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How to use rumours as a marketing tool?

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  1. Introduction
  2. Rumours as a new marketing tool
    1. Using a rumor as a marketing tool?
    2. Transmission and belief of positive rumours
    3. Internet: a fantastic media to convey rumours
  3. New types of marketing campaigns
    1. A content analysis of positive rumours on the Internet
    2. Pre launch rumours
    3. Why do people believe rumours?
    4. After launch rumours
  4. Rcommendations
    1. Fostering the appearance of rumours before a product launch or modification
    2. Setting the right context
    3. Launching a rumour
    4. Launching post-launch rumours
    5. Coordinating the rumour tool with the whole marketing mix
    6. Potential drawbacks and ethical limits
    7. Potential drawbacks
  5. Conclusion
  6. Annexes
  7. References

Today, advertising a new product is totally different than it was 10 years ago. For years, consumers have been flooded by TV, radio, newspaper ads, posters and fliers and more recently, internet spam, pop ups, banners, etc. The frequency of advertising is so high that most consumers often do not pay attention any more to its contents. They just go to the toilets when there is TV spot, throw the fliers or commercial letters away without even reading it and get very angry when pop ups appear when they are trying to check their emails. They often feel attacked by advertising and they often attempt to avoid any kind of advertising. These new trends make the traditional methods of advertising less efficient and even damaging for the image of a product. Marketers are now trying to develop new ways of advertising, less intrusive and more discreet, but very efficient. On the Internet, a good example is the considerable development of the sponsored links on the search engines like Google or Yahoo! that are often seen as regular results of a search although they are sponsored to be at the top of results. Their relevancy to the search is high and so people often see these results as a potential help more than an intrusive and aggressive form of advertising. Another example of this new trend of advertising, word of mouth, is very interesting to study and the logic is the following: we can not trust traditional advertising as we know it always deceive us. So why am I going to buy a new product more than another? Because a friend of mine advised me. He or she is reliable, likes what I like and has really tested the product and knows what he or she is talking about. Marketers start paying attention to those media whose impact on consumers is often underestimated. These new trends in marketing make one feel that the way marketers communicate about a product has to be totally different; more and more people are fed up with first degree, boring, informative and intrusive advertising. The creation and transmission of rumours about a product could be another alternative to traditional advertising. The term ¡ rumour¡¨ generally has a negative connotation and can be seen as slanderous information about a product or information that is not reliable. Companies typically want to destroy or stifle rumours because they assume that rumours are potentially dangerous and not controllable. However, rumours can be useful communication vectors for companies when they want to advertise a product. Some rumours are spread because people are anxious and generally this kind of rumour has negative contents from the point of view of the company. But people also spread a rumour because its content is fun, original, secret or surprising. It does not deliver direct information about the product, but it induces people to talk about the product or the company and encourages people to know more about the product. Well managed, it could have a huge power and have a significant impact on a market with quite a low cost. But spreading such rumours can be problematic; for example, which media will be used? Press releases? Oral statements? To answer that question: we should answer the following one: who are the people that spread rumours? We might find them among brand communities. In fact, brand communities began to proliferate along with the growth of the Internet. Many online blogs and website are now dedicated to brands. People exchange information about products, brands, and product/brand image. In fact, the Internet has this extraordinary characteristic: it is able to gather people from all around the world, from different backgrounds and offer them a virtual space where they can communicate easily around a common topic. Internet is now a major media to reach people, including influential opinion leaders. Nowadays, many rumours have first appeared on the Internet and have subsequently spread in other contexts. That is why this thesis will focus on that media only.

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