The former lawyer and state senator campaigned to be the most powerful man in the world, The president of the United States of America. Barack Obama promised to bring a change with a change in the way politicians had campaigned for years.Obama exploited the power of electronic word of mouth and his campaign went viral.
Besides his own website,Obama has over 24.3 million members on his Facebook page and over 7.7 million followers on Twitter. The median age of the US is 36.8 years and the social networking websites like Facebook have a penetration of over 40% (ref) in the USA. While other politicians were busy focusing on the traditional expensive media, Obama realised this. His innovative viral campaign helped him connect to the young crowd who were ready for the change. Obama still uses its online tools to keep in touch with its huge online community and has made full use of it to announce its 2012 election(www.bbc.co.uk- accessed on 11th May 2011).
Obama suggested that his campaigns start small, but because they are viral in nature, they grow huge. The credits for his success in marketing himself go to the people and the power of internet. After all, that’s what was democracy was defined as, Of the people, by the people and for the people. Obama realised the internet is the new domain of todays people. It is not only Obama who realised it, but also, there are numerous brands that have realised this. And whoever has been successful in reaching the people the online way have achieved success.
In 1998, Hotmail acquired more than 12 million subscribers in over 18 months, by spending as less as half a million US Dollars, compared to its competitor Juno who spent more than 20 million US Dollars. The only difference in their marketing strategy was that Hotmail adopted the technique of viral marketing. It appended a little promotional line at the end of every email its user sent. This created awareness amongst the other email users hence spread the buzz (Rayport, 1996).
The global advertisement industry is worth more than $500 billion (Reid, 2003) and this industry has seen changes over a period of time. Nowadays, from the door of a taxi to the shelves in an airplane, everything is used as a medium for broadcasting advertisements. This industry has embraced this new concept of spreading the word for the customers, with the customers and sometimes purely by the customers.
There are numerous examples where people receive an interesting email, be it about Obama’s campaign or be it Jenifer Aniston’s sex tape video promoting Smart water, where the video has nothing sex-related except for the name but at least has been successful in increasing the sales of this brand of packaged water.
Marketing does not know barriers of the product being marketed and has followed the same rule, from the sector of politics to the sector of FMCG, from promoting a pin to promoting an air-plane.