Viral Marketing

Definition: Viral marketing is a concept which focuses on driving the attention of a mass audience towards the brand or product by delivering a strong message or story to the public. Such a marketing campaign when once launched is effortlessly promoted by the public itself on social networks or through word of mouth.

Viral marketing is majorly influenced by three elements:

  • The messenger who initiates the communication;
  • the message comprising of the information to be communicated;
  • the environment in which this message is delivered to the target audience.

When all the above criteria are efficaciously met, the viral marketing campaign is said to be successful.

Platforms like e-commerce including m-commerce are widely used to carry out viral marketing practices.

Content: Viral Marketing

  • Strategies
  • Campaign
  • Principles
  • Example
  • Types
  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  • Conclusion

Viral Marketing Strategies

Some consider it to be complicated, others feel it’s very expensive. However, if the companies design a proper viral marketing blueprint, it may remarkably increase the customer base.

For this, any or multiple of the below-given techniques can be followed:

Design Videos

A story or message conveyed through a video on youtube or other platforms can be easily shared and popularized on social media like Facebook, Twitter or Watsapp.

Give Away Free Beneficial Products or Services

One of the best ways to let the customers try out the products or services initially, the brand needs to provide it without any charges.

Social Outreach

A brand name can be strengthened if some of the leading industry experts share your story by themselves. For this, you may request suggestions and recommendations on your marketing campaign from these specialists.

Facilitate Downloading, Sharing and Embedding

The marketing campaign becomes effective only when vigorously circulates among the public. This can be done by enabling the quick download, sharing and embedding of the story on the various digital platforms.

Make Emotional Appeal

When a marketing campaign integrates with a social message or problem, it moves the audience sentiments, capturing their attention. Such messages or stories leave an indelible impression on the minds and hearts of the people.

Adopt the Right Channel

The company should be assured of whom it is planning to target, keeping in mind the age group, gender, location and needs of the prospective customers.

Create Something Exceptional

A concept previously used won’t help your campaign to retain the viewer’s attention. Therefore, a story should be such that it leaves the audience amazed, thoughtful or mesmerized.

Focus on Target Audience

The company needs to plan its viral marketing campaign from the audience’s point of view. Also, the story should be conveyed to the right people, so as to target the desired customer base.

Launch Series or Sequels

When people show a liking towards your campaign, don’t think that you have accomplished your goal. It is necessary to keep the audience engaged with the sequels of your marketing efforts.

Open up to Feedback or Comments

Social media platforms are highly interactive and provoke two-way marketing communication. Therefore, customer response acquired through comments, likes and shares, becomes a priority in every viral marketing campaign.

Effective Viral Marketing Campaign

A company launches a passive advertisement with a central focus on social concerns or strong message. Thus, a motivational or emotional story is framed and made available on various social platforms for the public to view.

When this marketing campaign is widely admired by the audience and they start sharing and responding to it immensely, then it is said to become viral.

Behind every successful marketing campaign, there is a whole team of innovative and visionary experts.

Viral Marketing Principles

Some of the most proficient campaigns of viral marketing are designed by keeping in mind the following attributes:

  1. Audience Engagement: It is imperative to grab the attention of the mass audience and connect with them to serve the purpose of the campaign.
  2. Originality: There should always be a ‘wow factor’ which differentiates your viral marketing campaign from all the others.
  3. Low Entry Barriers: For the success of the campaign, eliminating the barriers in public involvement becomes essential. Thus, multiple modes of access and audience participation should be facilitated.
  4. Well-planned Strategy: Every single marketing campaign is backed by a strategy directing all the elements towards the successful execution of the plan.
  5. Favourable Cause: Every viral marketing campaign is carried out with a strong purpose or reason. It can be anything like leaving the audience with a message; emotional influence; motivation; or chance to make or accept a change.
  6. Entertaining: The message should not be unnecessary lengthy or over-emphasized, since it may lose its essence. It should be funny, emotional or engaging in any other way.
  7. Press-friendly: The media is the best source to popularize anything. Therefore, the campaign should be strong enough to capture press spotlights.


HP’s ‘TuJashnBan’ campaign desired to attract the Indian audience is a perfect example of viral marketing. The idea was to promote the local Indian artisans which were conveyed through a beautiful poetry cum story featured on the Diwali festival. This video was captioned as ‘Umeed ka Diya’.

A woman street vendor gets disheartened when she is unable to sell the clay lamps.
Then a young boy buys some lamps from her and gives her hope that everything would be sold soon.

He clicks a picture of the lady and print posters on his HP printer. The poster displayed the woman’s image full of hope with a message, where the boy requested people to purchase clay lamps from the woman to make her Diwali prosperous.

This video was extensively shared on social networks and people were able to deeply connect with the sentimental message it delivered. It became viral in no time.

Types of Viral Marketing

There are multiple viral marketing methods for companies to choose from. The prominent kinds of viral marketing include:

Edgy Gossip

Every controversy creates a buzz leaving the campaign to become the talk of the town. Such gossips rapidly publicize to make the brand popular overnight.


This type of marketing style is highly applicable when the company aims to attract the audience of a particular community or belief. Since it initiates the circulation of the message from person to person.

Incentivized Viral Marketing

In this type of viral marketing practised by small organizations, the customer gets an additional discount or rewards when they provide the reference of someone from the company.

Undercover Marketing

The concept of undercover marketing is to share humour, news or idea to the audience without highlighting the brand.

Also, there is no appeal made to share or like such content, if people find it interesting, they would pass it on to their friends, family and others.

Emotional Viral Marketing

Most of the marketing campaigns influence the public extensively. Therefore, the audience-driven by their sentiments of love, anger, humour and worry, couldn’t resist from sharing the content.

User-managed Database

This a completely user-promoted campaign where they are asked to form their groups or communities. They need to maintain their database and add more users from their contacts to elongate this chain.

Viral Marketing Advantages

Who benefits from viral marketing?

The company, the public and the customers, all prosper from such campaigns.

On one hand, the organization fulfils its motive of brand recognition among the audience.

On the other hand, the public gets insight into the brand’s vision. And the customers attain knowledge about new products or services.

Let us now uncover the different advantages of viral marketing campaigns:

Non-invasive: A viral marketing campaign purely depends upon public acceptance. Therefore, the brand’s interference in controlling the campaign won’t work.

Cost-effective: A viral marketing campaign becomes the talk of the town due to the public sharing of the content. This reduces the cost of promotion or advertising significantly.

Credibility: When the public relates to the brand’s vision, they tend to develop loyalty towards the company, hence becoming the long-term customers.

Brand Building: With the introduction of a powerful message or an emotional content in the form of a story, helps the brand to connect with its audience. Thus, the public couldn’t resist themselves from sharing this story or talking about the brand.

Far-reaching: An advertisement video or story shared on Watsapp, Youtube, Facebook and other online platforms grab the attention of even the international audience without any additional expense.

Instantaneous: The story shared by the brand spreads rapidly among the audience in today’s digital era, making it popular overnight.

Target Audience: The prospective viewers include the wide scattered target audience in a viral marketing campaign. It thus increases the brand’s marketing horizon.

Viral Marketing Disadvantages

A viral marketing campaign should be well-structured, otherwise, it may backfire.

Given below are some of the significant drawbacks of such campaigns:

Repetitive Ideas Won’t Work: The concept once used may not influence the audience that much when reapplied, lacking the x-factor.

Difficult to Hold Control: It is almost impossible to keep command over a viral marketing campaign since it is promoted by the mass audience.

Require Professional Skills: It calls for a highly experienced and creative team since even the slightest of a mistake can washout the purpose of the whole marketing campaign.

Low Conversion Rate: The audience may be impressed by the story delivered in the campaign but most often it fails to leave a long-lasting impact on them. Thus, all prospective buyers may not be converted into loyal customers.

Difficult to Retract Campaign: Nothing is reversible or rectifiable in a viral marketing campaign. Therefore, once a story or message is communicated, it cannot be off-aired.

Negative Popularity or Buzz: Sometimes, the marketing campaign fails miserably, leading to the creation of a false brand image where the consumers hesitate to buy the company’s products or services.


Viral marketing is definitely more proficient and cost-effective than the old ways of promoting products or services.

It not only features social awareness, emotional bonding or humour; but also engraves a strong image in the minds of the viewers, who may also convert into loyal customers for the brand.

Viral Marketing
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