Analyzing the Forwarding Behavior in Mobile Viral Marketing: An Empirical Study

Analyzing the Forwarding Behavior in Mobile Viral Marketing: An Empirical Study

Dietmar G. Wiedemann (University of Augsburg, Germany), Tobias Haunstetter (University of Augsburg, Germany) and Key Pousttchi (University of Augsburg, Germany)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-074-5.ch020
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

As mobile devices are personal communication tools, they are platforms for word-of-mouth marketing. Mobile viral marketing is tremendously attractive for marketers but neglected by academic research. Surprisingly, relatively few studies are directed at its basic elements, i.e., directed at willingness to forward different mobile viral content, understanding characters of those who forward mobile viral content frequently, and characters of the recipients of this content. This chapter presents the findings of an online survey conducted to empirically investigate the consumers’ intention to forward different kinds of mobile viral content, to identify the primary target groups for the mobile viral marketing in terms of their forwarding behavior, and to analyze to whom mobile viral content is forwarded.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

Word-of-mouth (WOM) has been called the world’s most effective marketing strategy (Misner, 1999) and it refers to oral, person-to-person communication between a recipient and a communicator which the recipient perceives as a non-commercial message, regarding a brand, product, or service (Arndt, 1967). With mobile devices being viewed as personal communication tools, they can also be valuable platforms for WOM marketing (Bauer, Barnes, Reichardt & Neumann, 2005; Pousttchi & Wiedemann, 2006). We define mobile viral marketing as a concept for distribution or communication that relies on consumers to transmit content via mobile communication techniques and mobile devices to other potential consumers in their social sphere and to animate these contacts to also transmit the content. We further define such content as mobile viral content; it comprises mobile services or ads. Individuals transmitting mobile viral content are termed communicators whereas individuals receiving such content are termed recipients (Pousttchi & Wiedemann, 2007). In this chapter, we refer to mobile viral mavens as consumers who forward mobile viral content frequently and willingly.

Some studies (Barwise & Strong, 2002; Kümmerlein, 2002; “I-play,” 2005; “Intuitive Media Research Services,” 2006, see Section 2) have established that mobile viral marketing helps to extend substantially the number of recipients and that it boosts the impact of marketing communication at low company expense (Jelassi & Enders, 2004). For mobile business-to-customer services, mobile viral marketing reduces the cost of distribution as users become part of the firm’s salesforce. Therefore, mobile viral marketing is a powerful tool for promotion and distribution in business-to-customer mobile commerce. New entrants are particularly eager to attract customers as quickly as possible in order to reach the break-even point and to turn themselves into established players in mobile commerce. Mobile viral marketing is a suited strategy to cope with these challenges.

Despite mobile viral marketing’s usefulness for marketers, relatively few studies are covering its basic elements, i.e., mobile viral content and consumers engaged in mobile viral processes. Whereas the effectiveness of different types of content in mobile marketing campaigns without viral elements is receiving more and more attention in the literature (Barwise & Strong, 2002; Drosos & Giaglis, 2004; Deakins, Grandcolas & Rettie, 2005; Bauer, Barnes, Reichardt & Neumann, 2005; Heinonen & Strandvik, 2006), little is known about the effectiveness of mobile viral content. Such content may consist in e.g., a viral greeting call, a video clip or a recommendation for a Java-based client. A complete list of examples used for the purpose of this chapter is given in Table 2. We assume that consumers’ intention to forward mobile viral content varies across content categories because of different characteristics such as the forwarding mechanism and the customer’s involvement. Hence, for the marketer’s perspective it is vital to know which kind of mobile viral content is most effective in order to understand drivers of successful mobile viral marketing strategies. Targeting the right consumers is the key that triggers viral effects (Phelps, Lewis, Mobilio & Perry, 2004; Helm, 2000). Consequently, it is argued that identifying and addressing mobile viral mavens as initial contacts in the beginning of a mobile viral marketing strategy is an important success factor for mobile viral marketing (Pousttchi & Wiedemann, 2007). Otherwise, marketers will not be able to use the whole potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence (Wilson, 2000). Generally, with the help of one-to-one marketing (Peppers, Rogers & Dorf, 1999), a precise targeting of mobile viral mavens, e.g., by using push SMS is possible. However, in the current body of knowledge, limited research is available that focuses specifically on characteristics of mobile viral mavens. Moreover, we are interested in the recipients of the mobile viral content, especially in their relationship to the communicator.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Recipients: Are defined as individuals receiving mobile viral content.

Mobile Viral Content: Is content transmitted from a recipient to a communicator in mobile viral marketing.

Communicators: Are individuals transmitting mobile viral content.

Word-of-Mouth (WOM): Refers to oral, person-to-person communication between a recipient and a communicator which the recipient perceives as a non-commercial message, regarding a brand, product or service.

Mobile Viral Marketing Standard Types: Are typical mobile viral strategies varying in the role of communicator in persuasion (active or passive) and the level of network externalities (high or low).

Mobile Viral Mavens: Are consumers who forward mobile viral content frequently and willingly.

Mobile Viral Marketing: Is defined as a concept for distribution or communication that relies on customers to transmit content via mobile communication techniques and mobile devices to other potential customers in their social sphere and to animate these contacts to also transmit the content.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset