1. Plant the Right Seeds if You Want Your Marketing Content to Go ViralQ marketingwhiteboard. comViral content is an important goal of most content marketing strategies because of the enhanced reach and word-of-mouth it provides marketers.As part of a book I'm writing on content marketing,I recently came across research published in the Journal of Marketing* comparing the effectiveness of different seeding strategies in promoting the viral spreading of marketing content.The two most effective seeding strategies included exposing customers linked to many other customers (high-degree) and exposing customers who serve as a link between other customers (highbetweeness) with marketing content.These two seeding strategies were equivalent to each other in effectiveness but outperformed both a random seeding strategy by 200% and a low-degree seeding strategy by 800%.The results also showed that,in general,recently acquired customers are more active than older customers in the sharing of marketing content with other customers. These findings have important implications for content marketing:Making Marketing Go Viral Requires a Strategic MindsetThe research findings demonstrate that whether or not marketing content goes viral is not random.It depends upon marketers exposing certain customers to content early in the distribution of the content.These customers include those who are well connected to others and those customers who serve as a bridge connecting other customers.Marketers must understand the social links between customers in order to know which customers are well connected or serving as a bridge connecting other customers.The information needed to identify these customers can be found in many accessible sources.Industries like telecommunications and banking that track exchanges between customers can use this information in identifying the nature of a customers connections with other customers.Also,company operated community forums provide insight into the connections between customers and can help marketers identify customers that can be helpful in promoting the sharing of marketing content.The point is to be strategic in exposing your content to customers if you want to increase the odds of the content going viral. View the Value of a New Customer from a Network PerspectiveIt's generally cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one.While true,it ignores the fact that new customers might provide more ways to grow revenue that existing customers as pointed out in the research discussed earlier.The research found that newly acquired customers are more likely than existing customers to share marketing content with others.As a result,the value of a new customer is not only related to the purchases they make but also to the purchases they promote by sharing marketing content with other customers.This requires not stopping and celebrating your success simply because you acquired a new customer.Instead,marketers must continue and market content to new customers so that they can share it with others.Taking this network view of a new customer allows marketers to maximize the return on their customer acquisition programs and the marketing content they use in the process. Please share this content with someone who will benefit from the information! *Hinz,Oliver,Bernd Skiera,Christian Barrot,and Jan U.Becker (2011),Seeding Strategies for Viral Marketing:An Empirical Comparison, Journal of Marketing,75(4),55-71.
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