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RG

IN CONTEXT

FOCUS

Word-of-mouth marketing

KEY DATES

Early 1970s US psychologist George Silverman pioneers the study of WOMM. He noted the persuasive power of peers within research groups testing new pharmaceutical products.

1976 UK biologist Richard Dawkins articulates how trends spread through a natural process of imitation.

1997 The spread of the webmail service Hotmail becomes one of the first examples of online viral marketing.

2012 Beverage manufacturer Red Bull sponsors Felix Baumgartner to make the highest-ever skydiving jump, which attracts 8 million views of the live feed on YouTube—a social-media record.

Although the catchphrase is contemporary, ...

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