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时间:2014-11-20 09:37来源:www.ukassignment.org 编辑:fengchaolifeng 点击:



1.1 病毒式营销——Viral Marketing

These years, the competitions among companies become more and more furious. Song(2004)pointed out that many companies in order to survive even to develop, they try to make good use any way that can help them to enlarge their market share and build a strong brand. The traditional Medias such as television, newspaper, radio and printed Ads were over used in the last decade. This view was supported by Mogg (2006) who believed that using these traditional ways to promote a product or service not longer can stimulate audiences’ passion and urge effectively. Because in some extent, audiences were get used to receive information of these ways, they need something new, need a new “flavor” of the information they receive (Sally, 2006).

The era that customers rely on marketers’ suggestions or advertising to make a purchase decision was gone. Czinkota (2007) argued that only supply the information that you think customers would need is not working, not enough to persuade customers, and can not fulfill their needs and satisfy them. Customers already become smart enough; they do not like to be persuaded by marketers or advertisings in many situations. They prefer to be active in the buying process and use their own knowledge and standards to decide what they need, and what they happy to buy (Grewal, 2008). A strong brand can make customers have faith in a company and its products. This view seems acceptable for Fill (2005) who agreed that building close relationship with customers is vital; companies try their best to pursue the best marketing strategies with the purpose to be strong and profitable.

Word of mouth is one of the effective ways for a company to promote its products (Anderson, 1999). Word-of-Mouth (WOM) was described as oral, person-to-person communication between a receiver and a communicator which the receiver perceives as a noncommercial message, regarding a brand, product or service (Haywood, 1989, pp53-66). It can help a company use less money to do the mass promotion. This view was supported by Buttle(1998), he believed that customers are easier to be persuaded through this way as they think it is a noncommercial way. They consider that they are on the active position to receive information and make a buying decision, not be persuaded to do that.

With the evolution of technology, and the growth of the internet, the arena of many companies have move from realistic world to a new world—the internet (Castells, 1997). Word of mouth has upgrade through internet, and gets a new name “viral marketing” these years (Modzelewski, 2000). Base on Dicher’s (2001, pp47) research, “viral marketing is a strategy that companies use to stimulate their customer to pass on something about their products to their network of colleagues and friends”. For the company, viral marketing can help a company use a little budget to promote itself sharply, since the information you send out, customers would pass them on by themselves. In the customers’ side, viral marketing help customers feel better as they think that they make the purchase decision by themselves, and they get information from their friends who seem more reliable than marketers or advertisings. (Wangenheim, 2007, pp131-146)

Base on the advantages of internet, using viral marketing relate to internet can make the promotion effect like a nuclear bomb. Internet can make the information deliver very fast, even exceed your expectation. Sudaraman and Rajagopalan(2003) found that since you use viral marketing to send out your information, it may reach every corner of world that has internet connections only need a few days. Internet seems something bring information deliver from the “Stone Age” to “21st century”, it acting like a pair of wings of information delivery, make information deliver reach to an incredible speed.

Considering the effective of viral marketing strategy, this report decides to examine the effects of viral marketing that can make to a company. The author is very interested in the effects of viral marketing, as it is a trend for future business; it is so useful to company’s promotion and information delivery. To know clear about the viral marketing can help author to enrich his marketing knowledge, and will be very helpful in his future job or business, even can help readers of this report to know more about viral marketing. In order to make the research more reliable and get accurate analysis, this report would choose MySpace, an online company which seems to be success on using viral marketing strategy to assist the analysis.

1.2 我的空间——MySpace

Tom Anderson (born November 8, 1970) is the President of the social networking website, MySpace. He is one of the people identified as a founder of the site, along with CEO Chris DeWolfe (Boyd, 2006). At the beginning, it was a website with a small number of users, which used to make friends. Then they invite some famous people to join in, these famous people bring many fans in. since more and more bands build up their website on this station, MySpace becoming bigger and get huge number of users. It develop from a music wed station to a core of young people’s live in America, then explore all over the world(Diving into the Myspace Pool, 2006). It chooses to give users enough freedom to build what they like in this wed station, and this freedom and right make it explore so quickly. People can use their email address to sign up as the user of it. (Source from Dwyer, 2007)

Every user can upload the things they like, such as video and sound clips, pictures and many other things. MySpace listen to their users and improve the wed station, like increase blogs, message board, discuss rooms, and online communications. Users can talk to their friends there, play games together, even use wed camera to meet each other when they talking.(source from Boyd, 2006) This wed station can make users feel so free in it; they can talk what they like with their friends here. So users invite their friends to join in MySpace (Diving into the MySpace Pool, 2006).

In such a way, MySpace reach to a great success. Until 2006, MySpace only set up three years, but its development speed was faster than any wed station in history, it is a myth of the internet development history. It already beyond Yahoo and 谷歌 to be the biggest wed station in USA. It was set up with a very small cost, but in 2005, Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of The News Corporation Limited, use 580 million dollar to buy it. One year after it was purchased, it earn 900 million dollar from 谷歌 for advertising fee. (Source from Hempel and Lehman, 2005)

It seems that MySpace really a success example to make good use of viral marketing strategy, that why this report choose UK MySpace as the case study to assist the research and analysis.

1.3 调查目的——Research Objectives

a. Examine the effects that viral marketing can make to a company, associate with case study-----UK MySpace
b. Access to customers attitude and reactions to viral marketing through primary and secondary data analysis
c. Find out the effects of viral marketing for a company’s success at last.
Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 病毒营销的背景和发展——The Background and Development of Viral Marketing

Marketing is a social process which satisfies consumers' needs. The term includes advertising, distribution and selling of a product or service. It is also concerned with anticipating the customers' future needs and expectations, often through market research (Frenzen and Nakamoto, 1993). This view was supported by Eugene (1998) who believed that marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.

Pamela (2000) pointed out that traditional marketing is the marketing techniques that are used for many years, it mainly using mediums such as, television, newspaper, telephone and radio. Nowadays, there are many new technologies are used to replace the traditional mediums to do promotions: Internet, multimedia mobile phone, blogs and so on. These new mediums can help marketers to reach more customers and cut cost.

This view was supported by Wegert (2004) who believed that the traditional mediums do not work effective as before, they make many audiences feel boring and many offers what they dislike. Customers want to see something new and soothing, really make them interesting and happy, so the new mediums may work effective and can catch their eyeballs (Anderson, 1998, pp104-141).

These years, more and more people like to surfing on internet (Wangenheim, 2007). This situation leads to many marketers focus on internet to promote their products and services. Especially, young people prefer using internet to traditional mediums. For a company’s future development, holding the young people now can make them get a big market share in the future (Bayus, 1985). So to make good use of the internet to do promotion is vital for many companies, especially the company which rely on internet to do business.

There are many advantages to use internet as an advertising medium: message can change quickly and easily; create own page cheaply; low cost; direct sales possible and so on (McWilliams, 2000). Base on its advantages, more and more companies choose to use internet to do advertisings. Several main online promotion techniques are recognized by marketing researchers, viral marketing will be the focus of this research as it can reach mass consumers in a short time with a low cost.

2.2 从WOM到病毒营销——From WOM to Viral Marketing

During the last decade, customer satisfaction and perceived service quality have been important topics in the marketing literature. This is due to the empirically verified belief that increases in satisfaction and quality will finally result in higher profitability (Wangenheim, 2007). Over the past 10 years however the focus of research on satisfaction and quality has slowly shifted from understanding how “service quality perceptions and satisfaction judgments” are formed to a more “outcome-oriented view” of assessing the returns on service quality and satisfaction based on a thorough understanding of the associated costs and benefits (Buttle, 1998, pp76-89).

A strategy called “viral marketing” was used by many companies to pursue the profit. Before the “viral marketing” appears, a marketing strategy called “word of mouth” was used in that way. Haywood (1989) believed that Word-of-Mouth (WOM) refers to oral, person-to-person communication between a receiver and a communicator which the receiver perceives as a noncommercial message, regarding a brand, product or service.

Even though WOM strategy can bring huge benefits to a company, the development of technology usage has upgraded the word of mouth strategy to a new one call “viral marketing” (Richins, 1999). These years, stationary Internet consumers’ communication environment has been changed and enriched. As a result WOM has gained new significance and WOM on the stationary Internet was termed “viral marketing”.

This view was supported by Godes and Mayzlin (2004), that Viral or word-of-mouth marketing has become very popular because it has a new medium—the Internet. According to one venture capital firm, 76 percent of new business plans have the words "viral marketing" in them (File, Cermak and Prince, 2000). Using e-mail makes it incredibly easy to pass information on to a friend or colleague, especially if it involves something fun or free. With millions using the Internet all over the world, the potential for exponential growth is quite huge.

2.3 什么是病毒营销——What is Viral Marketing

Since the term viral marketing was introduced in 1997, many disagreements exist about its definition. Subramani and Rajagopalan (2003) view it as word-of-mouth advertising in which consumers tell other consumers about the product or service. Yang and Allenby (2003) argued that true viral marketing differs from word-of-mouth in that the value of the virus to the original consumer is directly related to the number of other users it attracts. Shirky (2000) suggests that, in generally, viral marketing would be word-of-mouth advertising to most people. More importantly, however, he adds that the concept describes viral marketing as a way of getting new customers by encouraging honest communication among consumers. The originator of each branch of the virus has a unique and vested interest in recruiting people to the network. (Modzelewski, 2000, p.30).

According to Senecal and Acques (2004) suggestion, purchasing is part of a social process, it involves a one-to-one interaction between the company and the customer and many exchanges of information and influence among the people who surround the customers. They also suggest that many effective networks comprise hubs, clusters, and connections among clusters. In these networks, people will notice a constant flow of green sparks between certain nodes.

Wilson (2000) said that viral marketing is sort of this explosion that you start with one customer and he/she will tell people and pass it on continuously. In Dichter’s (2001, p47) opinion, “viral marketing is the idea that you incite your customers or referral sources to pass on something about your business to their network of colleagues and friends”. There is a similar saying that viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages customers to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message's exposure and influence (Hogon, Lemon and Libai, 2004). Nalor (2002) claimed that viral marketing is a marketing tactic relying on some aspects of the system to promote itself as initial targets pass the promotion on to others.

Depend mostly on Hogon, Lemon and Libai’s perspectives, the current article views viral marketing as the process of encouraging honest communication among consumer networks, and it focuses on email as the main channel.

One example of viral marketing is encouraging current and potential customers to tell others about a company's products and services, and then encouraging those others to tell even more consumers, make the information go forward continuously (Subramani and Rajagopalan, 2003 ). These strategies like viruses, can take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands even to millions customers in a short time.

“The term viral marketing is also used to refer to stealth marketing campaigns—the use of varied kinds of astroturfing both online and offline to create the impression of spontaneous word of mouth enthusiasm”(Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler,2004, pp 95). Out of the internet, viral marketing has been described as “word of mouth”, “creating a buzz”, “leveraging the media”, “network marketing”. However, on the internet, whatever, it was called “viral marketing” (Helm, 2000, pp 57-71).

Datta, Chowdhury and Chakraborty (2005) used the term as “network-enhanced word of mouth” to describe the then high innovative marketing strategy of the free email service Hotmail. For other words, such terms as propagation, aggregation or organic marketing are used. Successful viral marketing is characterized as “strategies that allow an easier, accelerated, and cost reduced transmission of messages by creating environments for a self-replicating, exponentially increasing diffusion, spiritualization, and impact of the message”. (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2001)

2.4. 病毒营销的构成和范畴——Forms and Categories of Viral Marketing

2.4.1 构成——Forms

There are many forms of viral marketing; these include images, jokes, reality TV show transcripts, digital video clips, e-cards, interactive microsites, advergames, and alternative reality games (Modzelewski, 2000). The list is continuously growing as the development of viral marketing.

2.4.2 范畴——Categories

There are several ways to categorize viral marketing. First, difference between “intentional and unintentional message” delivery and used a “motivational classification”. Secondary, difference is between “service-based and incentive-based”. In the first situation, viral effect was decided by the quality of offer, another one means that company uses monetary incentive to stimulate customers so that they would pass on an advertiser’s message. Base on the differences between private and public recommendation, the categorization between “high (active) and low (passive) integration strategies are varying in the degree of requiring the consumer’s activity in passing on the ‘virus’ ”. (Source from Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001, pp 209-257)

2.5 B2B中的病毒营销——Viral Marketing in B2B

Beside the explanation of viral marketing base on B2C, many authors get another similar definition for it on B2B side.

In B2B, viral marketing means the rapid spread of a message about a new product or service, in a similar way to the spread of a virus (Yang and Allenby, 2003). Viral marketing can be word of mouth; however, it is particularly common being use on the Internet, where messages can be spread easily and quickly to reach people all over the world. Products can become very famous in this way with very little advertising cost.

Carrabis (2006) has proved that viral marketing rely on social networks in order to function. Linking is also an effective viral marketing tool, as is the provision of free products or services. The Hotmail free e-mail service, for example, grew quickly with little marketing investment (Tafe, 2007).

In B2B area, viral marketing works well in the following circumstances: (a) when a product is genuinely new and different, and it is something that opinion leaders want to associate with;(b) when the benefits of the product are real; (c) when the product is relevant to a large number of people, and the benefits are easy to communicate (Bansal and Voyer, 2000, p26-63).

2.6 为什么要病毒营销——Why Viral Marketing

These years, online social networks are increasingly being considered as an important source of information to affect the adoption and use of products and services (Mac, 2006). Viral marketing as the tactic of creating a process where interested people can market to each other, is therefore emerging as an important marketing strategy to spread-the-word and stimulate the trial, adoption, and use of products and services. (Herr, Kardes and Kim, 1999)

What is new about viral marketing is not word of mouth, but the way people are spreading it (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004). Web users have the ears and eyes of hundreds, even thousands of people. They are in contact with an International crowd they would never have met otherwise. Most significantly, they can reach people they do not really know. That is why several weeks after a people sent the first Hotmail message into India; thousands of Indian users had Hotmail accounts (Kuruvilla, 2007).

It is believed that a satisfied customer tells an average of three people about a product or service he likes, and nine people about a product or service which he dislikes (Sudaraman, Mitra and Webster, 1999). Viral marketing is based on this natural human behavior to conduct its campaigns.

Domingos (2006) believed that the purpose of marketers interested in making a successful viral marketing campaign is to identify customers who with high social networking potentials, and then created viral messages that can attract this segment of the customers and have a high likely to keep the message spreading.

Viral marketing has received extensive attention from both academics and practitioners these years (Jurvetson, 2000). Base on the analysis before, many authors form their standpoints about the effect that viral marketing strategy can bring to a company. They argue with other authors’ opinions base on their own standpoints.

2.6.1 病毒营销的积极影响——Positive Effects of Viral Marketing

Viral marketing facilitates spreading commercial information and content within the desired target group (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2001)). Another advantage of it is that advertisers can expand the promotion reach significantly at a very low company expense (Baker, 2005). According a survey of Duhan, Johnson, Wilcox and Harrell (1997), 35% of the 3000 respondents said a friend’s recommendation would convince them to visit a website they do not know before. These results illustrated the huge potential of viral marketing for communication and distribution purposes.

What is great about viral marketing is that it is low cost and works virtually by itself. Once you make an offer and provide the facility, for referrals, viral marketing spreads by itself very faster, just like a virus (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004). Just like Tafe (2007) said that, Hotmail only cost 18 months to get 12 million users by using viral marketing that let users to referral users, it cost nothing to do Ads, only use free email account.

Viral marketing has been studied both as an input into consumer decision-making, and as an outcome of the purchase process (Holmes and Lett, 1997). In the pre-purchase stage, as a risk reducing strategy, consumers seek product information by participating in the viral marketing process. Positive and negative messages are examples of exit behaviors exhibited by consumers at the conclusion of a service encounter ((Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004) or usage of a product (Naylor and Kleiser, 2000).

Anderson (1998) pointed out that viral marketing could “influence consumers’ choices and purchase decisions, and shape consumers’ expectations, pre-usage attitudes, even post-usage perceptions of a product or service”. It is believed that the influence of viral marketing is much greater than that of classic advertising media (Gremler, Gwinner and Brown, 2001).BMW is a good example, it supply 5 video clips to watch and download for free, and then get over 11 million visitor in 4 months. The sales of BMW car are increase 12.5% in the next year (Hespos, 2002). It seems that video clips and internet can make viral marketing working effectively.

Viral marketing has been referred to as product-related conversation, personal recommendations, informal communication, and interpersonal communication (Jacob, Barak and Muller, 2001). There are one big distinction between viral marketing activities and commercial mass communication. As viral marketing is a consumer-dominated channel of information, the communicator is thought to be independent of the marketer (Lau and NG, 2001). As a result, it is recognized by customers as a more reliable, credible, and trustworthy source of information. It provides information concerning product performance and the social and psychological consequences of a purchase decision (Naylor and Kleiser, 2000). For example, Myspace use viral marketing to make the users to referral itself and make a big success (Dwyer, 2007).

Viral marketing can convert lower order cognition and affect to higher order cognition and affect, which in turn can lead to committed behaviors of receivers (Baker, 2005). The credibility of viral marketing, coupled with the probability that a receiver will be more highly involved in a viral marketing message than an advertisement, lends itself to the formation of such higher order beliefs and cognition. Through multiple dyads and retransmission, one message can reach and potentially influence many receivers (Henning-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler, 2004). Make good use of the customers’ internet social networks, like using free email referrals and internet chat rooms, the information can spread sharply (Domingos, 2006).

The effectiveness of viral marketing can also be explained by the accessibility-diagnosticity model (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004). Some findings suggest that vividly (face-to-face) presented information is more memorable to customers and is weighed more heavily in their judgments (Henning-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler, 2004).such as Myspace, it use the chat rooms that users can talk to each other, even face-to-face through PC camera, and then its information become more reliable and memorable for users (Boyd, 2006). Because of internet, information accessibility increases, it is high likely that this information is used by customers as an input for their judgments and choices also increases (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004).

2.6.2 病毒营销的消极影响——Negative Effects of Viral Marketing

For all its advantages, viral marketing also has many unexpected pitfalls. Most important, companies have almost no control over the viral spread since it was send out, and therefore they can do little if the viral turns to against them and their products (Jurvetson, 2000).

“The action most frequently reported by consumers who are dissatisfied with a purchase or who have rejected or discontinued using a product is telling friends about the experience and urging them to avoid it” (Weinberger and Lepkowska-White, 2000 ). Many researchers have suggested that negative information tends to cause many attention to and weighting of that information (Bristor, 1990). For example, Naylor and Kleiser (2000) found that negative messages destroy the image of a brand are more than twice as strongly as positive WOM promoted sales of that product. Negative message has also led to the failure of many companies’ promotion. Wilson (2000) argues that negative messages would be communicated to more people than positive messages. According to much previous evidence about the spread of marketing information, it is suggested that a negative message may travel farther than a positive message through retransmission. In previous research; the influencer was often considering to be an opinion leader. However, a dissatisfied customer who initiates negative message need not be an opinion leader, and yet his opinions can have adverse effects on the marketer (Richins, 1999). For example, 索尼 try to use Youtube to promote its Playstation consoles, it created an imaginary character called Peter and tried to make the character as a hip -hop shark. However, some clever users soon discovered the wile, and tell many others. Many people then angary with what SONY done, and refuse to buy the playstation consoles. In the end, 索尼 had to make a public apology to delighted and hold the customers. (Source from Kuruvilla, 2007)

2.6.3 B2B中病毒营销的影响——Viral Marketing Effects in B2B

For business-to-business companies, it makes sense to begin with a product or service offer that has real, free value to prospects. Examples: an e-mailed newsletter that can easily be forwarded to colleagues, or a product that comes with an incentive, such as gift certificates or coupons, sent via e-mail, which can be passed along to more than one person.
Viral marketing can work effective for B2B providers, since the following is true. One very significant effort of viral marketing is to allow others to post articles that you have authored on their Web sites (Lau and NG, 2001). Another way to encourage visitors to spread the word about your product or service is to provide a link or button on each Web page that they can click on to forward your wed site (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001).

While some people may use "viral marketing" only as buzzwords, there is another significance for B2B marketers. Companies can encourage satisfied customers and referral sources in a credible way and persuade them to spread the positive words for their products. Keep the reward combined with your business and appropriate for the size and type of referral. Ensure that your offer adds value or reward for the referrer and for those people that are referred to you, and then you will have a cost-effective marketing tool to grow your business (Herr, Kardes and Kim, 1999).

2.6.4 病毒营销的刺激因素——Factors Motivating Viral Marketing

According to Chen, Iyer and Padmanabhan (2002), viral marketing involves two parties: the communicator and the receiver. Viral marketing will only start when the communicator is motivated to speak and the receiver is motivated to listen. Therefore, in order to understand how the process works, it is very important that understand the inherent motives.

In the case of the receiver, motivation to listen may be affected by: (a) source reliability (Blodgett, Granbois and Walters, 1998); (b) interpersonal ties between the sender and receiver (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001); (c)product and purchasing situation characteristics such as high perceived risk (Bristor, 1990), newness, .and intangibility associated with services (Weinberger and Lepkowska-White, 2000); and (d) situational factors such as conditions where product information may be hard or impossible to get from the marketer, or where there is a shortage of time.

In the case of the communicator, motivation to speak may be influenced by: (a) the personality of the communicator, for example, self-confidence (Bristor, 1990) and sociability (Richins, 1999); (b) the attitudes of the communicator, for example, a desire to help others (Lau and NG, 2001) and attitude towards complaining (Singh, 1990); (c) involvement with the product and with the purchase decision (Henning-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler, 2004); and (d) situational factors like “proximity of others during dissatisfaction” (Lau and NG, 2001).

Viral marketing has quickly been recognized by many companies because of many successful examples: Marketers proved that a little budget they could motivate millions customers. They did so by encourage customer-to-customer communication to increase sales, brand awareness, and market share. Seth Godi uploads his ebook on the internet and the people can download for free and has the right to send to their friends. If they like, they can buy a print copy. Only three months, nearly one million people download the e-book. (Source from Tafe, 2007)

Receivers getting a marketing message from familiar communicators participate more frequently in a campaign as initial contacts. Because the personal message which come from friends or people you know would be more credible than that coming directly from the self-interest advertiser (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001). Taking advantage of the inherent nature of internet as communication vehicles viral marketing enables consumers to share information and content within their social network easier and faster, there are without time and location limitation for internet communications (Naylor and Kleiser, 2000).

Money incentive can works very effective when a viral marketing not clever and attractive enough for customers. Give referrers a reward can encourage fast spread of the marketing information. Those people who pass on your information can get something in return can encourage their passion to pass on the information. That something may be a gift or service related to your business or simply the knowledge that they have added value for others.

2.7衡量成功和有效性—— Measuring Success and Effective

Many authors argue that what is a successful campaign? Can it based on the amount of number of people who positively interact with the campaign’s content or the sales created by the campaign?

Although no a single measurement system has build up for viral marketing, measurement tools do exist, allow the markers use to tracking the process and effects of viral marketing. It is hard to know whether audiences care about the contents behind the campaigns, what ensure about the marketers maybe how many people see the campaign (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001).

Shirky (2000) believed that viral marketing not always effective as it also have many disadvantages, and many situations would make it fail. The difference between a successful and unsuccessful viral marketing campaign is the campaign’s ability to connect with audiences and persuade them to pass on the message and ultimately the product or service (Kirby, 2006, p.92).

Kirby (2006) recognizes that in order to increase the chances of a successful viral campaign many companies are starting to invest more into the planning and implementation of it. Freedman(2006) also believed that although many authors think that viral marketing can use a little budget to make a huge effect for a small company, the majority of the successful viral campaigns are rely on multimillion-dollar budgets.

2.8 病毒营销的发行——Viral Marketing Launching

Base on the positive and negative effects of viral marketing, how to make good use of it has become vital. A company can not make good use of a strategy unless it knows well that how the strategy works. The following area will focus on the operation of viral marketing and what a company should take care of when using it.

2.8.1 发行后的危险——Dangers after Launch

1. 控制——Control

Once viral marketing is released, it can not control by marketers, unlike television or print advertising. There is no guarantee viral marketing work or not when it starts, companies should be prepared to lost control of the message half way down the track (Ellison, 2006, p.32).

It is believed that consumers are the controller of the marketing communications as millions of consumers talking about products on internet or via emails (Allard, 2006. p.204). This view was support by Freedman (2006, p. 82) who suggested that the era that marketers control marketing message expand was gone.

It also found that the cost of last market coverage is a near total loss of control over the company's marketing message and brand because of eager consumers indiscriminately spam (Naylor and Kleiser, 2000). Viral marketing to be consider as an art by marketers because it does not allow for a high level of control, it need enough freedom and right to do the things by itself.

2. 病毒劫持——Viral Hijacking

Although viral marketing can make good use of consumers to expand a company’s brand and products, there still have many people who are “antibrand” on the internet, and they would catch the possible chances to turn viral marketing campaign against companies (Viral Challenge, 2005).

Sandoval (2006) believed that if the campaigns were hijacked, spreading messages would have negative effects to a company’s brand and products.

3. 垃圾邮件——Spam

Spam is “unsolicited email usually bulk mailed and untargeted” (Chaffey, Mayer, Johnston and Ellis-Chadwick, 2003). If the spam comes from companies, generally, receivers would delete it before open. Customers do not like to bother and waste time to see these emails.

However, if the marketing emails send by friends or people who receivers know, it seems no longer spam. An email come from your friends seems to be reliable. Viral marketing use friends to “spam” friends were considered working base on this reason. This view was supported by Chaffey et al. (2003), they argued that “spam does not mean that e-mail can not be used as a marketing tool”.

It seems that when a promotion starts to viral and use friends to spam friends, the emails being seen as spam are very low.

4. 隐私——Privacy

People do not like to receive the emails that without their permission. Some companies buy many email address in order to expand marketing information. People would feel very unhappy that the junk mails keep going into their email box. Thomas (2004) states that these actions violating the receivers’ privacy. No one likes junk mails to offend their privacy.

If use friends to friends emails, can avoid this problem. At the beginning of usage, viral marketing should take care of this.

5. 假病毒式广告——Fake Viral Adverts

Fake viral adverts are quite similar to viral hijacking. They are creating fake viral adverts when individuals un-associated with the targeted brand. This problem cause by the companies use the fake content, which they had no part in, it has the potential to destroy their brand (Graft, 2006). 索尼’s promotion about its playstation is a good example of fake viral adverts.
Base on these dangers after viral marketing launch, the viral marketing operation should be very careful. The things that a company need to do and avoid when they using viral marketing will be illustrated in the following parts.

2.8.2 需要做的事——Things should do

1. Supply customers with the right information to serve as your advocate. They cannot just be satisfied, they need to be informed about your value proposition—how you stack up against the competition—so they can tell others about you(Weinberger and Lepkowska-White, 2000).

2. Segment your customers and do small viral campaign tests on a targeted audience to find a scientific basis for what works best. Test your customers to see what they feel compelling; what promotion drives them to click-through or to pass along the message (Lau and NG, 2001).

3. Make good use of contests and promotions, especially in the B2C area. This will give consumers an incentive to pass along information about your Web site or products (Lau and NG, 2001).

4. Make your approach to be systematic. A viral campaign is a marketing strategy that should be integrated into your company's overall approach to marketing, not a one-time thing (Kirby, 2006).

5. Know well about your target audience. Take the time to learn what they like, do not like, and how they communicate (Bansal and Voyer, 2000). Such as the chat rooms of Myspace, it collect the users’ suggestions and supply what they want (Diving into the MySpace Pool, 2006).

6. Set up exit barriers. Collect all your customers’ information and make them easy to buy from you. Make it painful for your customers to leave. Maybe they have developed friends in a chat room on the site, or maybe they have loyalty to products or services (Modzelewski, 2000). For example, Myspace makes the users feel that they are belong to here, their friends also belong here, if they leave, they will no easy to contact with their friends. ( Hempel & Lehman, 2005)

7. Must being a Process

Because more and more people get their own e-mail box and allow sending e-mail, viral marketing will become more important and useful. This is because online consumers will, over time, expand their social network and become to rely more on their peers to learn about and recommend new products or services (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001). Therefore, viral marketing would need to become a process and cycle rather than an episodic.

2.8.3 需要避免的事——Things need to Avoid

1. Rely on incentivizing in the long-term. In the B2B area, no company wants to be paying your users to recommend it. Better to build customer loyalty through good value, excellent service, entertainment, or an emotional attachment (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2004).

2. Fail to measure your rates of customer advocacy. Assure that you have some systems in place to measure how often customers are communicating your business' value proposition, focus on your customers and how they interact with other potential customers (Shirky, 2000).

3. Spam. Viral campaigns that offer a prize to whoever sends the most e-mails wind up looking like spam. But friends don't spam friends. People do not like to receive spam; these actions would make them angry (Naylor and Kleiser, 2000).

4. Two Common Mistakes

Chen, Iyer and Padmanabhan (2002) suggested that there are two most common mistakes viral marketers like to make: (1) focusing on “formalizing the message” rather than the process” and (2) adopting a “campaign-level”, rather than an “enterprise-level”, perspective”.

Formalizing the message can easy to accepted by receivers and expand it fast. While formalizing the process can hold existing customers, make them more rely on their peers to learn about a product, and then the viral marketing can keep going to expand information.

A campaign-level perspective would focus on relatively unpredictable qualities, such as the customers’ perception of a service/product, or marketing message as attractive. In contrast, an enterprise-level perspective on viral marketing is informed by quantifiable and then predictable aspects of the sales cycle (Subramani and Rajagopalan, 2003).

2.8.4 金钱奖励——Money Incentives

Depending on many studies and researches on the impact of viral marketing, it is believed that the viral marketing strategy is hazily defined for most marketers but entails manipulating customer-to-customer interaction with marketing gimmickry in an attempt to achieve an exponentially growing user base (Weinberger and Lepkowska-White, 2000). Many marketers also argued that if consumers do not respond to clever marketing tactics, the cash and prize offerings will provide enough passion for consumers to spread the marketing message.

Monetary incentives are considered to be necessary because they offer what seems to be the quickest and most understandable way for marketers to gain that control in the customer-to-customer communication chain (Subramani and Rajagopalan, 2003). However, monetary incentives of viral marketing can be a dangerous solution. Because monetary incentives only lead to predictable increases in market coverage and an equally predictable loss of control, but no the control that company desired.

2.9 进行病毒营销并让他成功——Do Viral Marketing and Make It Success

2.9.1 鼓励C2C主张——Encourage C2C Advocacy

Nowadays, however, marketers have had difficulty reproducing the success of a handful of viral campaigns. Even though most e-businesses are planning to launch, or have already attempted launching the viral marketing campaigns, there are still having obstacles to integrating viral marketing with the overall sales and marketing mix (Kirby, 2006). For example, viral marketing is perceived as an art rather than a science. Marketers have a hard time identifying triggers that motivate customers to pass along marketing messages to friends or colleagues.
Most of marketers are planning to launch a viral marketing campaign in order to make the huge profits base on a little budget. In order to do it successfully, they must scientifically identify the elements which encourage customer-to-customer advocacy and segment their customers who are receptive to viral marketing and understand the structure of incentive packages (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2001).

All viral marketing purpose is to turn customers into a sales and marketing channel. The purpose of using the customer as a new channel is to generate a fundamental tradeoff between growing market coverage and maintaining control over the marketing message. The marketer who hope to be a winner, hope to hold the success in hand finally, must encourage customers to communicate with each other with the intent of advocating products and services(Subramani and Rajagopalan, 2003).

Hempel and Lehman (2005) have done a research about Myspace, they found that Myspace do a good job at C2C Advocacy. It sends emails to users which containing something interesting to them, and builds many blogs and chat rooms that people can communicate freely. Many funny video clips catch more users’ eyeballs and drive them to recommend these to their social network. However, base on Tafe’s (2007) research, even though Burger King built a wedsite where visitors can type commands into a text box, then watch a person in a chicken costume obey these commands, and this funny thing attract 224 million visit in 17 months, but this silly viral campaign hard to translate into actual sales. It seems that encourage C2C Advocacy can make a company like Myspace to be success but no the Burger King, as its viral campaign hard to translate into actual sales.

2.9.2 病毒营销的主动权——Initiatives of Viral Marketing

Viral marketing initiatives are different depend on the purpose that companies choose to use it. However, in the degree of discipline involved in strategic planning and in the triggers they use to motivate consumers to function as a sales- and lead-generation channel: (a) Disciplined analysis and planning ensures that viral marketing is an iterative science rather than a haphazard creative art; (b) Reliance on triggers that are developed through market research and advanced analytics, rather than reliance on cash incentives, ensures that customers function as advocates rather than as "delegated spammers." (Hennig-Thurau, Gwinner, Walsh and Gremler, 2004).

2.9.3 在线销售引擎——Online Marketing Engine

Furthermore, the online marketing environment must hardwire viral capabilities into its engine. Web sites must be equipped with tools that allow users who have just read an article or purchased a product to either post their opinions of the experience or forward related information to their network of friends and colleagues (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004).

There are many other tools that can build viral marketing capabilities into an online marketing engine, such as gift registries, gift certificates, community bulletin boards, community chat rooms, and 亚马逊.com-type affiliate marketing programs (Sudaraman, Mitra and Webster, 1999). Online self-service channels can also be equipped with resources such as product comparison tools to support the customer-as-sales-channel undertaking (Goldenberg, Libai and Muller, 2001).

2.9.4 六大原则和六大成功守则——Six Principles and Six Succeed Rules
According to the previous analysis, in order to solve the problems would face when using viral marketing and make a viral campaign success, there are six principles and six success rules of viral marketing need to focus on: 六大原则——Six Principles (Source from Wilson, 2000)

1. Gives away valuable products or services

"Free" is the most powerful word in marketers’ dictionary. Most of viral marketing programs are give away valuable products or services to attract customers’ attentions. They choose to use free programs like free e-mail or free software download to catch the customers’ eyeballs. This can generate a groundswell of interest from customers. Catch the eyeballs can bring huge profits in the future. So they choose to give away something now and sell something in other time (Lau and NG, 2001).

2. Provides for effortless transfer to others

Public health nurses offer an advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, wash your hands often, and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread when they're easy to transmit (Weinberger and Lepkowska-White, 2000). In order to be successful, the medium that carries marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate. Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. It can be transmitted easily and without degradation.

3. Scales easily from small to very large

The transmission method which can spread like wildfire must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. If the virus multiplies only to kill the host before spreading, nothing is accomplished (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2004). So long as companies which use viral marketing strategy have planned ahead of time how they can make the messages pass from one customer to another faster. They must build in scalability to their viral model.

4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors

Take advantage of common human motivations is what a smart viral marketing plan wants to be. Desire and greed drives people to pass and get messages. This leading to communicate produces millions of websites and e-mail messages. To be a winner, a company should design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission.

5. Utilizes existing communication networks

Most people are social, except the nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science grad students. Social scientists show that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates (Hogan, Lemon and Libai, 2001). The broader network may consist of hundreds, or thousands of people, depending on his position in society. Network marketers have known well about the power of these human networks, both the strong, close networks and the weaker networked relationships. Place messages into existing communications between people, then you rapidly multiply its dispersion (Modzelewski, 2000).

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