Friday, November 11, 2005

Forward Marketing

MastishK 2004 had just concluded. The enormous appreciation Arbit Choudhury- the 1st B-school cartoon had received during the event had made us decide to continue creating Arbit post MastishK’04. But we were unsure how to go about it. We knew, in spite of it’s popularity during MastishK’04, Arbit had just touched the tip of the iceberg. Arbit was yet to reach out to the vast majority of it’s target audience. We needed a vehicle to make that happen. Cartoon strips usually require a platform like a newspaper or a periodical journal, to reach out to it’s readers. Arbit had no such means. We had to come up with an innovative method to spread Arbit in the management fraternity.

Then one day, an idea struck us. We made a pdf containing all Arbit strips released during MastishK’04, put my and Hemant’s ids at the bottom, and sent the same to all our friends. This ignited the most mind-boggling chain reaction, one which is still going on and on for more than a year now, and one which has taken Arbit forwards to zillions of mailboxes across the globe. Through the appreciation mails that keep flooding our mailboxes, we are able to somewhat guage the far and wide places that our little forward has reached.
Although we subsequently launched the Arbit Choudhury yahoo group and website, that small Arbit forward sent more than a year back, is still the major driver behind Arbit’s overwhelming popularity.

This brings me to the unique marketing concept, which I call “Forward Marketing”. In today’s cyber-era, where the web is altering every known business paradigm, new and innovative net-marketing strategies have become the order of the day. With almost everyone having e-mail, forwards have become an inseparable part of our lives. It is this power of forwards which can be leveraged as a marketing weapon. Forwards are different from spam, in the sense that a forward comes to you from someone you know, whereas spam comes from an unknown source. This is the primary reason why spam marketing has failed. And this is exactly why forward marketing can succeed.

So, all you marketing professionals out there, if you have a great concept or product which needs to be marketed online, all you have to do is prepare a universally likable forward revolving around the product/concept you want to market, and just send it across to all our contacts. If you get lucky, you might be onto a very successful marketing campaign.

In the next edition of Kotler’s “Marketing Management”, we might just find a chapter titled “Forward Marketing

4 comments:

the_new_cloud said...

this is how we initially spread the word about bitalumni.com too...
didnt we....???

chaos said...

i think it was also known as 'chain reaction'... not too sure if it had been conceptualized in theory... but spams actually were brought in this way only...

what would you consider a 'forward' which comes to you from 10 different ppl within a span of a day... i would call first one as your 'forward marketing' but the rest 9 as SPAM!

those were my thoughts :)

Shubham said...

@the-new-cloud,
ya man, we did the same with bitalumni.com as well.. but there is a subtle difference in these 2 cases.. while the forward sent for bitalumni was for a closed group of people, the arbit choudhury forward was meant for the entire management fraternity.. and that is why it has been circulating in mailboxes for over a year now..
@chaos
u r partly right.. but what i meant in my post was that forwards can also prove to be a useful net-marketing tool of the future.. and as is the case with anything in the world "ati sarwatr varjayet" (too much of anything is bad)

Nikhil Kulkarni said...

@chaos
I think it is not the 1st or 2nd mail that is treated as spam. If a mail advertising Viagra lands in my inbox even once, I would call it spam. I think, forward marketing like all other information society tools makes capability more important than resourceability.

Forward's are a free resource.. but one needs a powerful/useful or entertaining concept like Arbit to ustilise it to its fullest potential.
Thus while you may spend millions in buying newsprint space for popularising some website and still not succeed*, a free forward might create a world-rocking cartoon strip!!
*[indya.com bought the complete frontpage of TOI 3 years ago]