Viral vs. Interruption Marketing

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Many people have a distorted view of what viral marketing really is. Some people believe that viral marketing is interruption marketing attached to a viral gimmick.

One example of this is to create outrageous video clips and then tack on a sponsor's logo at the end of the clip. When people see the videos, they find them funny or outrageous, and send them to their friends.

This has been described as viral marketing, but it's really a poor implementation of viral marketing concepts. It is actually interruption marketing, because the logo at the end of the video is just another billboard ad or another television- like ad inserted at the end of the interesting video.

This is not viral marketing. It is interruption marketing that simply has a curious word of mouth popularity factor.

True viral marketing is where your product, service or information is û in and of itself û interesting enough for people to share with others or that the very use of your product or technology results in viral marketing taking place.

Hotmail is a classic example of a successful viral marketing system. When people use the product and send e-mail to others, a small advertisement for Hotmail is attached to the bottom of the e-mail, telling people they can get a free e-mail account at Hotmail.com.

The person sending the e-mail with Hotmail is demonstrating the use of the product while simultaneously making you aware that you could be using the same product at no charge. That's viral marketing.

Mike Adams is Cody, WY-based president/CEO of Arial Software LLC, a developer of e-mail marketing automation software in Tucson, AZ. He is also author of "Permission Wave," a book on advanced permission-based e-mail marketing. Reach him at mike.a@arielsoftware.com.

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