Buzz Marketing

I’ve been reading up and studying buzz marketing for a while now. A year or so ago I was at Barnes and Noble in Westlake Center in Seattle. It’s a beautiful place, one of several nice open areas in Seattle, a good place to catch some sun, read a book and watch people being themselves.

Anyhow, I went to Barnes and Noble to read up on information retrieval but ended up buying Emanuel Rosen’s The Anatomy of Buzz.

It’s funny how many books which start out with the stated intention of discussing buzz end up discussing word of mouth marketing. The two are similar in many ways, but also very different things. If you go to Wikipedia’s Buzz Marketing page, you’ll see that you actually end up on a page titled Word of Mouth Marketing.

Let’s define.

Word of mouth is Advertising generated by a satisfied or interested consumers who tell others about the product or service.

Buzz Marketing is Advertising generated by interested media who find the product, service or approach to be newsworthy.

Of course, it’s all semantics and subject to individual interpretation. I know a lot of folks will say that both buzz marketing and word of mouth marketing are consumer based, and neither one is media based, but all that does is leave us without a word for media based marketing (“publicity marketing” just doesn’t fit the bill).

So generally speaking there are two differences between buzz marketing and word of mouth marketing.

Word of mouth marketing is consumer based. If I go to Safeway and buy a head of cabbage, and it’s the freshest head of cabbage I’ve ever laid eyes on, and I tell my neighbors and friends and they in turn go to Safeway, witness the blessedness of the cabbage and tell their friends somewhere down the line, then we can safely say that Safeway has enjoyed some word of mouth marketing.

You’d be stretching it to say that there was a buzz marketing campaign afoot.

And Safeway may benefit from word of mouth marketing for years and decades to come. To draw from real life experience, I’ve often heard others say that Safeway has the best prices on meat, cheese and milk. Yes, that’s the word on the street. I wouldn’t call it a buzz, but for over a decade now I’ve heard these things.

(My 11 year old son likes Safeway because a hot blonde works there, but she’s a senior in high school so I think he should give it up. 😉 )

By contrast, an example of buzz marketing would be the v7ndotcom elursrebmem SEO contest. The contest created a buzz that was picked up by pretty much every SEO news site and even several non-SEO news outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal. There were radio interviews about it, print media interviews and I ended up giving three or four interviews about the contest myself.

Word of Mouth Marketing

Here we see that Safeway is being talked about and perhaps enjoying some word of mouth marketing on blogs. What you want to note here is that the mentions of Safeway are relatively constant, no obvious spikes or drops. And this pattern will probably continue for decades.

Buzz Marketing

Buzz marketing, on the other hand produces a more radical graph. A sudden spike, followed closely by a sharp drop off.

Now my question is, how does one design a buzz marketing campaign that consists of spike after spike after spike, or one big never ending spike?

Your feedback is appreciated. My next post will be more about buzz marketing.

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