Marketing approaches and directions are changing over time with the environmental effects (Gulbahar and Yildirim, 2015). Hence, to overcome the shortcoming related to the present procedure of marketing as respects to dispersion channel and promotion; there is a requirement for other marketing technique (Vize et al., 2016).
During the 1980s classical marketing faced problems that could not be solved by the implementation of the usual marketing activities. Traditional marketing rested upon traditional marketing instruments.
The 1980s saw a rapid expansion of competitors on the market and the market underwent an abrupt change. It was therefore necessary to redefine marketing and enable the continuation of its development through the invention of new courses of action and new instruments (Tiganj and Aleric, 2012).
Marketing such as digital marketing has brought many new opportunities and tools to the forefront of event marketing that include social media, email marketing, blogs, SEO and video marketing (Geraghty and Conway, 2016).
More and more companies today are selling their products and services directly to customers without intermediaries and are thus identifying new prospects through a process called direct marketing.
Peterson and Albaum, (2007) defines direct selling as “face to face selling away from a fixed retail location” (Attri, 2011). Direct sale, and its special case MLM, is one of the finest tools of relationship marketing (Koroth, and Sarada, 2012).
Multi-level marketing (MLM) is one of marketing techniques, it is growing constantly all over the world (Pang, and Monterola, 2017). It utilizes special techniques to develop long-term and cost-effective relationships (Constantin, 2009).
Direct selling is a face-to-face selling of product or service to buyers; however, it is often away from the store site (Attri, 2011). MLM can be described as a scheme of direct selling. In direct selling there is direct contact between the distributor and buyer.
Conversely to traditional marketing, e.g. newspaper and radio, MLM depends on word of mouth (WOM) to promote products/services using personal networks (Vize et al., 2016).
MLM is a particular form of direct selling (Vize et al., 2016). Koehn (2001) stated that MLM, also known as network marketing, refers to the practice of distributing, selling or supplying products or services through various levels of independent agents (i.e. contractors, distributors).
It is argued that MLM is a form of direct selling; however, unlike direct selling, distributors or company members not only gain income by selling products and/or services but also by receiving other revenues from the sales made by other distributors they recruit (Vander, and Keep, 2002; Peterson, and Albaum, 2007).
Koehn (2001) stated that MLM, also known as network marketing, refers to the practice of distributing, selling or supplying products/services through various levels of independent customers.
MLM is a proper technique for building strong relationships within distribution channels where the mother company offers its products directly to customers by referrals from distributors (Kiaw, and De Run, 2007). The marketers in MLM undertake both selling and promotional activities, hence that the company deducts the cost of marketing (Constantin, 2009).
WOM has been taken a good place in the field of marketing studies. Authors have sometimes combined this concept with personal recommendations (Arndt, 1967b), interpersonal communication (Godes and Mayzlin, 2004), interpersonal relationships (Arndt, 1967b), informal communication (Silverman, 2001), personal and interpersonal influence (Arndt, 1967b, Brown and Ratingen, 1987), and with informal advertising (Arndt, 1967a).
WOM communications can take place face to face, phone, email, mailing list, or any other means of communication (Silverrman, 2001). Further, there are personal and impersonal sources of recommendations that have to be considered. Friends, family, and associates are personal sources of recommendations (Brown and Reingen, 1987, Duha, et al., 1997) perceived as WOM vehicles.
Columns, articles, and commentary by journalists, columnists, consumers, and experts to be found in newspapers, magazines, specialized publications, online discussion forums, and expert systems are regarded as impersonal sources of WOM recommendations.
Expert systems and discussion forums are included as impersonal recommendation sources (Sénécal and Nantel, 2004).
When customers consume or experience a product or service, they will compare their expectations with the product or service and, according to their own experience, will evaluate the actual situation of the product or service.
When the actual situation cannot meet expectations, the customer will be dissatisfied; on the contrary, when the actual condition meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations, the customer’s satisfaction with the product or service will be high. Customer’s satisfaction has an important influence on the spread of WOM (Shi et al., 2016).
Word of mouth has a great advantage, it’s a lot cheaper than broadcast advertising ways, just take the flow advantage of information even if it be by listening, communicating, or both of them.
the analogy between viral marketing and a living biological virus
Some commentators, including Cruz and Fill (2008), see an analogy between viral marketing and a living biological virus. Viral marketing is similar to a “digitalized sneeze”, one characterized by the release of “millions of tiny particles that can infect others who come into contact with them”.
Cruz and Fill (2008) stresses the contagious power of a virus and suggest that a “virus replicates (itself) with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each interaction”.
Wilson (2000, p. 1) defines viral marketing as any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Also it can be defined as deliberately spreading a massage through electronic word of mouth (Barratt, 2001)
Word-of-mouth or viral marketing distinguishes itself from other marketing strategies because it is based on trust among individuals’ close social circle of families, friends, and coworkers.
Research examines that people trust the information gained from their close social circle fry more than the information gained from general advertisement channels such s TV, newspapers and online advertisements.
Therefore many people believe that word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective marketing strategy (Chen et al., 2010) some viral marketing strategies work better than others, but below are the six basic elements that you hope to include in your strategy.
A viral marketing strategy need not obtain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be.
1-Give away products or services
2-Provides for effortless transfer to others
3-Scales easily from small to very large
4-Take advantages of common motivations and behaviour’s
5-Use existing communication networks;
6-Takes advantage of others’ resources (Wilson, 2000).
The concept of viral marketing presumes that electronic peer-to-peer communication is an effective means to transform electronic communion networks into influence networks, capturing recipients’ attention, triggering interest, and eventually leading to adoption or sale.
This concept and all these examples suggest that marketers can leverage the power of interpersonal networks to promote a product or service (Bruyn and Lilien, 2008). The basic difference between viral marketing and Viral Stealth Marketing (VSM) is the non-disclosure of the latter’s marketing approach.
Stealth marketing is also referred to as undercover, below-the-radar, guerrilla or shill marketing in popular magazine terminology.
However, whilst stealth, undercover, shill and below-the radar marketing can be considered as synonymous terms, guerrilla marketing differs from these marketing techniques, in that it does not necessarily rely on deception or non-transparent as a core characteristic.
Instead, guerrilla marketing refers to unconventional marketing techniques on a very low budget, specifically designed for small businesses (Langer, 2006). It is important to be informed that not all viral or buzz marketing is also stealth marketing.
Viral or buzz marketing can only be considered stealth marketing if it involves the aspect of non-disclosure. As such, viral stealth marketing can be defined as an electronic word of mouth communications that is spread by a person who does not disclose his relationship with the organization endorsing it (Kaikati and Kaikati, 2004).