A reaction to rants about Viral Marketing

April 16, 2008

I found an interesting post on viral marketing in thereeladdict.com .

” I like the idea behind, but what I’m baffled about is the financial angle. I can’t really see this kind of approach actually wooing over any fence-sitters. Don’t get me wrong, viral marketing is neat in theory, if not in financial practice. It seems to be an intention on the part of studios to reward – in a high creative way – those who invest heavily in an upcoming release, catering to that investment by creating additional ways to immerse oneself in one’s own anticipation and the universe of the film. That’s exactly what makes no sense to me though. Let’s face it. I imagine most of the people who are getting involved with these campaigns are obsessive film geeks like myself. In other words, an audience that is pretty much a guaranteed ticket from the earliest stages of development of a film (like THE DARK KNIGHT). From a business point of view, what’s the point of investing money in catering to an audience that already wants to see your film?”

My comment:

Perhaps the problem is that viral marketing becomes an end in itself. We market to be talked about, but really at the end of the day, it’s all about whether the target individiual actually buys the service, product or idea. Buzz for the sake of buzz is just that, publicity and not really marketing. It’s hard to measure the effectiveness of a viral campaign, although I am led to believe that it can at the least increase traffic. If you increase traffic and have people talk about you, but you still don’t sell, then there must be something wrong in the marketing message in itself. All actors have a stage presence, but not everybody gets the Award. Just like on the net, you may have a presence, but it doesn’t always mean anything. For certain products or services too, they don’t start with the audience, consumer already liking the product — so viral marketing may be necessary. Also, it is quite important to tailor the campaign specifically to the product’s objectives and needs.


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