Bob Gerstley was among the first to write about algorithms designed to identify people with high "social networking potential." Gerstley employed SNP algorithms in quantitative marketing research. In 2004, the concept of the alpha user was coined to indicate that it had now become possible to identify the focal members of any viral campaign, the "hubs" who were most influential. Alpha users could be targeted for advertising purposes most accurately in mobile phone networks, due to their personal nature.
Your customers, prospects, and partners are the lifeblood of of your business. You need to build your marketing strategy around them. Step 1 of marketing is understanding what your customers want, which can be challenging when you’re dealing with such a diverse audience. This chapter will walk you through (1) the process of building personal connections at scale and (2) crafting customer value propositions that funnel back to ROI for your company.
Probably the largest and best known online affiliate program is the Amazon Affiliate program. You can see below that they have changed the name of the program to “amazon associates” because the word affiliate has earned a nasty reputation over time. This is primarily due to the tactics that individuals will deploy in order to earn cash when referring a product they don’t use.
A frequently used example of early viral marketing is Hotmail, the free web-based email service launched in 1996 that included in its users' outgoing messages an embedded advertisement and direct link inviting recipients to sign up for an account. This practice led to the fastest growth among user-based media companies at the time. Another example that illustrates how varied viral marketing can be is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The ice bucket challenge existed before The ALS Association utilized it to raise awareness and generate donations, but the massive dissemination on social media of ALS Ice Bucket videos created a worldwide sensation that not only increased ALS awareness tremendously, but also raised $115 million in donations to the Association in the summer of 2014 alone.
Most products are bought not because of the impact of ads alone but through word-of-mouth. If someone has bought a mobile phone and is happy with it, he or she is likely to tell it to at least 10-12 people about the merits of the product. This kind of marketing comes free for the company and in a way it is a reflection of the branding effort taken by the company.
Disney initially stated they wouldn’t exceed one million in donations, but ended up donating two million after the campaign blew up. #ShareYourEars campaign garnered 420 million social media impressions, and increased Make-A-Wish’s social media reach by 330%. The campaign is a powerful example of using an internet marketing strategy for a good cause. #ShareYourEars raised brand awareness, cultivated a connected online community, and positively affected Disney’s brand image.
Despite the proliferation of new media, marketers are increasingly finding it harder to reach the audience that matters to their brand. From a consumer's perspective, we are inundated with marketing messages which are completely irrelevant to us. Granted, progress has been made by media owners such as Facebook improving targeting of advertising, but it is still difficult to cut through the noise of competing brands.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.