Spread the Infection: Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a form of advertisement and marketing strategy that relies on people passing the information to others in continuum. It is so named as it mimics how a real virus spreads.

Perhaps the simplest way to describe a viral marketing scheme is to compare it to a pyramid. The source of the marketing message sits on the top, which is the volume with the least space. As the message goes down however, the volume becomes wider and bigger. How long the pyramid's base expands depends loosely on the passing rate of those who got the message. The more people it gets transmitted to, the faster and bigger it gets. If there are less people getting infected though, the slower it expands.

But how does viral marketing figure into the success equation of business establishments? A successful viral marketing scheme can attract consumers. The benefits they can bestow to companies however, are generally slow to materialize as the scheme thrives on a large consumer base; it uses a snowball effect and companies have to wait until the proverbial snowball reaches a big enough mass to start giving them returns. Another ingredient to an effective viral marketing is using the right medium to carry the virus. Email, freebies like free software downloads, are great avenues for viral marketing schemes. Social networks like Facebook, Friendster and MySpace are also great venues to spread the virus.

Of course, the most important key to any viral marketing strategy is the people. A viral marketer must target people with large social networks. Viruses, needless to say, spread easily when carriers are in the midst of other potential carriers.

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