Viral marketing has been defined as “the process of getting customers to pass along a company's marketing message to friends, family, and colleagues” (Laudon & Traver, 2001, p. 381). Similar to a virus, information about the company and its brand, product or services is transmitted to potential buyers who then spread the information along to other potential buyers in an exponentially growing way, often through the use of social media applications (Dobele, Toleman, & Beverland, 2005; Lindgreen & Vanhamme, 2005).
With the introduction of electronic media, these networks are created much more rapidly to assist the interconnections between firms and potential buyers (De Bruyn & Lilien, 2004; Gruen, Osmonbekov, & Czaplewski, 2006). The growth and evolution of internet, allows electronic peer-to-peer referrals as an important phenomenon, therefore marketers are recognizing this opportunity and are jumping on the viral marketing bandwagon. The goal of viral marketing is to make use of consumer-to-consumer (or peer-to-peer) communications to spread information about the product or service, which will lead to faster and cost effective adoption by the market (Krishnamurthy, 2001).
Adding on, with the endless development of technology, from the firm’s perception as well as brand awareness and communication, the power has shifted from a one-way communication to a two-way communication between company and customers. This whole new approach of a two-way communication has introduced the concept of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing (J. Larson, R. (2009):3). Moreover, according to Jure Leskovec, the increasing use of WOM has justify that it will affect the chances of consumer buying a product, from the feedback or information the customers gather from the reviews and experiences shared by other customers. (Leskovec, J., Adamic, L., & Huberman, B. (2007):4).
Word-of-mouth (WOM) can generally be described as the sharing of information about a product or services between a consumer and a friend or people they associate with (MarketingPower, 2010). With WOM, it is proven to be able to essentially influence the consumer’s perception and behaviours thus impacting the consumer buying decisions (Katz & Lazarsfeld, 1955). The reason for consumers to spread the information or message could be to help others and to enhance their own self-confidence in doing so (Phelps, Lewis, Mobilio, Perry, & Raman, 2004; Smith, Coyle, Lightfoot, & Scott, 2007). It can also act as an advice to the receiver, as it will help them in decision making (Smith et al., 2007). Thus when viral marketing campaign is executed effectively, it can create a rapid buzz in the publicity and marketing of the firm’s brands and products or services.
Viral Marketing to be successful
In order for the viral marketing campaign to be executed successfully, the development of the engaging campaign should encourage consumers to pass the message along. A successful campaign can catch the interest...