Marketing is not as much about the actual campaign as it is about the method of targeting the required audience. A company may have a highly effective campaign planned, but if it doesn't get its message out successfully, the promotion is of no value. And both company time and money are squandered.
Online marketing and viral campaigns have become attractive forms of marketing as the campaign can target thousands, if not millions, of potential customers at a relatively low cost in a short period. In additional, monitoring the effectiveness of the campaign is automatic, allowing a company to monitor the success or failure of the campaign precisely.
The right campaign for the right market
There are two sides to a virtual marketing campaign. The first is the online route whereby the campaigner uses methods such as e-mail to get their message out to the public and expose them to their message, encouraging the public to visit the company's website and adopt the product or service.
The second is a newer concept known as viral marketing and it is so hot that many companies are desperate to get their hands onto it. Currently not many companies are aware of the benefits of viral marketing which, if applied correctly, can benefit them greatly.
It is essential that marketers assess exactly what it takes to pull off a successful promotion before they embark on one. And for most companies an online campaign is still the best choice. It involves traditional online advertising, such as banner advertisement or text messages. This is then placed on particular websites which would most effectively reach the desired target audience. The banner links back to the company website where the user can see the product or service.
It's a similar concept to direct marketing, but results can be measured more accurately, such as how many people clicked the banner on particular websites and how many actually took up the offer. Traditional media, such as radio, billboard advertising, supports online media in one of two ways: either as an additional, new media which is part of a traditional strategy, or as a driver of a viral strategy. Online marketing can also expand into e-mail and mobile marketing, but you need to be careful that the receiver does not view the message as spam.
Online marketing is effective and still the most common form of marketing.
Spreading the word
Viral campaigns are driven by users and can either be a huge hit or a great flop. The main method of viral marketing is to send out a mass e-mail which entices the reader to learn more about the product or service and to forward it on. Another element is that a program is launched which people subscribe to, but in order to do so, they need to invite five friends, and so on. A recent example of a website that was launched via a viral movement is Facebook. It launched in February of 2004 and the website has over 17 million registered users across over 47 000 networks. According to comScore, Facebook is the sixth most visited site in the US and the number one photo-sharing site. In a 2007 survey conducted by www.youth-trends.com of 1 000 teenagers in the US between the ages of 17 and 25, Facebook was rated the most popular website receiving 69% of the votes as the website of choice. And marketing for this website was conducted only through a viral campaign, proving that viral campaigns offer huge exposure even though less time and money are spent on them.
However most viral movements initially require the regular, online element of marketing consisting of adverts and banners encouraging people to register or a competition to entice them.
It is essential that the product being marketed is something that people love in order for it to be passed on and for users to invite their friends. It is generally cheap, useful, and people would want their friends to be a part of it and join the community, such as You Tube or flicker.com, for video and photo sharing.
One of the main problems of viral campaigns is still that the marketer requires a huge database of names to launch it, which is not necessarily needed for an online campaign.
It has traditionally been difficult for corporates to launch a viral service as they have tended to lose credibility by launching a social network. However, companies can offer other incentives to encourage participations, such as by offering discounts on company products to those who are part of their community.
Businesses that do their research in selecting the best suited promotion for them will be more guaranteed to achieve their desired goal.
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