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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


Viral Marketing

malcolm gladwell s best seller
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
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
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
examples intentional and unintentional
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)
more examples of buzz gone wild
More examples of buzz gone wild
  • JenniCam
  • Razor scooters
  • Harry Potter books
  • Wii Fit
  • YouTube
  • MySpace, Facebook
  • Blogs, blogging, the blogosphere
methods and techniques
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
malcolm gladwell s notion of tipping points
Malcolm Gladwell’s notion of “Tipping Points”
  • 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
tipping points continued
Tipping points--continued
  • 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
key influencers
Key influencers
  • 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
Other concerns
  • 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
Not that scientific

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