Marketing Flu- Viral Marketing

Given a chance, most of us would refrain from making payments. These days almost anything and everything requires big money, be it marketing, advertising, selling etc. Marketers sensed the invasion of Internet in today’s youth and this led to the emergence of Viral Marketing.

As the name suggests, ideas, thoughts products and all spread like viruses. It’s an idea that spreads, while its spreading it actually helps to market your business.

As budding managers it might amuse you to know viral marketing is actually like an ultimate free lunch to your company. Pick some small number of people to seed your idea; let it to go viral; and then watch how it spreads effortlessly to millions.

There are two kinds of viral marketing: First is marketing the product where a self-amplifying cycle occurs. For example YouTube or Hotmail. The more people use them, the more people see them. The more people see them, the more people use them. So it’s a self multiplying process just like a virus that cultivates.

The second type is when the people spread the message; unconsciously the consumer himself is a part of the marketing campaign. For example when we share videos on facebook or twitter. It is this type where most managers are keeping their eye on.

In a nut shell, what I wanted to tell you all is that there is no need to spend huge bucks of money on big marketing campaigns, use viral, just seed one, and see your business cultivates.

Now let’s come to the fun part. Understanding viral marketing using examples.

How many of you have heard or used something called “HOTMAIL”?

Yes, it was one of the most successful campaigns of viral marketing. Let me tell you how. After its launch in 1996, Hotmail had more than 12million users in less than 18 months. This astonishing growth rate was down to the fact that every single email sent from Hotmail included a small advert promoting the service in the footer:  “Get your free e-mail at Hotmail”. Now guys this is all the decent reasons for its success. Just bifurcate the word Hotmail, and see what it becomes HOT+MALE. Now see what does the tagline says-Your free Hot Male. Male, not as in the mail mail, but male maleJ.  After this the company was establishing 270,000 new accounts each day.

Second example that I would like to quote is of VIRGIN mobile services. In 2010 IPL Virgin Mobile came up with a very interesting advertising campaign, in which the main idea was of cheaper STD rates. The ad featured friends residing in different states who call up each other during the match and involved lot of leg pulling that added to the humour. Now the different part of this ad campaign was that this ad never released on the TV. It got popular via internet. The company posted it on You Tube, and then it just got viral as people started sharing it on facebook, twitter etc. The humour content and the beeped dialogues in the ad compelled the youth to share it on their walls. The ad was a big hit. So for those of you who haven’t seen this ad, after reading this, log into you tube and search for INDIAN PANGA LEAGUE, and let it go more viral.

And the latest case, that all of you must be aware of is “Kolavari Di”. In India this is one of the major examples of Viral Marketing. This song went viral over night. The success of this song was immense. Sony Entertainment officially released the song on YouTube on 15nov 2011 and the video received 83000 reviews within 24 hours. The viral growth rate of the song was 200%. Within days the song was recognised and re tweeted by celebs like Amitabh Bacchan, Suresh Raina, Shruti Hasan. The tamilinglish lyrics of the song coupled with great music contributed to its success. There were millions of shares on facebook overnight. I remember how my facebook home page was flooded with status saying, “why this kolaveri di” and n number of video postings. The song had a large audience a month before the song was officially released on television. News headlines said “Kolaveri” goes viral. There were t-shirts, mugs, banners displaying this message. The promoters didn’t do much to promote the song, it was us, the audience who made the song popular, or viral. Kolaveri di’s viral success has now become part of many marketing lectures at various MBA institutes.

So, Viral Marketing could be a sneaky way to get people to know about you and your company. You get them to pass your advertisement along. They are also of very low cost that do not involve huge investments. All it takes is a brilliant idea, humour, catchy lines and great minds. So all you people out here, aiming to go into this industry, do remember my blog when you go and market your product.