Encouragement Award

Another quick ramble, this time about viral marketing. Specifically, the usual definition I read which is about “encouraging consumers to spread content among their social networks”.

Please tell me how one would “encourage consumers” to do so? Having a button that says “Send to a friend” is not encouragement (does anyone even click those things anyway?). I suppose disabling embedding might be an example of discouragement but I’m failing to see how marketers can actually encourage consumers to spread content. Incentives might be one way but can’t think of a decent example that actually worked without the person looking like a complete sell out.

The only thing that encourages consumers to spread content is social currency, and that comes from remarkable content. I think I’ll categorise this post with the rest of my rants about wanky marketing terms.

No Comments
  • Nathan Bush
    Posted at October 26, 2009 5:54pm, 26 October Reply

    Doesn't always have to be monetary or physical. Generally, high involvement social contributors have large egos. Making someone feel important by giving them access that no one else has, give them content before it goes "to the public" or customise it for them. Make it relevant and enhance their ego and there's a good chance they will spread the content.

  • Tannie
    Posted at October 27, 2009 7:53am, 27 October Reply

    As Nathan said encouragement isn't just about physical reward.

    Think about it, if there is content that if you share it your friends will go 'great vid' and praise you for sharing it. THe creation of content that ranks at that level would be considered encouraging consumers to share for the return of peer praise.

  • Daniel Oyston
    Posted at October 27, 2009 9:09am, 27 October Reply

    @Tannie that is true but the opposite is also a possibility and is often why I couldn’t be arsed sending great content on unless I am 99% sure my friends haven’t seen it.

    Too many times I send something on only for a few wankers to write back and say “oh that went around months ago!”

    Yeah great. Thanks for that. Just delete it then. I don’t need a comment back telling me how “behind the ball I am”. In fact, I think “why the fuck didn’t you send it to me ‘months ago’ then?”

  • Stan Lee
    Posted at October 27, 2009 7:37pm, 27 October Reply

    "The only thing that encourages consumers to spread content is social currency"

    Says who? Where did you find this stat?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 27, 2009 7:46pm, 27 October Reply

    @ Stan

    We both know I don't live in a world of stats. Can you prove me otherwise?

  • Stan Lee
    Posted at October 30, 2009 4:30pm, 30 October Reply

    Can't prove otherwise because I don't even know what social currency is.

    How can you use terms like that yet not even know the difference between above and below the line?

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 30, 2009 7:42pm, 30 October Reply

    "Social currency" actually has relevance, not a wanky marketing term agencies use to define themselves. ;]

  • Marek
    Posted at November 3, 2009 1:48am, 03 November Reply

    I'll preface my comment with it's late so I hope what i write here makes sense…

    Isn't the above quoted line simply saying, hey – "this thing we want to design, build, do will tap into a consumer insight we have that motivates them to share".

    This thing could be a share button, it could be facebook connect interface, it could an old school email to a friend. The content could be something as simple as dogs sticking their heads out of a purple ferrari which taps into my desire to laugh, feel warm inside and then share that with my friends not so that they feel the same way but rather know I am cooler than them cos i found the video first. They'll response with something like "you advertising types always find the cool videos, don't you ever do any work" and I would have therein seeded content with my networks through encouragement of tools & content.

    Think a little deeper. Find a consumer insight. Or better yet read up about digital interaction and consumer cult psychology and you'll see why this digital buzz word can have effect.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at November 3, 2009 1:54am, 03 November Reply

    Interesting Marek. Perhaps there is an idea around not understanding why some content is remarkable, but rather would someone would make a remark about it?

  • Marek
    Posted at November 3, 2009 3:03pm, 03 November Reply

    Simply yes.
    It's about 2 things.
    1. Making something that is not only worth sharing, but also motivates people to share.
    2. having tools built in to make that call-to-action, actionable.

    Like the Sony Bravia Playstation 3 Test Crash video that got a million hits in 3 days.

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