Friends Make Better Marketers

Many companies have acknowledged the influence of social marketing. Confirming the influence of peer-to-peer marketing is Sephora, a retail beauty chain. As reported in this article in Internet Retailer last year, Sephora, after implementing an “online viral marketing campaign” where certain individuals were picked to test products and spread the word, the company reported that their online response rate from this campaign was three times higher than other forms of online marketing including banner ads, and links from company generated e-mails.

More recently, as reported in this article at, Internet start-up SocialMedia Networks is announcing that they have a new twist that will also help media buyers increase the success of their online advertisements. What they are offering is a new technology, called Social Banners that will incorporate consumers that are deemed influential among their peer group into their ads.

Social Banners would use a Friend Rank system, similar to that of Google’s Page Rank, where a specific algorithm would determine an individual’s influence on their peer group. As stated by Seth Goldstein, founder of SocialMedia Networks, "FriendRank basically helps us choose which friends to put in the ad." The data would be gathered from sources such as Facebook, and MySpace. But the question remains, will consumers respond to any overt marketing even through their social network.


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