Although for many companies the internet has become a 'home' for running their full time business and advertising activities, there are many companies that still view the online advertising as a supplementary promotional tool. Many of the large brands run their web sites and do some product promotions and selling through the internet, though their main advertising and business activities are still carried out in the offline world. However, the Internet media is gaining more popularity among the large number of marketers and some companies make it a valid part of their IMC (integrated marketing communications). The peer to peer viral marketing has its share in the process.
The peer to peer viral marketing is a promotional strategy, which embodies the concept of making your consumers the advocates and spreaders of your advertising messages. It is a 'forward to a friend' sort of advertising. Although firstly this marketing technique was used as a secondary and supplementary product and brand promotional tool, now, on the contrary, many companies make it a valid part of their IMC and use it as kick offs for their advertising campaigns. The peer to peer viral marketing is quite able to create a 'buzz' for your ad messages even before they start their run on TV or in other media. A Budweiser's 'Whassup' viral online campaign is an excellent example of how the peer to peer viral marketing works. This online campaign kicked off the way before the trailers got to be shown on the TV, but they have already created much buzz in the online world.
The peer to peer viral marketing is a great tool for attaining a number of marketing and advertising goals, such as reaching well beyond your business' core target market, creating a buzz around your products and brands, reinforcing the existing advertising and branding messages, extending your other communication activities and providing a high level of advertising and the ROI measurement accountability.
There are three main elements of the peer to peer viral marketing: creative material or your advertising 'agents', seeding and tracking. There are many things that may serve you as your peer to peer viral marketing agents. Those are images, videos, funny stories or other texts, etc. The main thing is that they have to be able to communicate the essence of your ad messages to your target customers and make them want to pass them on.
The seeding of peer to peer viral marketing agents is mainly done through a 'forward to a friend' function, though before your ads reach a group of your target consumers, first they have to go through such mediators as website owners or search engines. You may use a search engine submission or mailing newsletters for distributing first copies of your ad agents.
Finally, peer to peer viral marketing campaigns provide advertisers with great opportunities for tracking and measuring the spread of their ad messages, as most search engines and websites grant advertisers with relevant online tracking tools.
All the above listed qualities of the peer to peer viral marketing make it a great promotional tool for increasing the customer awareness and for creating a positive buzz about your companies, brands and products.