Viral marketing is defined as the practice by which interest in a product or service spreads via messages that are passed along. This is often done when one individual shares information or content with another, which creates a longer chain of communication. This results in awareness for said product or service, increasing the likelihood of business created. Though viral marketing has taken off with digital media, which any online marketing company is familiar with, it has been around even before the digital tools we know of today have become commonplace.
For evidence of viral marketing in film, prior to today’s digital age, look no further than the 1999 found-footage horror film, “The Blair Witch Project.” This would go on to become perhaps the most popular film in its unique genre, but what helped it was the advertising that took place beforehand. The movie’s marketing was conducted in such a way that it was treated as real-life footage, not a fictional horror film. Everything from message boards to chat rooms to even a website, the latter of which was a fairly new concept at the time, drew more attention to “The Blair Witch Project” before its eventual release.
Of course, digital media has evolved since then. As such, viral marketing can now be conducted in different ways, whether through specific social media channels or otherwise. If the goal of a business is to spread awareness through user activity online, viral marketing is the strategy to look to. For a better understanding of what said strategy entails, the following traits should be in place.
Memorable – First and foremost, a viral marketing campaign should stick in the mind of the user. They should be able to easily recall it even after a few days of seeing an image, video, or TV commercial, just to name a few examples. It can be argued that memorability is essential for any digital marketing initiative. However, when the goal is to spread the word from person to person, it goes without saying that being memorable is that much more vital.
Case and point, look at the various Old Spice commercials that have appeared on TV and online in recent years. These commercials are effective at showcasing Old Spice products in humorous ways, allowing the brand to be flexible from a presentation standpoint. Even if one never used Old Spice beforehand, if they watch an ad, it stands to reason that it would leave an impression. This is just one instance of the memorability that viral marketing is known for.
Purposeful – A viral marketing campaign must also have a purpose. While it’s important to provide users with content they can sink their teeth into, unless there is an objective for the user to follow, it will ultimately be wasted effort. As such, viral marketing initiatives should prompt users to follow up with certain actions. These include, but aren’t limited to, visiting websites, reading articles, and downloading whitepapers. Regardless, there must be a purpose behind the marketing initiative.
CarMax is a great example of a company that has created viral marketing campaigns with purpose. These commercials feature their own brand of humor, which makes them memorable, as stated earlier. More importantly, they’re able to convey the company’s goal of selling used cars to potential buyers, prompting the latter to learn more about their offerings. This is the main purpose of CarMax that its viral marketing illustrates.
Shareworthy – In the social media age, the best content is easily shareable. This is true for virtually any piece of content, be it a graphic, video, or blog post, among other examples. What this does is bolster the company’s presence across all channels. Furthermore, it will go a long way in creating awareness. In turn, users may be inclined to research what the company behind said content is about. At its core, however, shareable content must prioritize the interests of the user.
For evidence of a truly shareworthy viral marketing effort in 2020, look no further than Spotify. The music and audio streaming app’s “Wrapped” campaign took users through their history on the app, including the artists and podcasts they listened to the most throughout 2020. This content could then be shared on social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, furthering the reach of the “Wrapped” campaign. When it comes to shareworthy social media advertising campaigns in 2020, Spotify stood head and shoulders above many of the rest.
About fishbat: fishbat is a full-service Long Island advertising agency located in New York. Utilizing the latest technologies and forward-thinking strategies, fishbat is able to create marketing plans that are tailor-made for specific needs and goals. The services that fishbat provides include, but aren’t limited to, social media management, search engine optimization, content marketing, email marketing, and branding. With these, businesses will be able to market directly to their audiences, increasing traffic, engagement, and ultimately, revenue.