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Diffusion Marketing: An Innovative Marketing Approach for Social Media 07/03/2015

Posted by Aykut ARIKAN in Uncategorized.

Below, you may find the extended abstract of my paper in progress for CMC2015.

Feel free to comment…


“Do you remember the good old ads in conventional media of the twentieth century – cars, banks, FMCG brands, oil companies, apparel, fast food, computers, toys, etc.? Select the target audience, find a creative concept, deliver a value proposition, compose a relevant message, find a catchphrase, choose the medium, make your deals, and let it go. All mechanisms of influence were so linear. Today, there is a major paradigm shift in all media businesses. Social technologies together with the user-generated content approach have been marking the dawn of a new era related to such a thing called Social Media.

As a game changer, social media have set new rules of engagement for the media of the twenty-first century. We are no more looking for a target audience, for we know that it is the key influencer we need to target. We shall no more compose messages, because messages emerge collaboratively through engagement of that key audience. Accordingly, catchphrases, slogans, and mottos do not matter as much as they did in the last century. But more than that, we may not let it go, any-more.

Social media as a novel social structure are indeed network structures that reflect both relationships (edges) and actions (vectors) between users (nodes). All nodes are free agents that have the ability to make choices of what action to take. Thus, these free agents produce and reproduce the content together with the diffusion of this content. All these are realized within the context of a network. As a matter of fact, free agents may also have the ability to choose to what message to engage to. So, primarily there are diffusion patterns of content of social media. Accordingly, any diffusion pattern of content in social media is indeed a game, as a consequence of choices made by free agents. Secondly, there are engagement rules that produce and reproduce messages. Consequently, messages in social media are reconstructed meanings that are triggered by diffusions of content, but formed by the rules of engagement.

As an innovative marketing approach, Diffusion Marketing is based on a conglomerate of three theoretical frameworks: Diffusion Theory, Graph Theory, and Game Theory. Diffusion Theory initiated by Rogers (2003) is devoted to analysing diffusion patterns. Graph Theory concentrates on topologically analysing morphological structures of these diffusions represented by graphs (Easley & Kleinberg). Whereas, Game Theory focuses on analysing these diffusion patterns as games. All three approaches are due to make use of large datasets derived from social media data that incorporate data on users (node data), relationships (edge data), interactions (vector data), as well as textual and audiovisual data of content clusters. This enormous amount of data is only due to be analysed by all these three approaches jointly with a fourth one: Big Data.

A variety of prototypical analyses, such as Network Structure Analysis, Active and Passive Engagement Analysis, Structural Organization Hole Analysis, Network Partitioning Analysis, Structural Balance Analysis, Strategic Reasoning Analysis, and Business Network Cluster Analysis may be originated from this novel framework.

Besides, visual models, such as Influencer Mapping, Network Activity Mapping, Key Audience Mapping, Shortest Path Mapping, Flow Determination Mapping, Homophily Mapping, Heterophily Mapping, Best Response Mapping, Viral Mapping, Key Audience Mapping / Boundary Spanner, Key Audience Mapping / Information Broker, Key Audience Mapping / Peripheral Specialist, Key Audience Mapping / Central Connector, Voting Action Mapping, Epidemic Mapping, and Networked Coordination Game Mapping may be resolved from the analyses mentioned above.

In addition to these, two innovative marketing solution attempts may be summarized under Epidemic Modelling and Networked Coordination Game Modelling. Both of these deliver the value proposition of Diffusion Marketing as an innovative marketing approach for social media.

The primary objective of this paper is to deliver a descriptive and theoretical framework for the concept of Diffusion Marketing as an innovative marketing approach for social media. A Research Question for that objective may be formulated as: “how can a prototypical framework for Diffusion Marketing be defined?”. Therefore, the methodological approach for this will rather be descriptive in nature.

Empirical observations on actual social media data will be delivered within this framework, reflecting on social media data of the private Facebook network of the author of this paper. These empirical observations may provide scientific conclusions that may help to comprehend and to investigate the theoretical framework for Diffusion Marketing explained above.

Broadly taken, the novel and prototypical nature of this innovative approach, is due to further clarification and research, as well it is due to be developed further in practice. Consequently, the enormous speed of development of social media, both quantitatively and qualitatively, makes further research and modelling a necessity. Besides, analysis and modelling techniques that are in constant development themselves, deliver a positive contribution to this necessity.”



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