Weekly Column: 2017-01-13

PSY’s “Gangnam Style” is a YouTube legend that has broken records and exceeded 2.7 billion views to date. At first, it was uploaded on YouTube primarily to share with the Korean audience, but as the music video is light and funny to fit the tastes of many in a way that other singers did not try, its popularity exploded with the force of a nuclear storm. Although many dismissed it as an accidental success, it is a good example of what you can do with fresh and original content. It differs from others while keeping up with the times; you can cause a big influence. 

In actuality, PSY was not aiming for this kind of huge reaction when he was trying out different approaches. However, as online media develops, people naturally express their reactions to something they see, and through word-of-mouth, it reaches thousands and even millions of people. This is the definition of viral marketing, which is a new term that combines “virus” and “oral” together to spread information and contents quickly like a virus through word-of-mouth. If something spreads through word-of-mouth on the internet, we call it online marketing.

Recently, viral marketing, which spread publicity and images of products and services, like a virus, is attracting attention with the rapid development of the internet and digital media. It is firmly established as a new marketing tool that effectively promotes products and services, especially as consumers are influenced by other consumers. They are induced to voluntarily promote products and services by producing highly reliable contents.

However, even if you market through viral marketing, there is no guarantee that it will automatically start spreading. There must be “value” in order to spread. No one wants to share information with others that isn't fun or interesting. Therefore, many businesses are attempting viral marketing with events, but if the content does not stand out, they are ignored by the consumers. 

So in order to draw the consumers’ attention and be acknowledged as having value, the contents must be attractive and contain new ideas that go beyond expectation. To increase the probability of success, you must have current knowledge and information to understand what would interest consumers. If you focus only on getting attention by being quirky or using sensational material, it may become the topic of interest, but it can also produce the side effects of anti-marketing. Only through materials and ideas that are quirky but not showing signs of trying too hard will the consumers relate to and be supportive of. 

Once you attract the interest of consumers by inducing their curiosity through various viral marketing and motivation, you can maximize the effect by enabling communication among consumers and link them to other forms of marketing. New and fresh contents can activate the effects of viral marketing rather than going for a direct approach in your message. 

The consumers’ decisions cannot be bought by anyone. Through producing the best publicity and attractive contents, based on trust, principles, and, authenticity in viral marketing, you can move the hearts of consumers.