The Viral Marketing Effect

About The Viral Buzz

Viral marketing buzz occurs daily, in normal, unspectacular circumstances and when you least anticipate it.

The grapevine, rumors, the whispers in your ear are what buzz is all about. Those little flecks of information that individuals share over a cup of java....the outrageous occurrence that somebody just saw and can’t wait to describe or the unbelievably cool product that a acquaintance of a friend just purchased are the body and soul of buzz...and buzz marketing or viral marketing, depending upon what you wish to call it.

We all recognize what a computer virus is. It spreads from one PC to another in the blink of an eye. Now “Buzz” is the virus of promoting... it spreads to other buyers and has an epidemic of sales of your product or service.

It may be that “e-mail this to an acquaintance” button that's simply calling to you to click it, or a pair of real (and really satisfied) lips whispering persuasive endorsements into receptive ears; buzz marketing may transmit your business message at warp speed and do it at no cost to you!

Discussion boards, blogs, e-mail lists and product review web sites are the conversations that consumers have with each other and represent the biggest collection of word-or-mouth or buzz advertising that's ever existed.

The Buzz About The Buzz

Producers of products and services are slowly starting to recognize that what Consumer reports say about their products and services isn't nearly as crucial as what consumers say to each other about them. Therefore, we have the ballooning of viral marketing.....word-of- mouth...or buzz.

And... We'll take 2 case studies as concrete proof. MSN Hotmail’s viral marketing success tale is practically in the domain of folk lore. Back in 95, when Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith approached the venture capital firm of Draper Fisher & Jervetson with their thought for a free e-mail service, the firm liked the theme but wondered how they'd draw in members and build a company around it. Nowadays there are more than thirty million participating members.

The Hotmail user base developed faster than any media company in history; faster than CNN and AOL! Hotmail tripled its size in a single year. The present sign-up rate for new memberships frequently exceeds a 1000000 per week.

Tom Draper is the one who really suggested that they ought to append an ad message to each outbound e-mail: “P.S. Get your free email at Hotmail” and called it viral marketing.

It was a really bold move at the time. Would users resist having this automatic addition to the content of their private messages? Hotmail seasoned the idea by clearly marking the promotional plug and taking out the “P.S.”.

Yet, every departing message conveyed an ad and a subtle implied endorsement by the sender. The recipient recognized that the sender was a Hotmail user and that this new free of charge e-mail thing seemed to work for them. Every new user became a 'salesman' and the content spread like an exceedingly contagious virus.

At the end of the day, Hotmail’s formula for success is pretty easy. It delivers the qualities consumers truly want in an e-mail service: speed, dependability, and ease of use and a rich set of characteristics. And helped by the might of viral marketing, the rest as they state, is history.

The following success story involves a little communication tool you likely have in your personal computer right now.

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