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Economic and legal conceptual framework of viral marketing



Electronic and online communications are modern, and perhaps the most common form of communication between individuals and legal entities, and thus have become one of the most used ways of market communication. Viral marketing is evolving into the dominant form of marketing and exchange of information for the purpose of advertising, promoting, or achieving other goals. In this paper we present and analyse the phenomenon of viral marketing-its purpose, effects, and power of influence, and discuss it in terms of ethical and legal standards. Special emphasis is placed on the right to privacy and personal data protection, harassment, acting in good faith and in accordance with good business practices, the presentation of false or fraudulent information. The advantages and disadvantages of this type of marketing activity have been observed.
Communication is essential for the establishment and maintenance of
interpersonal relations and relations between business entities. One of
the most important spheres of contemporary relations refers to market
relations. It can be concluded, therefore, that the importance of market
communications is high and irrefutable. What is more, their eects are
not only economic, but also touch on the sphere of ethics and law.
Market communication is based on the exchange of information (in
person or indirectly) between the market actors, in order to establish and
maintain good business relations (Jovičić, 2009). e essence of mod-
ern marketing and business is to create and deliver value for consumers,
that is consistent with their expectations and preferences (Maričić et al.,
2012).Viral marketing is one of the modern and cost-eective forms of
marketing and exchange of information in order to publicise something,
i.e. advertise or promote.
According to traditional denition and understanding, viral market-
ing rests on marketing strategies and techniques that use pre-existing so-
cial networks, blogs, and e-mails in order to achieve specic marketing
objectives (Brkić, 2012). But, is its eect limited only to the marketing
objectives or its purpose may have other connotations? rough viral
marketing, advertising and promotion of a product or service, i.e. the
transfer of some other desired message (Tomše & Snoj, 2014), is carried
out with the help of their consumers. e information (in other words,
advertisement) is marketed and distributed through the chain of process-
es in which the users spread it independently and voluntarily–to their
friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or anyone who is in some way “avail-
able” to them. Everything happens in the virtual world, in which every-
one communicates with everyone (Dimitrijević, 2009). Dissemination of
information via viral marketing is compared to the spread of computer
viruses (Helm, 2000).So, is it just about the comparison in terms of speed,
mode, cost-eectiveness, and eciency of spreading, or are there some
negative characteristics that these two phenomena have in common and
that bring them in connection when compared? Be that as it may, many
things point to the fact that viral marketing is nowadays one of the fa-
vourite means of advertising within existing market communications.
Abstract:  Electronic and online 
communications are modern, and per-
haps the most common form of commu-
nication between individuals and legal 
entities, and thus have become one of the 
most used ways of market communicati-
on. Viral marketing is evolving into the do-
minant form of marketing and exchange of 
information for the purpose of advertising, 
promoting, or achieving other goals. 
In this paper we present and analyse 
the phenomenon of viral marketing–its 
purpose, effects, and power of influence, 
and discuss it in terms of ethical and legal 
standards. Special emphasis is placed 
on the right to privacy and personal data 
protection, harassment, acting in good fa-
ith and in accordance with good business 
practices, the presentation of false or fra-
udulent information. The advantages and 
disadvantages of this type of marketing 
activity have been observed.
Keywords:  viral marketing, electronic 
and market communication, right to pri-
vacy and data protection, codes of ethics
Economic and Legal Conceptual
Framework of Viral Marketing
Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev,
Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
UDK 339.138:004.738.5
116 Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev, Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
Since it appeared seventeen years ago until today, the
term viral marketing has been understood and used
widely, to explain the process of transmitting infor-
mation using digital technology by product users
themselves. e acceptance and use of new informati-
on technologies, which ts perfectly into the concept
of Web 2.0, has enabled interactive communication
with the audience, whose appropriateness is largely
determined by the speed and breadth of transmitting
the desired information (Sudarević, 2011). Commu-
nication of all subjects on the market has been acce-
lerated and facilitated by the Internet, because no
matter where they are, everyone is just one click away
from the rest of the world. Never before in the history
of mankind such closeness was achieved, which shows
probably the biggest contribution that the Internet, as
the technology, has brought to the world (Stojković,
2013). It has been identied with the terms “buzz
marketing”, “word of mouse marketing, “e-word of
mouth marketing”, “network marketing”.
Judging by its concept, viral marketing is identical
to the word of mouth communication and relation-
ship marketing. However, more detailed insight and
analysis imply that viral marketing integrates the con-
cepts of word of mouth communication and relation-
ship marketing, thus creating a much more eective
and powerful online marketing tool (Tang, 2014).
erefore, it can be concluded that viral marketing
unites eects oered by word of mouth communica-
tion, or, in the case of the application of modern infor-
mation technology, word of mouse communication,
as well as consumer relationship marketing manage-
ment. Successful viral marketing campaign is not only
based on the fact that it is very fast and cost-eective,
but also that it is essential to establish relationships
with potential consumers and oer them value-added
products or services.
According to some authors, the term viral market-
ing was coined by Steve Jurvetson in 1997, to describe
a marketing strategy that helped Hotmail gain10 mil-
lion users in seven months. is expression can be
described as “any marketing activity that accelerates
word of mouth in the digital domain“ (Kirby, 2012).
Frith and Mueller nd that viral marketing is
“any strategy that encourages subscribers to pass on
messages, thus creating the potential for exponen-
tial growth in the messages exposure and inuence
(Frith & Mueller, 2010).
Chaarlas and Raykumar dene viral marketing as
a marketing practice that supports the spreading of an
individual idea or perception over the Internet. Viral
marketing as a concept and practice is very common
and popular today due to the following reasons:
1) e entire web space is occupied by social networ-
2) Browsing the Internet and social networks has
become unimaginably cheap or free of all fees,
3) e Internet has become an integral part of
life, especially young people, around the world
(Chaarles & Rajkumar, 2014).
e originator of the concept of viral marketing
could be Jerey Rayport, who in 1996inFast Com-
pany published an article in which he pointed out
that“when it comes to getting a message out with little
time, minimal budgets, and maximum eect, nothing
on earth beats a virus“ (Rayport, 1996).
e reasons for the emergence of viral market-
ing should be sought in the fact that consumers are
becoming increasingly distrustful of the advertising
techniques (traditional or digital), and that they are
willing to trust their friends’ recommendations. e
supply has realised the advantages oered by mod-
ern technologies, which are primarily reected in the
speed of information transmission and low costs.
e existing traditional communication, initiat-
ed by the supply and spreading to the demand, was
replaced by interactivity that is oen initiated by the
consumers themselves. eir inuence and control
of the content that is communicated become larger.
All these changes have caused the emergence of re-
lationship marketing which involves consumer man-
agement. In addition to creating and delivering val-
ue to the consumers, a new paradigm has emerged,
involving active consumer relationship management,
or CRM. Interactivity, as a basic feature of Internet
marketing, has contributed to the establishment of
new relationships, communication, and networking
among consumers via social networks, as well as cre-
ating virtual communities. One of the reasons of its
superiority over traditional marketing is the fact that
it contributes to the speed of the spreading of ideas,
self-selection of messages, wider reach, low cost, pre-
cise targeting (Goel & Devi, 2014).
Starting from the generally accepted concept of the
marketing mix (product, price, place, promotion), re-
Economic and Legal Conceptual Framework of Viral Marketing 117
gardless of the changes that the IT revolution has bro-
ught at the level of marketing, marketing management
framework, still valid in conditions of Internet marke-
ting, can be set. Without diminishing the importance
that the application of the Internet has brought, re-
ected in the appearance of new digital products and
e-services, new pricing strategies, using the Internet
as the sales and distribution channel, we believe that
the greatest changes have occurred in the area of pro-
motion, i.e. communication. e emergence of social
networks, blogs, forums, wiki pages, web pages, photo
and video materials, has provided consumers with a
better insight and faster access to the information they
are interested in.
e features of Internet marketing that distinguish
it from the traditional marketing, in terms of inter-
activity that allows two-way communication between
participants, a direct response to almost all forms of
marketing activities, establishment of consumer data-
bases, as well as the possibility of measuring the e-
ciency of the activities carried out in the environment,
contribute to a better understanding of consumers
and the creation and management of value for con-
sumers and consumer relationships.
Varadayan and Yadar oer a denition, according
to which “interactive marketing refers to the use of
an information infrastructure network and devices
connected to the network for mediating interactions
between an organisation and its customers in the con-
text of activities and processes employed by the organ-
isation for creating, communicating, and delivering
products that oer value to customers in an exchange”
(Varadayan & Yadav, 2009).
e users can search the Internet content for in-
formation and entertainment, use digital devices, ex-
change digital content, join virtual communities, and
create and share fun and creative content. e last de-
scribed activity belongs to the eld of viral marketing,
and organisations either create fun and creative con-
tent, or support their creation by the users (Deighton
& Kornfeld, 2009).
Reynolds divided forms of marketing communica-
tions via the Internet into those of the rst generation,
such as Internet advertising, direct e-mail, and search
engine marketing, and those of the second generation,
such as the use of social networks and viral marketing
(Reynolds, 2010).
Chronologically speaking, the development and
use of viral marketing was pioneered by Hotmail.
Specically, in 1996, every Hotmail user, aer a sent
message, got the following message at the bottom of
the page: Get your private and free email. At that time,
it stood for an innovative method of promotion that
began to spread like a virus. e emergence of social
networks strengthened viral marketing even more.
In 1996, viral marketing was identied,
was founded.
In 1998, browsers MSN Search and Google were la-
In 1999 the website Opinions was established, focu-
sing on opinions and attitudes of the consumers.
In 2002, Smug Mug website for photo sharing pre-
pared the ground for the later websites of that kind,
Flickr and Photobucket.
In2003, MySpace was started.
In 2004 Facebook and Digg were launched.
In 2005, Vimeo and YouTube were launched.
In 2006, Twitter was founded (Jevremović & Cerić,
All the above-mentioned websites and social net-
works represent a tool by means of which “infected”
users of digital content pass on the information about
the product or service. Video games are also widely
used for the further transfer of desired information.
Modern tendencies of spreading ideas through soci-
al networks and other digital marketing tools, which
have replaced the traditional word of mouth, can be
identied as word of mouse. Successful communica-
tion requires the satisfaction of the following three
criteria: “Giving the right message to the right mess-
engers in the right environment“ (Kaplan & Haenlein,
e right message is considered to be a message that
will interest and delight the messenger. Only a mes-
sage that is worth memorising and interesting enough
to be forwarded has the potential to encourage viral
marketing communication. e right messenger is a
person who is a market expert, in the centre of social
events, and a person who makes the message more
convincing and precise, and sends it into a social net-
work for further distribution. e right environment
is the essence of a good viral marketing, because the
slightest changes cause large eects.
Like all other marketing campaigns, viral market-
ing campaign is carried out in several stages:
1) Setting up and analysing the goals of the company,
2) Identifying the target market,
3) Developing the message,
118 Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev, Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
4) Selecting the messenger,
5) Seeding the idea,
6) Automatic spreading of the idea (Shukla & Shukla,
Figure 1 shows the life cycle of the viral idea. Dur-
ing the viral spread of the idea, it goes through several
phases: idea generation, infection, resonation, emesis,
multiplication, exponential growth, death of idea. e
eective viral marketing campaign is based on the fol-
lowing elements:
1) Social prole gathering,
2) Proximity market analysis,
3) Real-time key word density analysis (Parinas,
To make it easier to attract the attention of users,
one can use viral video, e-mail, blog, social networks,
SMS, electoral services, call centre services. e role
of marketing agencies has changed as well. Besides
traditional services, contemporary marketing agen-
cies oer their clients the services of virtual marketing
campaign management and online communication
with clients via IM-SMS, chat, user generated content,
e-mail, IM support for web design and development
(IM – Instant Messaging – sending messages via In-
ternet in real time)1. e principles of viral marketing
are as follows (Wilson):
We Provide End User Support Services, Available at: www., Accessed on: July 9th 2014
Gives away products or services
Provides for eortless transfer to others
Scales easily from small to very large
Exploits common motivations and behaviours
Utilises existing communication networks
Takes advantage of others’ resources.
It is not necessary that every marketing strate-
gy takes into account all the principles, but it will be
more eective if it takes advantage of as many of them
as possible.
In a consumer society, where all sorts of things are tra-
ded and sold, it is clear that marketing is the primary
tool for market penetration and prot generation. e
presence of marketing and its impact on the formati-
on of awareness and consumer decisions are some of
the main characteristics of modern life. In combinati-
on with modern technologies, especially the Internet,
computers, and mobile phones, advertising of pro-
ducts, services, personalities, ideas, and even ideolo-
gies has also become part of everyday life. Advertising
is done in the form of messages, texts (blogs, email,
etc.), photos, or video clips that are extremely crea-
tive, imaginative, persuasive, thought-provoking, and
enjoyable to read or watch. is attracts the attention
Figure 1. Life cycle
of the viral idea Idea
Death of
Source: Shukla & Shukla, 2014, str. 191
Economic and Legal Conceptual Framework of Viral Marketing 119
of the wider public, not just those specically intere-
sted, but also all those who just like the information
or advertisement.
One of the basic functions of Internet marketing
is the collection of information about users, i.e. the
creation of a database that becomes very useful when
creating any future marketing campaigns. It is neces-
sary to ask the question: “When is the collected infor-
mation really useful marketing data, and when does it
begin to encroach on the privacy of users?” Because
of the very easy ling, monitoring, recording, and
processing of all information accessed by the Internet
users, it is easily possible to exceed the limit of eth-
ics and jeopardise the consumer’s right to privacy and
data protection.
e best-known technology that provides insight
into the interests of potential users refers to cookies.
ese are tools used by websites in order to store data
about the user for later use. ey stand for small text
les, stored into the user’s computer. ey contain
basic information about the user and the user’s com-
puter, for recognition in subsequent connections(Mi-
losavljević & Mišković, 2011).
rough the formation of databases on certain web
pages that the users searched and on the users behav-
iour during the search, the visitor of that site ceases
to be an unidentied user, but a potential consumer,
on whom the database has accurate data. However, all
this raises the question of privacy and the exposure
of users on the Internet. For these reasons, various
organisations are formed globally, which coordinate
the connection of large public networks in the world.
e most important is the Internet Corporation for
Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, www.icann.
org), a non-prot organisation that is responsible
for administering the Internet Protocol(IP), domain
space, and addressing provider. World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C, is an internation-
al consortium that sets standards for the World Wide
Web (Škare, 2013). e actions of these two organisa-
tions are very important for the functioning and fur-
ther development of Internet marketing.
Freedom of expression and creativity, combined
with a competitive market in which the focus is on
winning the largest possible number of clients or cus-
tomers in order to increase prots, evidently points to
the possibility that the released information and con-
tent go beyond the scope of moral, ethical, and even
legal behaviour.
Due to such a high degree of presence, importance,
and inuence of marketing in contemporary society
and global processes, the question that arises refers to
its regulation in order to ensure a minimum of moral,
honest and fair relations, i.e. to protect the rights of all
participants. In addition to the legal framework go-
verning market communications, the codes of ethics
at the level of trade associations or companies themse-
lves are adopted (Etički kodeksi u oglašavanju, 2014),
in order to strengthen the framework of allowed, high-
quality, and socially desirable marketing activities.
In 2006, Serbia adopted the Consolidated ICC
Code on Marketing and Advertising Communication
of the International Chamber of Commerce2, which,
in addition to establishing high ethical standards in
marketing (from the rules on advertising on the In-
ternet to standards of what is and what is not allowed
to communicate to children), provides guidelines for
further development of the legal and regulatory initi-
atives in the eld of marketing and consumer protec-
tion. e authors argue that in the draing of the Code
they took care of the consumers’ interests and needs
for security, i.e. for being protected from the lies and
deception in advertisements and misuse of personal
data they give to the companies. Certain rules of this
Code govern certain matters more stringently than the
law itself, such as, for example, the fact that “every sci-
entic statement in an advertisement must be based
on sound scientic research and data that are at hand
and that can be reviewed”, or the requirement that “all
market participants who collect personal information
guard it and keep it only for a limited period of time
before it is completely destroyed” (ICC, 2006).
In addition to the basic principles of advertising
and marketing communications, as prescribed in
Article 1, which states:“All marketing communica-
tion should be legal, decent, honest, and truthful...
prepared with a due sense of social and professional
responsibility, and should conform to the principles
of fair competition, as generally accepted in business...
should be such so as not to impair public condence
in marketing, “e Consolidated ICC Code on Ad-
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world‘s larg-
est business organisation that brings together companies from
all sectors and all parts of the world, established to provide
a contribution to the development trends of marketing and
advertising in the world. It adopted the rst Code on Advertis-
ing back in1937. In 2006, it adopted “e Consolidated ICC
Code on Marketing and Advertising Communication of the
International Chamber of Commerce
120 Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev, Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
vertising and Marketing Communication lays down
other general provisions regarding advertising and
marketing communication, which in Articles 2-26
dene ethical standards in terms of values and rights
such as decency, honesty, social responsibility, truth-
fulness, use of the terms “free”‘ and “guaranteed”, sub-
stantiation, identication, identity, denigration, ex-
ploitation of goodwill, safety and health, children and
young people, data protection and privacy, and so on.
Given that this Code has been adopted with the aim
of adjusting ethical standards in marketing to modern
challenges and new technologies, its special chapter D
is dedicated to “Advertising and Marketing Commu-
nication Using Electronic Media and the Telephone,
in order to promote any product or service. e term
electronic media” includes every medium through
which one can establish and maintain “electronic, in-
teractive communication, such as the Internet, online
services and/or electronic and communication net-
works, including the telephone. It clearly states that
all activities of marketing communications and adver-
tising via electronic media and telephone are subject
to the legal regulations of the country of origin of the
products and/or services, or, in special cases, to the
regulations of the state that the market participants
determined. e legal framework that governs the is-
sue of electronic communications in Serbia and the
challenge of data protection and privacy rights, as well
as other challenges, such as protection from harass-
ment or slander, shall be discussed later.
Examples of good practice, in terms of modern
codes of ethics in marketing, can be found in our im-
mediate environment, in Croatia. In 2005, Croatian
Chamber of Commerce adopted a Code of Business
Ethics, which ensures observance of good business
practices. Business in accordance with the principles
of good faith, loyalty, and accuracy is encouraged,
through the regulation of important issues, such as
competition rules, security of transactions in electron-
ic commerce, providing false information, obtaining
information about the competition, product label, etc.
Croatian group of producers of beer, malt, and bar-
ley has adopted a special ethical Code of responsible
marketing communications, which establishes the
obligation to respect the fundamental principles of
morality, human dignity, and integrity in marketing
For example, the Code allows the circulation of advertisements
for beer exclusively to adults, with advocacy of moderate beer
consumption, prohibits the participation of minors in these
messages and any type of content that suggests violence, ag-
gression, or degrading behaviour. See:
eticki-kodeksi-oglasavanju/, Accessed on 8 July 2014
e main issues of concern to the broad population
with regard to viral marketing and electronic mar-
keting communications are: the right to privacy and
personal data protection, abuse of trust, the so-called
e-mail pyramid”, harassment and “loading” a large
number of spam messages/information, erroneous
and false information that spreads quickly (James,
In respect of the concerns of consumers and the
general public regarding the right to privacy and per-
sonal data protection, it is mainly reected in the fact
that people want to know what the companies that are
in the possession of their data will do with it. A num-
ber of people, in addition to the usual concerns about
the personal data, feel concern that this could make
them become “victims” of spammers and recipients
of spam messages4. To encourage potential customers
and give them a sense of security, companies create
and publish their “privacy policies” on their websites
and email messages. Privacy policies explicitly explain
how the collected information on personal data will
be used, i.e. that the company will not sell it or oth-
erwise make it available to third parties (Ezor, 2009).
e protection from sale or transfer of personal data
is achieved by forming special mailing lists. However,
there are great possibilities of their misuse, resulting
from their unauthorised disposal, which will be dis-
cussed later.
e issue that is thematically linked to the previ-
ous one is the problem of harassment and “loading
a large number of spam messages/information. e
main message and the best advice for protection from
unwanted information and advertisements, is to take
care of where and to whom data is le, primarily
phone numbers and email addresses. Almost all social
networks and portals, including a number of compa-
nies, require this information. It is encouraging that
the public is becoming more cautious, or at least sat-
urated with various oerings, advertisements, infor-
mation, so that a number of those who do not want to
Spam is anonymous, unexpected, mass electronic mail, e-mail,
equivalent to the mail we receive ‘at the door’, which we do not
expect, and that is completely worthless. is email is sent in
huge quantities by spammers who make money from a small
percentage of recipients who buy a product that is advertised in
spam messages”, Source: Website „Informacija – saznajte više o
računarskoj bezbednosti“, Available at: http://www.informacija.
rs/Anti-spam/Sta-je-spam-i-kako-se-zastititi-od-njega.html ,
Accessed on 9 July 2014
Economic and Legal Conceptual Framework of Viral Marketing 121
leave information if they are not oered something in
return is growing (Hagel & Rayport, 1997).
One common strategy of viral marketing is the use
of human motivation and behaviour. Bearing in mind
the power of interpersonal relationships and commu-
nication, viral marketing uses them. Unfortunately,
when the principles of ethical and moral behaviour
are overlooked or deliberately removed from sight,
then this use becomes abuse. e subject of abuse is
the possibility that certain information or advertise-
ment is fast and freely communicated by one person
to their friends and colleagues.
We have previously mentioned that mailing lists
that companies form on the basis of data that their
clients/consumers give them with condence are the
special form of protection from further sale or trans-
fer. Specically, the so-called “email pyramid” is a
common strategy of viral marketing. In this way, of-
fers are sent quickly and in detail to a large number of
people, with great certainty that the desired message
will be read or noticed within a short period of time.
On the other hand, the misuse of these lists may also
cause the problem.
Finally, another striking violation of ethical norms
is reected in the possibility of placing false or errone-
ous information, which is, thanks to modern electron-
ic media, spread quickly. Deliberate placing of such
information usually comes from competition, which
oen ruins its own reputation in this way and declares
itself as an entity that does not operate in accordance
with good business practice and will (James, 2002).
Despite the undeniable positive economic eects of
viral marketing (cheap and fast transmission of infor-
mation), some possible legal consequences of such ac-
tions challenge its absolute glorication. ese eects
are manifested as: a potential threat to the right to
privacy and security of data protection, disclosure of
false or misleading information which oen has the
character of slandering competition or deceiving con-
sumers (Delgado, 2014). In terms of advertising and
marketing activities through social networks, electro-
nic mail, blogs, and the like, the same legal framework
that regulates traditional advertising and marke-
ting communications generally applies (Steinman &
Hawkins, 2010), although in recent years special laws
have been adopted that explicitly regulate electronic
communications (Ocial Gazette, 2010).
e issue of right to privacy and personal data pro-
tection, as basic human rights, is the issue that the
expansion of electronic communications has brought
to the fore (Lilić, 2006). e right to privacy protects
three types of human needs: a) making independent
decisions about intimate and personal matters; b) pro-
tection against disclosure of personal matters; c) pro-
tection against groundless surveillance by the author-
ities. erefore, in accordance with its obligation to
protect, the law must nd mechanisms to “guarantee
legal control over personal information” (Dimitrije-
vić, 2011) to individuals. A men’s right is to know and
control who, when, and for what purpose uses infor-
mation about them. In Serbia, the right to privacy and
personal data protection is primarily provided within
the framework of the Law on Personal Data Protec-
tion (Ocial Gazette, 2008/09) and the Law on Elec-
tronic Communications, and, like all over the world,
in our country as well, companies ensure protection
of these rights through the previously mentioned pri-
vacy policies (while at the same time protecting them-
selves from responsibility for violating these rights).
In respect of another common legal consequence
of viral advertising, disclosure of false or misleading
information which oen has the character of slander-
ing competition or deceiving consumers, generally
speaking, the law treats it by dening the basic re-
sponsibilities of advertisers (whether using traditional
or viral marketing strategies). It is the obligation of the
advertiser to: a) guarantee that the information being
advertised is true and accurate, and b) obviously and
clearly indicate all essential information in the adver-
tisement (or material defects), in relation to their oer
(Steinman & Hawkins, 2010).
e emergence and increasingly intensive use of the
Internet have caused the development of modern
forms of advertising and transmission of informati-
on through new channels of communication. Lack of
trust in traditional forms of promotion and saturation
of consumers with a plethora of information led to the
creation of viral marketing. e basis of this marketing
is the transmission of information by word of mouth,
or in the digital environment, as well as creating and
managing consumer relationships. Speed of informa-
tion transmission, wide reach, and precise targeting of
the target audience are the main features of this type
of marketing campaigns that companies on the supply
122 Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev, Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
side nd very cost-eective because they are free of
almost all costs.
Viral marketing establishes a synchronized link be-
tween the word of mouth marketing and relationship
marketing, in order to provide value-added products
and services for consumers. e use of viral marketing
accelerates the process of information transmission
from mouth to mouth in virtual environment. e ex-
change of information through social networks, blogs,
vlogs, forums has provided consumers with the possi-
bilities of becoming active participants and creators of
promotional activities.
Every viral campaign starts with setting up and
analyzing the aims, identifying the target market
and developing the idea which needs to be spread. In
that process it is very important to lay down the le-
gal framework, as well as the ethics norm, in order to
enhance marketing activities which have to be ethical
and useful for the society.
e Consolidated ICC Code on Advertising and
Marketing Communication establishes the high eth-
ical standards in marketing, as well as the obligation
to respect the fundamental principles of morality and
integrity. e Law on Personal Data Protection and
the Law on Electronic Communication provide the
rights to privacy and personal data protection. e
implementation of these legal acts gives consumers a
sense of security. However, the signicant growth in
the use of modern technology for marketing activities
may oer numerous possibilities for data misuse and
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Elektronske i Internet komunikacije su savremeni i
verovatno najčešći vid komuniciranja između pojedinaca
i pravnih lica, a istovremeno su postale jedan od najviše
korišćenih vidova marketing komunikacije. Viralni mar-
keting se razvija u dominantni oblik marketinga i razmene
informacija u svrhe promocije ili ostvarivanja drugih
ciljeva. U ovom radu autori predstavljaju analizu fenom-
ena viralnog marketinga – njegovu svrhu, efekte, snagu i
uticaj, a takođe i razmatraju njegove etičke i pravne aspe-
kte. Poseban naglasak je na pravu na privatnost i zaštitu
podataka o ličnosti, uznemiravanju, delovanju u „dobroj
veri“ u skladu sa dobrom poslovnom praksom, prezen-
tovanju netačnih i lažnih informacija. Autori posmatraju
prednosti i nedostatke ovog oblika marketing komunici-
Ključne reči: viralni marketing, elektronske i marketing
komunikacije, pravo na privatnost, zaštita podataka o
ličnosti, etički kodeks
Ekonomski i pravni konceptualni
okvir viralnog marketinga
Marija Kostić, Melita Jovanović Tončev,
Vladimir Džamić, Miroslav Knežević
Miroslav Knežević
Univerzitet Singidunum
Departman za turistički i hotelijerski menadžment
Danijelova 32, 11000 Beograd
e- mail:
... It is therefore considered one of the most basic marketing phenomena and it has existed long before present-day media. Viral marketing, also called WOM, is highly influential on potential customers" purchasing behaviors and decision-making as it contributes to the speed of the spreading of ideas, self-selection of messages, wider reach, low cost, precise targeting (Richins & Root-Shaffer, 1988;Arndt 1967;Lee, Noh, & Kim, 2013, Goel & Devi, 2014Kostić, Jovanović, Džamić & Knežević, 2015;Lee, Noh, & Kim, 2013), thus creating a much more effective and powerful online marketing tool (Tang, 2014). Viral marketing is identical to the WOM communication and relationship marketing. ...
... Viral marketing is identical to the WOM communication and relationship marketing. However, more detailed insight and analysis imply that viral marketing integrates the concepts of word of mouth communication and relationship marketing, thus creating a much more effective and powerful online marketing tool (Kostić, Jovanović, Džamić & Knežević, 2015;Tang, 2014). One of the reasons of its superiority over traditional marketing is the fact that it contributes to the speed of the spreading of ideas, self-selection of messages, wider reach, low cost, precise targeting (Goel & Devi, 2014). ...
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Organizations continually seek new ways to achieve competitive advantage and word of mouth (WOM) trough Social Network Sites (SNS) such as Facebook, represents such an opportunity because it has a powerful influence on consumers‟ attitudes and behaviors. However, prior research on motivations behind propensity of users to send viral messages Is scarce at the most and almost null in Latin-American countries like Mexico. The present study aims to investigate the motivations that trigger people to offer eWOM videos on SNS. Survey data from 203 participants who are active users of SNS were analyzed using structural equation modeling. The study findings indicate a positive relationship between the independent variables enjoyable escape, sharing view points and social standing with the dependent variable propensity to share videos on Facebook, sharing view points and enjoyable escape being the most important motivations affecting attitude towards viral marketing. The results of this exploratory investigation are of current interest particularly for advertising and marketing. Nowadays, it is a key to encourage word of-mouth communication to spread information about products and/or brands. Knowledge of motives for viral sharing will contribute to the more effective development of strategic communication campaigns on the Web.
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The concept of viral marketing has been discussed in the literature for over 15 years, since Jeffrey Rayport first introduced the term in 1996. However, the more widespread use of social media has recently pushed this idea to a whole new level. We provide insight into the relationship between social media and viral marketing, and illustrate the six steps executives should take in order to dance the social media/viral marketing waltz. We define viral marketing as electronic word-of-mouth whereby some form of marketing message related to a company, brand, or product is transmitted in an exponentially growing way--often through the use of social media applications. We consider the three conditions that need to be fulfilled to create a viral marketing epidemic (i.e., giving the right message to the right messengers in the right environment) and present four different groups of social media viral marketing campaigns (nightmares, strokes-of-luck, homemade issues, and triumphs). We conclude with five points of caution that managers should heed when trying to launch their own viral marketing campaign.
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Newcomers to electronic markets are forced to accumulate customers as rapidly as possible. One strategy to fulfil this aim is so called viral marketing , which seems an appropriate term for describing the pattern in which Internet companies spread by making use of customer referrals. The aim of this article is to describe and explain common features of viral marketing strategies and to outline chances and risks associated with using Internet word-of-mouth in consumer settings.
There are a lot of unexpected changes taking place in the online world. Viral marketing is a typical efficient network marketing method which births at the background of the Web2.0 era. It is high concerned with its clipping and comprehensive effect on society. Studying its mechanism, in addition to the spanking speed of the Internet, the rapid transmission method and the wide range of audience, it mostly depends on idiographic interactive involvement and relationship. This article mainly summarizes the concept of Viral Marketing, the similarity of enterprise Viral Marketing, the negative effect and the responsive tactics.
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A plea for a more pluralistic and stakeholder perspective of small business performance measurement by support agencies.
Viral marketing has given rise to the evolution of many electronic marketing strategies. The marketing practice that encourages the idea or perception of an individual to spread through internet has been defined as viral marketing. The objective of this paper is to investigate the perceptions of consumers on the components of viral marketing. The study analyses the perceptions of the one hundred select respondents on the five different components of viral marketing-E-mails, Videos, Blogs, Social networks and Forums. The study analyses how viral marketing helps raise the awareness among the consumers, its reach among the consumers and how it is used to share information on the features and prices of the products. Consumers attach different levels of trust to each of the five components of viral marketing. The study helps marketers and consumers to better understand and use the critical components of viral marketing to their advantage.
During the past decade, developments such as the rapid growth of the Internet, digitization of information products, and digitization of the information attributes of non-information products, has necessitated businesses to fundamentally rethink, as well as institute major changes in, their marketing strategies. Against this backdrop, we present a critical assessment of extant research on marketing strategy in an Internet-enabled environment viewed through the lens of research published in previous volumes of the Journal of Interactive Marketing (JIM), and speculate on the future of interactive marketing in the contexts of marketing practice, research in marketing and marketing education. Looking back, it is evident that marketing strategy and marketing operations have been transformed by the Internet in many ways. Looking ahead, it can be expected that marketing strategy and marketing operations will be even more extensively integrated and blended in the Internet-enabled market environment in the future.
The digital interactive transformation in marketing is not unfolding, as some thought it would, on the model of direct marketing. That model anticipated that marketing, empowered by digital media using rich profiling data, would intrude ever more deeply and more precisely into consumer lives than broadcast media had been able to. Instead the transformation is unfolding on a model of consumer empowerment, in which consumers use digital media to communicate with one another and deal with marketing's intrusions, showing none of the passivity displayed by mass media audiences. This paper categorizes five roles for the interactive consumer and draws implications for marketing practice. It concludes that the balance of power over marketplace meaning-making is shifting from marketer to consumer to the extent that media usage migrates from broadcasting to interactivity. The new marketplace rewards more participatory, more sincere, and less directive marketing styles than the old.
Tržišno komuniciranje putem internet pri plasmanu građevinskog materijala na srpskom tržištu, Naučno-stručni časopis Škola biznisa
  • D Jovičić
Jovičić, D., (2009), Tržišno komuniciranje putem internet pri plasmanu građevinskog materijala na srpskom tržištu, Naučno-stručni časopis Škola biznisa, UDC 316.776:004.738.5]:691(497.11), str. 147-155,