Viral Marketing

web design companies in kerryViral marketing is a technique that uses word of mouth or email to reach and affect an audience. Some forms of viral marketing have existed for centuries. They are mentioned in annals of Greek Athenian histories and are a common strategy in marketing and media relations techniques.

The goal of a viral marketer is to create "buzz" about a product or idea, so that the idea spreads widely. If effective, viral marketing may require very little effort on the part of the propagandist, as the recipients of the message become the primary agents who spread it to other people. On the other hand, the weakest thing about this form of marketing is that it is hard to control. Like the "telephone game" that children play, the message may change as it passes from ear to ear.


  • Rumours
  • Chain letters with warnings
  • "Leaked" information
  • Gossip
  • Urban myths
  • Secondhand versions of official reports

Case study #1:

Mobility and urbanization of American society at the beginning of 20th century unwittingly helped spread the syphilis, which was a major public health disaster by the twenties. Penicilin was still two decades away. Having the disease almost certain meant a painful death. It was feared and was not tolerated. After the World War I the tobacco companies expanded business into advertising to women, with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company being at the forefront with its Camel brand. Very fierce competition ensued. Competitors apparently used the following technique of word of mouth and fear to counter advertise:

Two "strangers" would enter an establishment such as pharmacy through separate entrances, and independently from each other. A discussion will "incidentally" commence about Reynolds' cigarettes, and one person would express fear that there is a danger of catching syphilis from smoking Camels, because there is a confirmed epidemic among the factory employees. Discussion would be picked up by bystanders, and fear relayed to others. Radio was in its infancy at the time, and many people were illiterate, with no access to newspapers. Such technique must have been actually used, since at one point Reynolds advertized a $10,000 prize for exposing the perpetrators.

Viral Marketing is the Internet buzzword for "word of mouth".  Nothing really to do with contagious viruses you will be pleased to hear, however, like viruses such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode a message tothousands, and maybe millions of internet users.

This makes it an inexpensive, yet powerful, marketing option for a business to establish brand awareness.  It is based on the principle of encouraging people to spread your marketing message for you.

Advantages of viral marketing strategies:

  • Use other peoples' existing networks of friends and relatives to get your message across
  • If people receive a message from a friend rather than a stranger, they're more likely to read it, treat it seriously and respond to it
  • They're inexpensive to set up
  • Once set up, they can go on and on working without costing you extra money.

A good campaign can generate huge interest, online traffic and increase potential sales.

Please contact us to find out more about how viral marketing can help and really start bringing in the traffic.