بازاریابی ویروسی : انگیزش هایی به سمت محتوای آنلاین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4932||2010||7 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 63, Issues 9–10, September–October 2010, Pages 1000–1006
Despite the increasing popularity of viral marketing, factors critical to such a new communication medium remain largely unknown. This paper examines one of the critical factors, namely Internet users' motivations to pass along online content. Conceptualizing the act of forwarding online content as a special case of a more general communication behavior, we identify four potential motivations: (1) the need to be part of a group, (2) the need to be individualistic, (3) the need to be altruistic, and (4) the need for personal growth. Using a survey of young adults, we examine the relationship between these motivations and the frequency of passing along online content. We also investigate if high trait curiosity can indirectly lead to more forwarding by increasing the amount of online content consumed. Results show that Internet users, who are more individualistic and/or more altruistic, tend to forward more online content than others.
The Internet is now the “new normal” way of life for many Americans to get their news, book travel reservations, do research for school or their job, check out the weather, and seek out romantic partners among other activities (Rainie, 2005). For those who consume entertainment, news and information online, recommendations from friends are important sources for that information. This new online environment is conducive to a new form of marketing communication commonly referred to as viral marketing. Viral marketing typically starts with the marketer creating some form of electronic content such as a video or a mini-site, the aim of which is usually brand-building. The URL (web address) for the electronic content is made available to Internet users, who after viewing the content will decide whether they want to pass the URL along to their friends. If the URL gets forwarded and the Internet users receiving it also keep passing the URL along, the electronic content has the potential to reach a large group of Internet users at an exponential rate (Watts and Peretti, 2007). Despite the increasing shift of advertising spending to viral marketing (Knight, 2007), the factors critical to viral marketing effectiveness remain largely unknown to both marketing academics and practitioners (Godes et al., 2005). Among the many potential critical factors, this study focuses on Internet users' motivation to forward electronic content (i.e., the URLs storing the content). Understanding Internet users' motivation to forward online content is crucial since the decision to pass the content along is completely voluntary – in other words, marketers do not pay Internet users to pass along electronic content. Electronic content that is “seeded” initially to Internet users who are more readily motivated to pass along content in general and/or if the particular content fits well with the Internet user's forwarding motivation, will more likely reach a large group of Internet users (i.e., become viral). For ease of exposition, we call hereafter the act of forwarding electronic content e-WOM and the Internet users, who are more ready to engage in e-WOM, e-mavens. Although Internet users may also spread electronic content by posting URLs in chat rooms or personal blogs in social networking sites, these actions are more similar to broadcasting to many audiences comprised of individuals who the senders may not know or intend to target. We restrict e-WOM to those forwarding actions through e-mail, instant messaging, or other communication media that are of high “addressability” in nature. We believe the scope of our e-WOM is most relevant to the current practice of viral marketing campaigns in which marketers intend to spread their messages as personal communications, rather than mass communications. One may immediately see the parallel between e-mavens and market mavens, a notion introduced by Feick and Price (1987). Market mavens are people who constantly acquire and spread general marketplace information. E-mavens on the other hand are people who acquire and spread information via electronic platforms such as email (Phelps et al., 2004). In other words, market mavens are defined by the type of information that is acquired and spread (i.e., marketplace information) while e-mavens are defined by the channel (i.e., email and the Internet) through which information is acquired and spread. E-mavens are on the other hand, conceptually similar to the notion of Internet mavens (Belch et al., 2005), except that we include both email and the Internet. Although the market maven construct has been shown to act as a personal trait (e.g., Laroche et al., 2003), we define e-mavens here primarily by high frequency of forwarding online content and leave the potential to explore e-mavens as a personal trait for future research. Not restricted to any specific type of information, we conceptualize e-WOM as a special case of a more general communication behavior, in which individuals communicate through e-mails or instant messaging to accomplish certain communication goals. Although not widely studied this way, the forwarding of electronic content can be viewed as part of a conversation and as a possible forum for interpersonal communication. We therefore develop our theoretical model of e-mavens' motivations based on the interpersonal communication literature and discuss their hypothesized effects on the action of forwarding electronic content as well as an action preceding forwarding, namely the consumption of electronic content. We then empirically test which of these motives are indeed operating.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The Internet allows people all over the world to not only communicate with each other but also to form and maintain relationships. Using FIRO theory (Schutz, 1966) from the interpersonal communication literature as a framework for the study, we test whether the salient motivators related to interpersonal communication are relevant in the context of e-WOM. The key findings reported here are that two of the three key dimensions of FIRO theory are significant predictors of forwarding behavior (Inclusion and Affection), and that an individual's consumption of online content influences e-WOM. Our findings not only enhance our understanding of a more general e-communication behavior, that is the findings are not specifically product-related, but also have important marketing implications. The results of our analysis reveal some expected and some unexpected findings. First, of the two motivations underlying the concept of inclusion, only individuation was positively related to the forwarding of online content. This finding is consistent with the theorizing of Chan and Misra (1990) who suggest that opinion leaders are individuals willing to publicly individuate themselves by sharing their opinions with others. Similarly, we find the e-maven is willing to disseminate online content with others as a way of showing his/her uniqueness. By their willingness to stand out from the crowd, the e-maven may be judged by others as more influential (e.g., Taylor et al., 1979). Although the extant literature reports that the Internet is used both as a means of staying in touch with others and developing new relationships (e.g., Flanagin and Metzger, 2001), our measure of the motivation of the need to belong did not significantly influence the forwarding of online content. We do not mean to suggest that the Internet is not used by this group of consumers as a means of meeting this need. Individuals are able to connect with others on the Internet using different forms of e-communication such as Usenet groups and social networking sites such as Facebook. It is possible that social networking sites may provide the user with better opportunities to fulfill the need to belong compared to the forwarding of online content via email. Our results are consistent with a study of online WOM in the context of music-related communication in which feelings about getting connected to others online did not account for online leadership (Sun et al., 2006). Next, this study identified a positive relationship between altruism and e-WOM. This finding is consistent with the research on the psychological influences on the market maven. For example, Feick and Price (1987) find that the construct of market maven mediates the relationship between altruism and everyday helping behavior in the marketplace. FIRO theory has been used by researchers investigating the dynamics of human social behavior. Since we conceptualized the forwarding of online content as essentially a communication phenomenon we hypothesized that as part of a normal conversation individuals would achieve the three major interpersonal needs outlined by FIRO theory. In contrast we found a negative relationship between our measure of the interpersonal need for control and e-WOM. Many different measures are available to operationalize control — one possible explanation for our findings may be our choice of measure. Alternatively, the need for control in an interpersonal communication context might require some feedback mechanism which is not readily available when an individual forwards online content. This need for feedback, or at least the opportunity to compare expected outcomes to received outcomes, may be particularly relevant for individuals who are high in personal growth initiative (PGI). These individuals would be highly motivated to control their environment, which would explain our findings that individuals who are high in PGI are less likely to engage in e-WOM since they may participate in other activities as a means to achieve personal growth or accumulate social capital. In other words, compared to the inclusion and affection motives, e-WOM is not as well aligned with the control motive, at least in our operationalization of the motive, as other communication media/channels such as face-to-face meetings. Since the amount of time consuming online content was a significant predictor of e-WOM it is important to understand what motivates users to spend time online consuming information. Richard and Chandra (2005) show that individuals high in OSL (optimum stimulation level) are more likely to increase online exploratory behavior. Similarly, we hypothesized that individuals high in trait curiosity would spend more time online consuming content. One possible explanation for our lack of support for this hypothesis is that trait curiosity is linked to learning and learning is an information motive. Research shows that individuals are motivated to surf the Internet for additional reasons including entertainment and socialization (e.g., Richard, 2005 and Richard and Chandra, 2005). Therefore, future studies should consider the motivations associated with general (entertainment) versus purposive (information) browsing behavior and their relationship with e-WOM (Richard, 2005). In terms of theoretical contribution made by this research, firstly it enables us to define the psychographic profile of the young, college-aged e-maven. A major finding of the study is that the interpersonal behaviour of the e-maven is characterized by the individualistic aspect of the need for inclusion and the altruistic component of the need for affection. Greater frequency online may allow individuals to achieve these two important needs thereby implying a greater dependency on this medium to meet these needs in the future. The results also suggest that individuals who spend more time online forward more information to others in their social network. 4.1. Managerial implications Previous research has shown the value to marketers of identifying market mavens (e.g., Feick and Price, 1987 and Laroche et al., 2003) and as greater numbers of consumers join the online world, e-WOM communication should play an increasingly important role in consumers' decisions. A goal of this research was to provide practitioners with insight into the important motivations associated with the forwarding of online content. Given the amount of clutter on the Internet a successful viral marketing message must not only attract attention, it must also give the viewer a reason to want to share this information with others. A viral marketing campaign has a greater chance of success if the marketer is able to develop marketing communication strategies that resonate with the target group — in other words, appeals to the key motivations for sharing information. We find that the e-maven is not only motivated to forward information to others in his or her social network as a way of standing out from the crowd, but also as a way of helping others. Therefore, we suggest that marketers should consider appeals to both these key motivations. Although one might consider the need to be altruistic and the need for individuation to be conflicting, research shows that individuals will engage in activities that are costly as a way of signaling to others useful information about themselves (Griskevicius et al., 2007). Interestingly, this explanation suggests that while e-mavens may hope their behavior is interpreted by the sender as altruistic, what they are really trying to do is to signal their distinctiveness and establish their identity. 4.2. Limitations and future research The implications drawn from this research should be considered in light of several constraints. First the generalizability of the study is limited by the use of a convenience sample of college-aged students. While the use of student samples can impede concluding how non-student consumers will respond, given the primary objective of this research was to provide theoretical insights into the psychology of the e-maven, we believe the use of a student sample is justified. Furthermore, as discussed previously, college-aged students tend to be heavy users of the Internet and thus comprise an important segment to marketers. Second, our results are limited to the particular scales used. Since a number of different scales are available that can potentially tap the same constructs used in our study, it is possible that the use of different scales might impact the results. Since research shows that WOM has greater impact on product decisions compared to more traditional marketing communications such as advertising (Gilly et al., 1998 and Herr et al., 1991), a future research direction is to shift the focus to the receivers of the forwarded content. Specifically, a theoretically interesting while managerially relevant question is whether receivers would respond more favorably to a message received from a friend than to the same message received from traditional media. In this study we did not distinguish between different sources of online content and given that source credibility is a major factor influencing WOM behavior (Richins, 1983), future research should analyze the impact of source credibility on forwarding of online content. For example, a recent study of European Internet users found that blogs are more trusted compared to both traditional television advertising and email marketing (Craigie, 2006). However, the source credibility effect is potentially complex in viral marketing context. Unlike traditional WOM, e-WOM allows non-experts to forward electronic contents to an expert. In fact, if an individual knows his friend is interested in a certain area, say fashion, it is likely that he will forward fashion tips to his friend, even though he does not know much about fashion. Under similar scenarios, it is unclear if the receiver of these tips would react more favorably to the information from novice sources than if the information was received from traditional marketing communication channels. Another future research direction is to examine the characteristics of online content. Specifically, not all electronic content is created equal. Some content is more “viral” than other content. It is important to identify the characteristics of online content which are more readily forwarded by Internet users to others. Despite these limitations in this research, the present study sheds light on the interpersonal psychological profile of the e-maven. We discuss how an in-depth understanding of the e-maven and his or her psychological disposition may be critical to marketers wishing to design viral communications. Lastly, the study has also brought attention to the need to investigate the differences between communication in the offline and online worlds.