Viral marketing is an inventive and crafty business strategy that became popular even before the internet became widely used. It implies promotion of the product through various social channels. Earlier they were limited to the word of mouth, but now they extend to social networks. Viral marketing casts a piece of information such as a video or story into the target audience, and the information is spread quickly and easily by its members.
An example of a good viral marketing campaign can be the Blair Witches Project movie. Its directors once suggested that the plot had a realistic background; the information was supported by an amateur-like style of the video, which made people believe the rumors. The information instantly spread between fans of the project who shared it with their peers, thus, the campaign was really a great success. The budget of the show appeared even more successful as a viral marketing technique cost almost nothing.
Low cost and simple mechanism of viral marketing make it look appealing to the companies. Nevertheless, it cannot replace many other forms of advertising. In the first place, not all goods can be effectively promoted using the technique, and then, not every type of message is likely to become viral. If all products were promoted by word-of-mouth, then people would have little awareness of the variety of products which is conveyed by billboards, TV commercials, and other essential techniques. All means of advertising are effective if they are rational, and advertising in general works better if it is conveyed through the variety of channels.