Marketing Sherpa has a new study on Viral ads (free here – requires subscription after April 15th). They distinguish viral ads as different from “buzz marketing”, “evangelism marketing” and “influencer’s marketing”. The article quotes:
Campaigns may raise sales or otherwise help your brand as a byproduct. But, the main focus of the campaign is on the creative — the thing that’s so neat-o that people feel compelled to spread the word. They can’t help themselves (just like sneezing when you pass a virus around…)
Makes me wonder why anyone would do this kind of marketing…if the purpose is not in affecting the brand or generate revenue…why would you do that? Geez – give me “parasite marketing” that delivers real $$ any day!
In all fairness, the article does point out that there are huge ROI’s to be had if done properly. It also lists a few interesting facts that we should remember as marketers.
- Don’t feel like all your advertising (all communications really) should be brand-centric. People are tired of ads. Have your brand be the sponsor of something that interests your audience. It’s all about putting your audience in the center…not your company or product!
- You should always try to see if you can reach the most innermost drivers of your audience – fear, greed and entertainment.
But then the article quotes Justin Kirby, co-founder Viral & Buzz Marketing Association (another new marketing association I never heard of):
“The reason you focus on the creative agents is because the product normally doesn’t have an uniqueness that can be leveraged to amplify and accelerate word of mouth. So you make the creative agent/communications sticky because the product isn’t necessarily.”
Now I am not sure that I buy that. If your product does not have enough uniqueness (as in…there are not enough compelling arguments why your prospect should look at your product), I fail to see how you will overcome that with a whiz-bang ad. You should probably think through your positioning first before you send out a viral ad.
Here are a few other interesting tips, surprises, and lessons learned from the article:
- asking people to forward the mail gives better results than just having a forward button
- the use of games and quizzes is especially popular with…adult women (wow…that reminded me of another stat I heard when I was working for a company focused on the hotel industry – traveling adult women are also the highest consumer of on-demand porn in hotels (not my research…))
- Use of microsites is expensive and not necessarily effective…
Every so often, Marketing Sherpa has real good articles. Sometimes I wish that they would keep their content up there longer (like they had an awesome case study on what works and what does not work at VistaPrint awhile back), but that is no longer available. I do understand that they need to make money.
I also wish that they would have an rss feed to syndicate instead of plain old email subscription (and for full discosure, I am involved with BlogBride, and rss aggregator – so I know I am biased when it comes down to how I want my news delivered…)