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TIPPING POINTS. Viral Marketing . Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller. Thomas Schelling (Nobel Prize winner) first introduced the concept of “tipping points” in 1972 Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept in his best seller . Downside of traditional marketing/advertising. Cost:

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Tipping points l.jpg

TIPPING POINTS

Viral Marketing


Malcolm gladwell s best seller l.jpg
Malcolm Gladwell’s best seller

  • Thomas Schelling (Nobel Prize winner) first introduced the concept of “tipping points” in 1972

  • Malcolm Gladwell popularized the concept in his best seller


Downside of traditional marketing advertising l.jpg
Downside of traditional marketing/advertising

  • Cost:

    • TV and print ads are expensive

  • Media clutter:

    • It is difficult for products to stand out against the background of advertising

  • Cynicism:

    • Consumers, especially Gen X and Gen Y consumers, are jaded and cynical about “obvious” marketing

  • TIVO, DVRs:

    • Consumers can avoid TV commercials altogether

  • Segmentation:

    • Consumers aren’t heterogeneous, they are segmented into different markets


Viral marketing l.jpg
Viral Marketing

  • Steve Jurvetson and Tim Draper coined the term “viral marketing” in 1997.

  • a.k.a. below the radar marketing, buzz marketing, stealth advertising

  • Relies on word-of-mouth (WOM) endorsements

    • like a virus, word about a product or service spreads from one consumer to another


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Examples, intentional and unintentional

  • Live Strong bracelets (and the whole wrist band craze)

  • Ipods, Iphones

  • accessory dogs

  • “Support Our Troops” stickers

  • Juicy Couture handbags

  • Hip Hop (culture as a commodity)


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More examples of buzz gone wild

  • JenniCam

  • Razor scooters

  • Harry Potter books

  • Wii Fit

  • YouTube

  • MySpace, Facebook

  • Blogs, blogging, the blogosphere


Methods and techniques l.jpg

Poseurs: “ordinary person at a bar, in line at a concert, at a soccer field

Sony Ericcson hired 120 actors and actresses to play tourists at popular attractions around the country.The “tourists” asked passersby to take their picture with a T68i cell phone that featured a digital camera

Trendsetters and early adopters

Use of “cool hunters” and “trend spotters”

Imitation, social modeling

yellow magnetic ribbons saying “Support the Troops”

Email, chat rooms, and blogs

Manufactured controversies:

Ambercrombie & Fitch sold thong underwear in children’s sizes, with the words “eye candy” printed on the front

Methods and techniques


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Malcolm Gladwell’s notion of “Tipping Points” at a soccer field

  • Tipping point:

    • the threshold or critical point at which an idea, product, or message takes off or reaches critical mass.

  • Viral theory of marketing:

    • ideas and messages can be contagious just like diseases

  • The law of the few

    • It doesn’t take large numbers of people to generate a trend

    • A select few enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence over the spread of social trends


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Tipping points--continued at a soccer field

  • The stickiness factor

    • idea, message, or product has to be “sticky” or inherently attractive

    • idea must be memorable, practical, personal, novel

    • hard to manufacture this feature

  • Power of context

    • must happen at the right time, place

    • for example, social networking (MySpace, Facebook) wouldn’t be possible without widespread access to the Internet

    • rule of 150: Groups grow too large and loose cohesion at 150


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Key influencers at a soccer field

  • Connectors: know everybody, are networkers, have many contacts

    • “Connectors are social glue: they spread it.” (Gladwell)

    • Have large social circles

  • Mavens: possess information, expertise, and seek to share it

    • “Mavens are data banks. They provide the message” (Gladwell)

    • Are “in the know”

  • Salesman: are persuasive

    • Charismatic types

    • Often rely on “soft” influence

  • Note: All three types are needed for a phenomenon to take-off


Other concerns l.jpg
Other concerns at a soccer field

  • Scalability: message must be able to go from very small to very large without “gearing up.”

    • Wii couldn’t ramp up manufacturing and lost millions in sales.

  • Effortless transfer: message must be passed on for free, or nearly free, or “coast” on existing networks.


The downside l.jpg

Not that scientific at a soccer field

evidence is largely anecdotal

phenomenon isn’t that reliable, predictable

A bit of a “finger in the wind” approach to marketing

viral marketing” is something of an oxymoron.

The more viral marketing is planned or contrived, the less likely it is to succeed;

Momentum may not reach the tipping point

no guarantee the initial “buzz” will become contagious.

difficult to orchestrate word of mouth

Trends come and go quickly

like a contagion, a trend can die out quickly or be replaced by a new trend

The downside


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