A friend tells you about the new range of food processors from a well known manufacturing company so the next time you are at the mall, you are going to be tempted to check it out. Word-of-mouth publicity is the oldest form of social network marketing and the internet is only helping it grow at a global scale. According to eMarketer.com, 37% of all American Adult internet users along with 70% of online teens are involved in each month.
If these figures are anything to by, it is also predicted that by 2011, social network marketing will span at least half of all online
adults and the online teens contribution is likely to go up to 84%! No big surprise here that the marketing arm of all major companies are keenly following this trend and investing in seriously. In fact, according to eMarketer.com, $920 million has already been spent in 2007 on this form of marketing and the social network marketing industry is likely to see an influx of $1.6 billion in 2008!
Viral or social network marketing is a strong force and has some core characteristics which make it formidable:
1) direct communication between users
2) ability to spread a good word fast
3) offers instant information by way of hyperlinks which results in quick re-action
4) ability to go to the right demography right away
5) cost per person approached is lower than direct marketing
6) informal and easy-to-handle
7) suitable for new product launches
8) many networks like Orkut, Facebook, Squidoo, etc available for social network marketing
However, this form of online marketing is not suitable for all products and services. Custom services tend to feel shortchanged when utilizing viral marketing as users want a defined product of service to capture their imagination. The statistics stand in favor of social network marketing and it is likely that this is going to gain maturity and morph into a mainstream marketing activity in the near future.
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