Meme Marketing: A New Language to Learn

This is the golden era of internet and it has already proved its wider reach many a time. It plays a vital role in the field of business and connects it to its existing and potential customers. The internet has become a “must-have resource” for various functions of businesses, specifically marketing. It is a dynamic field with a lot of scope for “out-of-the-box” thinking. People working in this field experiment with everything to follow current waves and create new ones. Starting from conventional ways of marketing to internet-enabled ways including social media, professional media, digital marketing, Insta marketing, green marketing, or technology advanced marketing, it is leaving no stone unturned. One such recent entry into this area is ‘Meme Marketing’. Though done by a handful of social media users, meme influencers, and a few fully dedicated meme pages, very few businesses are taking it seriously since it is more of an unorganized way of marketing. Meme marketing is a sort of conversational style of communicating a message and is capable enough to grab attention from the general public. For conventional marketing, Amul is a good example as it uses conversation-style and relates to every second event from current affairs (such as Terror, Bollywood, Politics, Social, etc.) and successfully connects with their consumers and even beyond.

Meme-marketing is an extended version of conversational marketing on latest internet-enabled platforms that connects a majority of people via smartphones and creates the “Viral Meme” trend. On Instagram, meme-influencer, Akshar Pathak always successfully engages his followers with memes on various ongoing events like COVID-19, lockdown, Work from Home (WFH), Alexa, Diwali cleaning, and second and third wave of COVID.

Similar to Tik-Tokers (Tik-Tok communities), meme influencers and their communities are gaining popularity with every passing day. Recently, Pizza Hut (India) did just that through a paid partnership with Akshar Pathak. They used meme marketing to launch “Momo-Pizza”, a new special for momo-lovers giving them the chance to have a taste of both in one go.

Now, after gaining popularity,meme marketing is becoming the need of the hour. It is identifying a huge gap between how businesses communicate with their target audience and how the target audience wants them to communicate. As a viewer, you might have noticed that businesses are so aggressive to communicate with you via YouTube advertisements whereas you actively wait for 1,2,3,4, and 5, so that you can instantly press the SKIP button. The question here is – what exactly is wrong that your own target audience rejects your entire campaign in just 5 seconds? It might be the wrong product or channel, or timing, or target group, or a wrong method of communication. If it were the wrong method of communication, it is a very serious issue for businesses. It is high time that demographics of target audience is understood. If it is the ‘youth’ that you are targeting then you must think and act like them.

As consumers, do we really want a serious “call to buy” products and services from marketers? Or, would a “humorous call for action” ensure higher attention towards products and services? Nowadays, people want to consume memes as it doesn’t seem like a paid ad containing a direct ‘call to action’. They want to read jokes or stories where nobody is expecting them to buy or consume the product. The key to success – Keep It Short and Simple (KISS). Now just wait and watch, will more businesses will come this way?

Prof.Anuradha Yadav
Assistant Professor,
DSCE-MBA

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