five thoughts on peer to peer (viral) marketing

Network_p2pwhilst there aren’t rules per se, and the way a brand creates viral – or what I’d suggest we term peer to peer marketing – will vary depending on the market, brand, and most significantly the target audience; there are some general principles that I think are pertinent:

one – motivation

the consumer’s motivation to pass on will always be grounded in what’s in it for them, this can be one of a variety of things…

> credibility – getting kudos for finding something first, the act of passing it on is implicit proof of this

> financial reward – people who do something as a result of you passing something on earns the sender a reward (many online promotions work like this)

> exclusivity – you could famously only join Gmail if you were asked to join by an existing member

the rule of thumb therefore is don’t create peer to peer marketing material on your terms, but on consumers’  …what’s in it for them?

two – mechanism

consider how the material will be seeded, received, consumed and passed on…

> seeding / receiving – who are you originally sending it to and how?  material that comes from a known source will have more credibility

> consumption – is it easy and quick to access the material?

> passed on – is it easy and quick to pass it on? – remember consumers are time poor and information heavy

facilitate the spread – minimise viral file size (or host remotely) and allow forwarding easy

three – methodology

historically – viral comms were spread via the garden fence; communities were geographically limited

with the advent of tintinet – it became possible to quickly reach a multitude of people very quickly (exponential spreading of material)

more recently the creation of hosting platforms has attracted attention – eg MySpace, YouTube… which has meant that material is hosted independently of the viral location of it (ie it’s the link that’s viral – the content is hosted by an aggregator eg YouTube)

so… consider where and how you choose to host – it will convey independence (or otherwise), but this will have consequences for the extent to which – as creator – you are given credit

four – contemporacy

novelty value – if it or it’s like has been seen before, it will be less likely to be passed on

currency – easier to spread if its grounded in current affairs or the zeitgeist

reportage – ideal is to get established media to report the activity – such breakthroughs are rare but massively extend the reach of the viral as well as convey credibility and ‘buzz’

make it relevant to something beyond the current state and needs of your brand

five – measurement

whatever you’re putting out there, make sure you keep track of what’s happening to it

who’s getting it, who’s passing it on, who comments? – technorati, delicious and blogpulse all can help brands do this

Host the content somewhere where there is inbuilt measurement (YouTube, MySpace etc)

basically… don’t send off all you hard work into the ether without tying a lead on it first

One response to “five thoughts on peer to peer (viral) marketing

  1. When thinking of a viral campaign, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your potential market before you can completely sculpt an idea. Make sure that your campaign is going to click with the right people. Do some surveys to make sure.

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