Nowadays, companies are getting more and more involved on the Internet. Indeed, Harridge and March (2004) confirm this statement. There are in fact several reasons why companies are increasingly using the Internet. It is possible for them to introduce their company through a website, to present their products, they are given the opportunity to propose online payments and they can collect information about the viewers of their website, in order to create a customer and a prospect database. However, marketing managers are constantly looking for new means to sell effectively. That is why, an increasing number of companies use the Internet as a new marketing channel. In reality, businesses use the net also to create buzz and to apply viral marketing techniques. Viral marketing is, in this sense, a really contemporary subject. Nevertheless, there is another side that one can consider to study this method of setting up interactive marketing. Indeed, on the one hand, children became one of the favourite targets of advertisers and marketers and on the other hand, they are increasingly using the Internet. Therefore, one can wonder how viral marketing is targeting at children. Due to academic articles, it is possible to evaluate this area. First, an overview of viral marketing is provided. In the second part a brief analysis of children behaviours on the Internet is proposed. Then, one will be able to identify the strategies employed by companies to target children online. Finally, to go further, the major stakes and issues are outlined.
[...] That is why viral marketing is said to increase the power of communication (Putrevu, 2003). To complete the previous definition, Wilson (2000) presents six major elements of viral marketing. Indeed, he believes that these six principles have to be combined together to generate viral marketing. The points he suggests are detailed afterwards. First, companies need to give away products or services. Then, they have to provide an effortless system for viewers to transfer information to others. In addition, businesses need to think about a scheme that will stay manageable whatever the size of the scale. [...]
[...] The first one, the integration strategy”, focuses on small incentives to encourage the consumer to transfer a product, a service or information to others. It will be difficult to have this strategy working with children. The second level, the “high customer integration strategy”, is far more proactive. Indeed, this kind of viral marketing needs to involve the consumer. An interesting example could be the development of Kids Clubs online for example or the creation of forums and chat rooms where children can talk about their similar interests. [...]
[...] McDonald really uses a high involvement viral marketing strategy. Indeed, McDonalds website not only offers to children the possibility to create a buzz with the use of the ecards but it also proposes to children to access to some games and to a paint box, to download screensavers or wallpapers, and it broadcasts the YumChums movie created for the website). Austin and Reed (1999) also denounce companies that ask personal information to children in exchange of free gifts. It also raises ethical issues about collecting data, sharing them and using them. [...]
[...] First of all, an overview of viral marketing is provided. In a second part a brief analysis of children behaviours on the Internet is proposed. Then, one will be able to identify the strategies employed by companies to target children online. Finally, to go further, the major stakes and issues are outlined What is viral marketing? The general idea about viral marketing techniques is that it increases the distribution and the diffusion of information while reducing the costs at the same time. [...]
[...] (2000) ‘Viral marketing –Establishing Customer Relationships by ‘Word-of-Mouse', Electronic markets 158-161 Henry, A. (2003) buzz marketing works for teens', Young consumers John, D. (1999) ‘Consumer socialization of children: a retrospective look at twenty-five years of research', Journal of Consumer Research 26: 183-213 Phelps, J.E. et al. (2004) ‘Viral marketing or Electronic word-of-mouth advertising: examining consumer responses and motivations to pass along email', Journal of advertising research 333-348 Putrevu, S. and Lord, K.R. (2003) ‘Processing Internet communications: a motivation, opportunity and ability framework', Journal of current issues and research in advertising 45-59 Rowley, J. [...]
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