Thursday, December 12, 2019

Impact of Viral Marketing on Decision Making Process of Consumers

Question: Describe about the impact of viral marketing on decision making process of consumers. Answer: Chapter 1: Introduction The marketing is an innovative process to influence the purchase behaviors of the consumers. One of the innovative ways of marketing is the viral marketing (Lu et al. 2013). The decision making process of the consumers can be influenced by viral marketing. This research proposal aims to identify the consequences of the viral marketing on the decision making behaviors of the customers. 1.1 Research Aims and objectives To understand the concept of viral marketing To critically analyze the impacts of viral marketing To evaluate the factors of consumer decision making process To determine the relationship between viral marketing and decision making process 1.2 Research questions What are the positive impacts and negative impacts of viral marketing? What is the importance of consumer decision making process in purchase decisions? What is the relationship between viral marketing and consumer decision making? How can the decision making process can be influenced by viral marketing? 1.3 Project Plan Weeks 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Project Milestones Research Objectives Research questions Literature Review Research outcome Research Process Data collection process Data analysis Ethical Consideration Fig: Gantt chart Source: Created by author Chapter 2: Literature Review 2.1 Meaning of viral marketing The marketing techniques that utilize the existing social networks as well as other technological advancements to increase the brand awareness or any other marketing purpose is known as viral marketing (Kirby 2012). The process is a replica of the viral processes, which are identical to the spread of computer virus or malware. This is the reason behind the terminology of viral marketing. The aim of this type of marketing is to formulate viral marketing campaigns, which is appealing to the target audience (with high social networking potential). The marketing messages that reach such individuals have the highest probability of further spreading in their known circles within a short period (Aslay et al. 2015). The viral advertisements are paid by a sponsor company, which are published either on their websites or a social media network (like Youtube or Facebook). The consumers get access to the link of the page displaying the viral advert from a social network and enjoy the privilege of copy the advert. The copied advertisement can be passed along through sharing channels like the blog, social media webpage, and a web page (Aslay et al. 2015). The internet is the primary agent for the fast transmission of viral marketing. The internet and the social media websites help the consumers to share content with their acquaintances at lightning speed (Aslay et al. 2015). The advertisement message should be capable enough to catch the attention of the audience. For example, it should be appealing, attractive, worth sharing, good content so that it gains attention easily. 2.2 Methods of viral marketing The viral marketing is a wide concept, which can be used in a variety of forms. The marketing message may be transmitted in the form of interactive Flash games, video clips, ebooks, text messages, webpages, and emails (Grifoni D'Andrea and Ferri 2013). The mobile devices are also one of the most common forms of transmission of the viral advertisements. The other common methods of promotion of viral adverts are- Web search engines, smartphone integration, blogs, radio, television, search engine optimization (SEO), direct marketing, print advertisements, e-polling services and others (Khan and Siddiqui 2013). 2.3 Benefits of viral marketing The viral marketing has many benefits from the concerned organizations point of view. It provides remarkable growth of the company in a short span of time. The company gathers an enhanced list of dedicated customers as well the referral customers. The brands enjoy a greater visibility in the market, and a buzz is created around the products or services of the company (Howeidi and Nguyen 2016). The viral marketing is financially profitable for the concerned company as it cuts down the promotional expenses to a great extent. This is because the advertisement is spread through the referrals of the existing customers. A large audience can be reached by this method of advertising, which automatically reduces the cost of the marketing campaign. 2.4 Meaning of decision making of customers The decision making process of consumers involves the mental steps they undergo during the purchase of products or services. It involves the factors, which involves the selection and acceptability of a product or a service (Solomon 2014). The decision pattern of the consumers is not always constant. There are deviations in the consumer behavior, which is dependant on the product type, purchasing stage of the consumer, purchasing parity and the financial well-being of the consumer (ButkeviÄ ienÄ— StravinskienÄ— and RÃ…Â «telionienÄ— 2015). The decision making of the consumers undergoes five major stages such as need recognition, searching of information, alternatives evaluation, purchase process and the post purchase behavior. 2.5 Factors affecting decision making of customers There are four different types of factors that influence the decision making the behavior of the customers (Haghighi et al. 2012). They are- Cultural, Social, Psychological and Personal factors. The cultural factors are important for understanding the behaviors and needs of the consumers. The consumers are influenced by friends, family and the cultural environment in which he is exposed to. It is important for a brand to understand the predominant cultural factors in a market. The understanding of the cultural factors would help the company to customize its products and adapt the marketing strategy. The social factors are also important from a marketers point of view (Haghighi et al. 2012). The brands have to identify their social benefit offered by the particular products. The brands can target distinguishable social classes like actor, musician, celebrity, politician and others to spread the purchase and use of the product. The psychological factors revolve around the perception, m otivation, attitudes and beliefs of the target audience (Newell Lagnado and Shanks 2015.). These factors shape the decision making process regarding a particular product or service and it changes from one individual to the other. The personal factors like the way of life, the standard of living, age, purchasing power, lifestyle and personality are important determinants of the decision making the process of the consumers. The marketing concern should take care of these four factors, which directly influence the decision making patterns of the customers. 2.6 Relationship between viral marketing and decision making The viral marketing has a significant impact on the purchase decision making of the consumers (Czinkota and Ronkainen 2012). The viral marketing is the key to the success of many business entities, especially the electronic businesses. The viral campaigns, as compared to traditional marketing techniques, have proved to affect the way the consumers formulate their decisions (Gensler et al. 2013). There are different stages of consumer decision making process and the effect of viral marketing can be observed in each of these stages (Andersson 2015). The awareness stage of the decision making process implies that the viral marketing can be used to impart initial knowledge about a product to the consumers (Mohr 2014). The interest stage of the decision making process implies that the viral marketing can be utilized to impart more knowledge about the product and the brand, as a part of the promotional strategy. The evaluation stage of the decision making process implies the growing role of the contents and design of the viral marketing on the consumers. The viral adverts are said to come with value offerings to the consumers (Alsubagh 2015). The success of the previous steps leads the purchasing behavior in consumers. Chapter 3: Research Methodology 3.1 Research outcome The outcomes of this study are expected to deliver an analytical framework for the purpose of investigation of the impacts of the viral marketing on the consumer decision making process. This study would help the marketing concerns to formulate suitable strategies for the maximization of the effect of viral marketing and greatly influence the consumer decision making process. 3.2 Research Process The research process would consist of the identification of the problem, review of literature, clarification of the problem, 3.3 Data Collection Process The theoretical framework of the study was carried out through the investigation as well as research in the relevant literature in journals, books and literary works that directly relate to viral marketing and the purchase decision patterns of the consumers (Jrn Nielsen and Hjrland 2014). A questionnaire was also designed fulfilling the scientific standards of the studies (Williams 2015). The segments that were reflected in the questionnaire were viral marketing, factors affecting decision making of consumers and impact of viral marketing on purchase decisions of the consumers. 3.4 Data analysis The researcher would adopt two types of data analysis- quantitative data analysis and qualitative data analysis. The qualitative data would make use of surveys, observations and online forums. The quantitative data would be analyzed by pie charts, excel sheets, figures, mathematical tools and statistical modeling (Riff Lacy and Fico 2014). The qualitative data would also be analyzed with the help of literature review (Grbich 2012). 3.5 Ethical considerations The researcher should abide by the guidelines of ethical conduct of research for the truthful achievement of the research objectives (London Kimmelman and Carlisle 2012). The researcher should avoid forcing any participant in the data collection process. The researcher should ensure the privacy of the shared information. 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