Especially in bad economic times, many companies strive for the best possible success with the lowest possible budget for marketing measures. A relatively new and previously unknown possibility is to market products using comments in blogs or forums. In this variant of viral marketing, an agency is usually charged with writing positively about a particular product or company in various blogs and forums. The primary purpose of this measure is to prevent potential customers from doubting. But how effective is this type of viral marketing, and what should you watch out for if your campaign does not harm your own business?
It is sometimes quite amazing how different a particular product can be read on the internet. While some comments are completely negative, other reviews of compliments are just so crowded. As consumers, these different opinions can lead to irritation. The new scam of the industry is criticized partly for this reason, in part violently. Consumers can no longer rely on users for more information since the introduction of new marketing measures on the Internet. After all, any criticism can be bought. But how did the companies come up with the idea of creating such viral marketing campaigns? The reason is probably primarily the many studies, which prove time and again that the opinion of customers in the many forums and blogs significantly contributes to the purchase decision.
Honest or purchased entry?
In contrast to the usually objectively written company slogans, interested users believe the opinions of other customers significantly more. Consumers should be convinced by the purchased comments and contributions to the quality of a particular product. A strategy that works! Viral marketing from the textbook. But how can an ignorant Internet user distinguish paid from honest opinions? Usually not at all. The creative agencies of the big advertising agencies usually formulate their comments in such a way that they can hardly be distinguished from honest customer opinion. Christian Jarchow from the market research company GfK comments on the subject as follows: “Opinion forums today influence every fourth online purchase”. The tendency is increasing, according to several experts.
Many companies already have the entries on the various opinion forums under scrutiny and write when several negative posts are written corresponding positive entries. Of course, they always make sure that the names are changed and that the frequency remains in an inconspicuous frame. Basically, viral marketing uses a well-known and popular scam: word-of-mouth.
From the top manufacturer to the scandal producer
An example from the USA shows what damage a company can suffer if it does not react accordingly to entries. Some time ago, a bicycle lock manufacturer suffered a huge loss of the image when a user posted a video on the web showing how a company lock could be opened using a pen. Many claims that the company is still struggling with the consequences today. If the company had responded adequately to the entries at that time and initiated a counter-campaign, the damage would probably have been much smaller. Instead, the video spread from a cycling forum, through large video portals to the New York Times. This example makes it clear once again what effects this “wildfire effect” can have.