATION


80% 60% 40% 20% 0% YES NO 30% 70%

INTERPRETATION: By the above diagram we can interpret that most of the people are interested in knowing the viral marketing.
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How often do you use internet?


SEMINARS WEEKENDS NO PROBLEMS WITH WEEKDAYS NOT INTERESTED TOTAL
P R E F E R E N C E O F S E M IN AR S
W EEKENDS
50%

NO. OF RESPONDENTS 50% 30% 20% 100%

100%

30% 20%

N O P R O BL EM S W IT H W EEKDAYS NOT INT ERES T ED T O T AL

INTERPRETATION: The above diagram shows that half respondents are interested in weekends use of internet.

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Do you know any group who would be interested to Viral marketing?


PARTICULARS YES NO NO. OF RESPONDENTS 65% 35%

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

K N O W IN G O F A N IN T E R E S T E D GR OU P 65%
35%

YES

NO

INTERPRETATION: By the above diagram we interpret that most of respondents have knowledge of an interested group.

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Which credit card you are carrying?


PARTICULARS NO. OF RESPONDENTS SILVER CARD 30% GOLD CARD 40% PLATINUM 30% TOTAL 100%

PREFERENCE OF CREDIT CARD

30%

SILVER CARD GOLD CARD PLATINUM TOTAL

100% 30%

40%

INTERPRETATION:

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The above diagram shows that most people uses the gold card means it shows the status of the people.

Rural people have less knowledge than urban.

RANGE HIGHLY AGREE AGREE MODERATE DISAGREE HIGHLY DISAGREE

NO. OF RETAILER 18 47 24 4 0

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HIGHLY AGREE AGREE MODERATE DISAGREE HIGHLY DISAGREE

most of the people are agree.

WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE USE VIRAL MARKETING

RANGE 20% - 40% 40%- 60% 60%- 80%

NO. OF RETAILER 91 2 0

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100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 20% - 40% 40%- 60% 60%- 80%

Here we can see that most of peoples belive in viral marketing.

DO YOU THINK THAT CREDIT LIMIT OF 15 DAYS IS SUFFICIENT?

YES NO TOTAL

22 32 54

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41% YES NO 59%

Most of the respondant has agreed that the credit time is short as retailer provide credit to customers of more than one month and till they get payment they wont make payment so either he has to make payment out of his pocket or wait.

SPECIAL OCCASION AFFECT THE SALE / DEMAND OF FMCG PRODUCT?


RANGE HIGHLY AGREE AGREE MODERATE DISAGREE NO. OF SANCHALAK 3 21 13 3

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HIGHLY DISAGREE

SPECIAL OCCASION

7% 2%

7% HIGHLY AGREE AGREE

32% 52%

MODERATE DISAGREE HIGHLY DISAGREE

Special occasion definately play a major role and affect the demand of products. And it has been proved by the above graph.

FINDINGS/OBSERVATIONS

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After analyzing and surveying I have come to the conclusion that most of the people in India are not aware about viral marketing . People who are highly educated concerned to the viral marketing T h o s e p e o p l e w h o h a v e t h e k n o w l e d g e of i nt e r n e t can get the information about the product. Viral marketing,s strength is its potential to spread e x p o n e n t i a l l y f r o m p er s o n t o p er s o n . Viral marketing is a part of a comprehensive emarketing strategy. The people who have bank account can purchase t h e p r o d u c t b y v i r a l m ar k e t i n g .

CONCLUSION

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For every problem there is a solution


T h e s t u d y , w h i c h I c o n d u c t e d o n t h e a n a l y s i s of m a r k e t a n d o p t i o n s a v a i l a b l e f or i n v e s t m e n t . h a s b e e n a g r e a t experience.

I n t h e r e p o r t w e h a v e s e e n t h a t t h er e a r e l o t s of p r o b l e m s in the viral distribution business but these problems are not such, which above of cannot can the be viral be resolved. marketing The can p r o bl e m s and be the easily specified resolved easily

performance point of view.

increased. All that we need is to think from the positive

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RECOMMENDATIONS

The project report without the recommendation and suggestion i s n o t m e a n i n gf u l . S o I s u b m i t t h e p r o j e c t t o t h e r e s p e c t i v e a u t h or i t y a l o n g w i t h t h e valuable suggestion about the scenario of channels. w h i c h i s t h e r e s u l t o f m y pr o j e c t r e p o r t r e s e a r c h work. T o d a y t h e t e c h n o l o g y i s i n cr e a s i n g d a y b y d a y . S o c h a n n e l s s h o u l d g i v e m or e a t t e n t i o n t o t h e b e s t t e c h n o l o g y o r t o a d o p t m o r e a t t r a c t i v e pr o g r a m t o the viewers. The company should increase the demonstration of i t s c h a n n e l s , a s i t i s t h e m o s t i m p or t a n t m e d i a o f advertisement to make the people aware of the c h a n n e l s . T h e l i v e d e m o n s t r a t i o n p r o gr a m s m u s t b e organized frequently.

T r y t o a d o p t s u f f i c i e n t t e c h n o l o g y t o f or t h e i r development area.

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LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY


AREA CONSTRAINT T h e s t u d y w a s c o n d u ct e d o v e r a l i m i t e d g e o g r a p h i c r e g i o n s o t h e f i n d i n g s s h o u l d n ot b e t a k e n as a generalized view. TIME CONSTRAINT

A n i n - d ep t h p r o j e c t c o u l d n o t b e c a r r i e d out due to the paucity of time SMALL SAMPLE SIZE A s a m p l e s i z e of o n l y 1 0 0 r e s p o n d e n t s was a small one to understand the market behavior in whole. LACK OF INTEREST Many of the respondents did not think hard enough while choosing the price points. This c o u l d h a v e l e d t o b i a s e d v i e w s a n d t h u s af f e c t e d t h e analysis.

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T h e i n f o r m a t i o n w h i c h t h e r e s e a r c h e r c o l l e ct e d c a n be biased. Perception of the people is different so that the i n f o r m a t i o n s h o u l d n o t b e m u ch m o r e r e l i a b l e . According to the needs of the people, people thinks differ from other.

QUECTIONIERS

Q . 1 - D O Y O U B E L I V E I N VI R A L M A R K E T I N G (a) Yes (b) No

Q.2
(a)

What do you prefer the most?


Service

(b) Self employment

Q3 Which Internet site have you heard the most?


(a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Yahoo.com Rediff.com Google.com Gmail.com e bay.com
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Q4Are you satisfied with the services provided by emarketing. (a) (b) Satisfied Highly satisfied

Q5Are you interested in knowing the kind of viral marketing? (a) (b) Yes no

Q6 Do you believe ininternet?


(a)

(b)

Yes no

Q7 How often do you use internet? (a)W e e k e n d (b)N o n p r o b l e m i n w e e k d a y s (c)N o i n t e r e s t e d Q8 Do you know any group who would be interested to Viral marketing?

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(a) Yes (b) no Q 9 Which credit card you are carrying? (a)S i l v e r c a r d (b)G o l d c a r d (c) p l a t i n i u m

BLIOGRAPHY
DYEE RENEE(2000) THE BUZZ ON THE BUZZ HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW ELECTRONIC MARKET PARIK DARSHAN (2004) INDIAN JOURNAL MARKETING.

WEBSITE LINK
HTTP//EN.WIKIPEDIA.ORG/WIKI/VIRAL_MAR KETING
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WWW.GOOGLE.COM

REFERENCES

C O N F R E N C E P RO G R A M M E A T T H E O N L I N E MARKETING SHOW(GOOGLE.COM.IN/BOOKS)
MEDIA. TOOLBOX:MEDIA.BUSINESS IN THE

DIGITAL AGE MARKETING V I R A L ( G O O GL E . C O M . I N / B O O K S ) SOCIO CULTURE A N I M A T I O N( G O O G L E . C O M . I N / B O O K S )

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PANTIES @BLOGCRITICS.ORG(GOOGLE.COM.IN/BOOKS) E N C O U R A G E S R E S I DE N T S T O T A KE S O C I A L HONOURSHIP OF AN O N L I NE ( G O O G L E . C O M . I N / B O O K S ) V I R A L M A R K E T I N G A N D T HE P O W E R O F

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