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Communication and brand name are the important elements in a business.Market communication helps to build a brand and increase the brand awareness to the consumer. Viral marketing is one of the marketing techniques in communication. It use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives such as product sales through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses ( ). Viral marketing also be referred as word-of-mouth marketing which spread via person-to-person contact. It depends on a high pass-along-rate from person to person. If the pass along numbers is large, there will be rapid overall growth. The marketing message along to others was delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet. There are several forms of viral marketing such as of video clips, games, images, or text messages. E-mail service is the most success story for viral marketing.
Advantages of Viral Marketing
The main advantage of viral marketing is cheap and low cost. There's no printing cost involved in viral marketing. The cost is lower compare to other marketing form such as advertising or doing campaign. A company that just starting out or don't have a lot of money to spare may penetrate into a market by using viral marketing instead of other traditional marketing strategies as it is one of the low cost or cost free methods for successfully promoting a business name.
Viral marketing is great reach to the audiences. By using viral marketing, the messages can reach audiences in a short period of time and it spread at an express speed. Thus, it enhances the speed of adoption of the marketed product or service. Viral marketing also help to achieve substantial audience reach as marketers get access to diverse audiences through social contacts.
Besides that, viral marketing also is an effective marketing strategy. It depends on the creativity of the marketers to design the message that they want to deliver. There are no restrictions or reservation. The more creative of the message or advertisement, the more people will spread it around, and thus the more successful of the strategy implementation. Thus, it enables the consumers to recognize the product or services and increase the brand awareness. Besides that, viral marketing also allow the marketers know their rankings. For example, marketers may determine the number of people that have view their advertisement in YouTube.
The opportunity of making continuous promotion adjustment also is an advantage of implementing viral marketing. Unlike traditional marketing strategies that will have a stop date, viral marketing can be use for an indefinite period. Marketers no need to monitor their campaigns all the time as it won't be a cost for the business.
Disadvantages of Viral Marketing
There are several disadvantages of viral marketing that should be avoided. The main disadvantage of viral marketing is lack of control. Some marketers do not control the content of the transmission and spread the message. Viral marketing is depends upon people to promote the brand for the company. It is important to carefully create and design a message that is strong enough to avoid misinterpretations. Lack of control may cause the distortion occur. For example, the information passed by consumers might be changed, incomplete, and biased. Without proper control, it may bring negative impact to the company such as negative brand image.
The dependency on the consumer for message transmission also is a disadvantage of viral marketing. Viral marketing seems simple enough as the people just need to forward the message. However, it doesn't always work that way. It is hard for a company to ensure that the consumer will spread their advertising message voluntarily. Some people may want a return from the company for passing on the message. Therefore, company needs to ensure that the content of the message is interesting enough to attract customers and thus people will passing the message voluntarily as they feel the content is interesting. The viral marketing strategy will be fail if there were no people spread the message.
Issues of Viral Marketing
The issue involved in viral marketing is trust issue. Marketers don't trust viral marketing as it is an online advertising media. Some of the marketers pay for the viral marketing. They might don't know if they actually get what they pay for. Some of the marketers also confuse to trust the traffic and click through reports that provided by the media owners. They even don't know whether their ads appear in which section of the sites. Besides marketers, most of the consumers don't trust the product or services information as the product information may be distorted. Viral marketing within social media is mistrust by consumers. People only trust their friend, someone else whose opinion is respected, or people whom they daily interact with. Therefore, it is important to identify those people who have strong social networks or is the opinion leaders. Involving these people in viral marketing will allow the marketer successfully increase their brand awareness.
The other issues that surrounding viral marketing is the legal issue. Lack of legal standards in viral marketing is a potentially risky issue that will damage the brand image. Some of the marketers are irresponsible in creating the message. They simply create the message that will attract audience in order to increase the brand awareness. Thus, the information may be not accurate. As the result, the consumers may feel exploited and cheated. Viral marketing also taking advantage of the trust people put in their friends and using it for personal advantage. For example, some marketing agencies collect e-mail addresses referred by people and then send promotional mail with the friend's name in the subject line, thereby increasing the chances that the mail will be read. This may affect the trust given by the people and they may view viral messages as an invasion of their privacy. Therefore, it can be said that there are lack of legal standards to protect people right and privacy information in viral marketing.
Besides that, spam issue is also an issue in viral marketing. Viral marketing can lead to spam issue if it was not manage properly by marketers. For example, a company may pay individuals to email their friend. It may resulting some people receive innumerable mails which have the same contents. Receivers may consider these forward messages as spam message and becoming annoy with the sender for sending an unsolicited message. They will delete the message rather than forward it. Thus, the sender is weakening his or her relationship with the receiver.
Problems of Viral Marketing
There are numerous problems that marketer need to consider when using viral marketing as the marketing strategies. Its issues and disadvantages will become the problems if the marketer did not aware about it. Besides that, the times and people also become a problem by using viral marketing. Nowadays, the consumer market is dominated by generation X which was born between 1961 and 1981. They are savvy to marketing and understand the consumer behavior. However, most of them are close-minded, skepticism and conservative. They may not trust this marketing strategy. Some of them also refuse to change especially by using the computer technology that they do not familiar. Besides that, they may feel unhappy if they found people are using them as medium for marketing.
The barriers to viral marketing such as size, media format and mail attachment also become a problem to implement it. If the size of the viral content is too large, it may restrict people to view it as it may take time to download the file. For example, video clip is large for the recipient to receive it. Media format also become the barrier to viral marketing. If the content of the message is in a format that most people can't view and certain software needs to be installed to view it, the viral marketing will be unsuccessful as the people feel inconvenient. Besides, viral marketing strategy may fail if marketer uses mail attachment to forward their message. Many people receive the viral marketing message during they work. Some of the companies may have the setting to block people from receiving the attachment. Therefore, marketers need to be alert when using the viral marketing strategy.
As the technologies become more advanced and many businesses are moving towards globalization, viral marketing become an effective and efficient marketing strategy. Viral marketing enables marketers to promote the brand, product and service at low cost and easy way, which is by spreading the information through people. Viral marketing was describes as kind of a virus as the spreading speed is unpredictable.
Viral marketing is attractive because people may not even see how it is spreading and the spreading speed is unexpected. The number of people who view the message will suddenly become a huge numbers. Of course, the main condition is the message must be interesting enough. Besides, it also depends on the time, people, and the environment. The message will be spread along if the time of audience receives it is correct. People only forward the message when they are free. The message also needs to attract the right people which are the people who have the wide networking to forward it. Add to that the right environment, the message will spread exponentially.
In reality, viral marketing can be used by any business and by using any website. The best part that marketers can take advantage of this strategy without high cost. It is easier to implement, low costs and have high response rate. Viral marketing can have many benefits if it was used carefully and correctly. Therefore, marketers have to be alert when implement it. The issues can be solved and the problems can be overcome by marketers that have the right attitudes. Thus, the brand awareness can be increase and the business will be success.