A Quantum Leap Into Viral Marketing

    January 31, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

There is no stronger force in marketing than word of mouth. A salesperson, or evangelist, as they like to be called nowadays, has no leverage or influence greater than the authentic voice of a friend, or the experienced voice of a fellow consumer.

A Quantum Leap Into Viral Marketing
Using Word-Of-Mouth To Your Advantage

In fact, as a new study reveals, consumers are not really loyal to any one form of media, often using several types in conjunction with each other, leaving WOM the purest, most resonating voice there is.

But we all know that already, right? The problem is implementation and predictability. Who would have known that the so-called “Star Wars Kid” would have reached the eyeballs of nearly A BILLION people in 2006? Nobody could have known that, and so, we are speaking of the most powerful, yet least measurable – read: intuitive – approach on the marketing planet with little available except after-the-fact quantifiable proof.

Sounds a lot like quantum mechanics all of the sudden, doesn’t it?

Particles, or wave-like stringy things, move from here to there in some type of pattern, either linearly, zig-zag, in a parabola, or an infinite number of paths, none of them measurable, all of them possible and likely and maybe even all paths at once or none of them at all, only notable after they have actually occurred, and then you’re head explodes into a million tiny bits because this is exactly how DVD players are invented, quantifiable proof of their efficacy, without any true understanding of why they work, just that they do, in fact, work.

Welcome to the world of viral marketing.

BIGresearch’s study, as presented by eMarketer, has the numbers, if not the how-to guide, on word-of-mouth viral marketing as compared with print, TV, ad inserts, in-store promos, Internet, and radio.

The poll of 15,000 consumers found that most simultaneously consume different types of media. Almost 71 percent surf the Web while watching TV or listening to the radio, or whatever media is around; 69 percent read newspapers while using other media; 68 percent watch TV; and 56.4 percent listen to the radio, much lower because its done most while driving.

The multimedia approach of most consumers shows willingness to listen to all to sources of information, plunging headlong indeed into a ravenous appetite for it. But none of these media by themselves have the power of word-of-mouth.

“New digital options make it easier to give and receive options on products and services and it’s no longer confined to one-to-one conversations,” said Joe Pilotta of BIGresearch.

“Online search, blogging, email, texting, video, streaming and social networks such as MySpace and YouTube have expanded the word-of-mouth universe and made traditional advertising less relevant for many.”

In both electronics and vehicle purchasing, consumers trusted word-of-mouth far more than other media, with print articles and TV broadcasts holding distant second and third place positions.

But the most impacting numbers are:

94% of consumers regularly or occasionally give advice about products and services they purchased

91% regularly or occasionally seek advice about products and services before making a purchase

And the Internet only magnifies that.

“The Web has taken Word of Mouth, which used to be restricted by geographic realities, and exploded it outwards in all directions,” writes Enquiro head Gord Hotchkiss. “For word of mouth to be truly powerful, it has to live close to the ground, come from real people, and not have the faintest whiff of commercialism about it.”

When News Corp. bought MySpace and when Google swallowed up YouTube, many questioned things like measurable returns, profitability, and business models. But those critics missed the boat: it’s not about money, it’s about influence and reach, both of which turn into money later.


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