Posts Tagged ‘Viral Communication’


Viral Marketing: the influence of email sources

In marketing on December 29, 2009 by Magnolia Tagged:

The type of the source of the viral message plays a fundamental role on an individual’s decision to open or not an email and her/his evaluation of the content of the viral message. The results of the research I undertook to analyze the phenomenon of viral marketing show important differences between personal and non-personal email sources:

The values of this table indicate the order of importance of the source of the viral marketing message. The most important sources are strong-tie sources such as friends and family. On the other hand, weak-tie sources such as companies and unknown people are ranked in the last positions by the respondents. Friends (0.72) are the most important source in order to open an email. They are followed closely by relatives (0.92). Colleagues (1.66) are the third most important source to open an email according to the respondents. Organizations and companies are placed fourth (2.73) and unknown people are the least important source in order to open an email (3.98).

My analysis of the influence of the sources of the viral marketing messages are mainly based on the investigations of Bruyn and Lilien (2008) and Crutzen and his colleagues (2008).

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Viral Marketing: Consumers’ motivations to forward emails

In marketing on December 17, 2009 by Magnolia Tagged:

Phelps and his colleagues (2004) examined interpersonal communication via email and the reasons why people send emails. They used different research techniques: focus groups (66 individuals in eight focus groups), content analysis of 1259 emails and in-depth interviews.

They found that messages that spark strong emotions -humour, fear, sadness, or inspiration- are likely to be forwarded. Emails which contain information and relevant data about important events (warning, crime), and good causes are frequently forwarded and, also, opened by the receivers.

Other findings of this study were the principal reasons why people send emails. These researchers classified the reasons why consumers pass along emails into four categories: enjoyment and entertaining, relax, keeping in touch with people and helping other people.

Based on the findings of Phelps and his colleagues I undertook a research on consumers motivations to forward email messages. I carried out a survey  to evaluate how consumers rate the content of the emails in order to pass along these messages.  The results of this survey are as follows:

The chart above indicates the order of preference of the email contents according to the respondents of the survey. Emails perceived by the respondents as ‘important’ are the most likely to be opened. The second email content most likely to be opened is ‘funny’ emails, which are followed very closely by entertaining emails (third). ‘Helpful’ emails are ranked by the respondents as the fourth type of content most likely to be opened. The fifth email content most likely to be opened is ‘exciting’ emails. Finally, ‘relaxing’ emails are ranked by the respondents as the last type of email contents in order of preference.


Phelps, J., E., et al, 2004. Viral Marketing or Electronic Word-of-Mouth Advertising: Examining Consumer Responses and Motivations to Pass Along Email. Journal of advertising research. December, pp. 333-348


Viral Marketing Communication

In marketing on December 1, 2009 by Magnolia Tagged:

In Boase and Wellman (2001) state that there are several similarities between biological virus and viral marketing. In both cases the diffusion depends on networks rather than growing in situ. They concluded that the spread of virus and viral marketing are shaped by the nature of interpersonal relationships and the structure and composition of the interpersonal networks.

Viral marketing as virus can be spread according to two archetypes: densely knit groups and ramified networks (Boase and Wellman 2001).

Viral Communication Model

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