On Viral Marketing
According to Richard Spalding, co-founder and mareketing director of Kontraband, an entertainment Web site, a common mistake businesses make is distributing content that’s not engaging enough or tied closely enough to the bigger marketing message. “Another common problem is when too much user data is required to play or interact with the viral. The consumer having to get involved with excessive signing-up procedures really hampers the chances of something going viral,” he says. But when viral marketing works, useful contact information can be collected for future promotions. “Marketing departments can know whether the campaign is on target,” says Spalding. “The data can be used to decide on a variety of other business-critical questions: Is the product liked? Do we have the right marketing mix? Should we spend more money online?”
Despite viral marketing’s proven success, Silverpop’s “2005 Retail Marketing Study” found that many retailers don’t take advantage of it. “The range of practices is quite striking,” says Bill Nussey, Silverpop CEO, in a press statement. “Too many retailers fail to capitalize on the unique persuasiveness of the medium.” He says e-mail campaigns need to be more aggressive. They also need to target more women.
According to Sharpe Partners, an interactive marketing agency serving clients like Circuit City, women in their late 30s and early 40s are among the biggest viral forwarders of content. In total, 89 percent of adult internet users in America share content with others via e-mail. “We knew a lot of people were sharing content, but even we didn’t expect it to be so persuasive,” says Kathy Sharpe, CEO of Sharpe Partners, in a press statement. Sharpe’s Viral Marketing Survey from last year found that customers are even likely to forward e-mails with clear brand messages.