I had a phone conversation today with a colleague regarding what “Buzz Marketing” was and how to best implement it into a campaign. This is an interesting question, in which, there are many schools of thought. Many people go about buzz marketing, or word-of-mouth campaigns in a way that does more harm than help. With so many other people putting their two bits in about buzz marketing, I decided I’d go ahead and lay out my theory on building buzz with your marketing campaign.
Grab Attention and Keep It
It sickens me when I get a message through Facebook, Twitter, or e.mail that claims to be someone that I know or that is interested in something that I supposedly like. Automation is not the way to build a buzz campaign. If you ask me, the best way to build word-of-mouth or buzz is simply by engaging your audience in a fun and creative way. Don’t tell them what their supposed to think or believe, but rather set into place a system that they want to believe in. Give your audience something they want to talk about. Forcing a message is never the way to go about spreading news of your product or service. If you truly want people to talk about your product then make it the best it can be and then when it comes time to promote it, create an event or presentation of some kind that is worth talking about. When I was in school, to raise money for new computers, we had our principal promise that she would put her desk on the roof of the school and use that as her office. Each $10,000 that was raised through various fund-raisers would result in another day on the roof. The media loved it and more importantly, ALL of the students wanted to see their principal conducting business from the roof. In two weeks we raised nearly $70,000 and our principal spent a lot of time on a windy roof. That’s what buzz marketing is all about!
Use advertising to generate press for your product.
Let’s face it, there is WAY too much advertising for someone with a small ad budget to break through all the noise. Even those companies that do break through, aren’t seeing the returns that they could see if they would just refocus their ads. Too often are people with ad budgets wasting them away, when they could see plentiful returns. The key is grabbing attention, as mentioned above, and then capitalizing on that attention, or raising awareness to others through your advertising. If I’m Red Bull and I advertise that “Red Bull Give You Wings” there’s a good chance that the average reader is going to skip over that ad. But, if I’m Red Bull and I advertise, “Red Bull Flugtag: A contest to build the most outrageous machine that you can possibly think of…and then fly it into a lake!” Now, I have something worth talking about! An ad for something like Red Bull’s Flugtag generates a lot more buzz between people, but more importantly, gets the press writing about Flugtag. And consumers are always going to trust the press more than they trust traditional advertising. Make your product newsworthy somehow and then promote it through good advertising and PR.
Engage the consumer even after your campaign is over.
I see so many campaigns that spend millions of dollars building a customer or fan base in a certain demographic and then the next year roles around and they start from scratch. You should constantly be nurturing those that are gracious enough to give your company or product the time of day. Many campaigns run for 60-90 days (if that) and then leave their fan base high and dry, longing for more. A great way to remedy this is to build your product the best it can be, create a way to promote it that is newsworthy, couple that event with appropriate advertising and then continue to engage your consumer with branded content and relevant information on the web. It could be as simple as a blog that is updated three times a week or get as complicated as offering five new branded content videos every single week. The key is to take the attention that consumers are granting you and keep it. I might see an ad campaign that I really like, but not be in the market for their product at the time. Three months pass and the campaign ends with no attempt to keep me informed on what is happening with the brand. Six months later, I’m in the market for that product or something similar, but have forgotten about your brand. But, had you merely kept an interesting blog that was relevant to me and reflected why your brand is great, then maybe I would have bought from you. Maybe 100,000 people in my demographic would have done the same. Don’t abandon those who have been so kind to grant you a little bit of their attention. It’s rude.
A Quick Recap
In the end, I’ve been talking about ways to build buzz about your product without spending too much money. I’ve also highlighted some ways you can spend a lot of money and see little, if any, return. To recap, here are the main points you should consider when putting together a marketing and advertising strategy:
- Build your product or service to be the best it can be.
- Create a way to promote it that is newsworthy.
- Couple an event or promotion with appropriate advertising and PR.
- Continue to engage your consumer with branded content and relevant information on the web.
If you just use this as a guideline when putting together your next campaign, you’ll find that you can stretch your ad dollar significantly and start building relationships with your customers that last longer than any 60-day campaign could ever hope to achieve. Your customers are people. They want to know that your company is run by people. So, make your campaigns about people communicating with people, and you’ll have more customers than you ever thought possible.