I have been blogging about buzz marketing for months now; looking at the freshest, most recent articles on the internet. We have gone over a wide variety of buzz marketing techniques and procedures, as well as pros and cons, generic ways to spread buzz, and looked at PR, advertising, and marketing , all in an effort- a never ending search, to discover what is at the heart of word of mouth marketing.
One of the most common "tried and true" methods of buzz marketing that seems to always pop up, is the basic giveaways, or free samples. Grocery stores started doing this way back in the day, in order to promote brands and increase sales. As an unseen added benefit, people took back with them more than just the 2.99 chicken poppers. They took home a little fun experience, and started slowly spreading the word to family, friends, and co-workers.
We also have figured out that buzz, or word of mouth marketing starts with the product. Many companies don't even put effort into the "buzz" marketing that large corporations try to jumpstart. Take Google, or facebook for instance. These online companies thrived on no advertising at all. To paraphrase Seth Godin, "They are products worth talking about". A truly great product will generate word of mouth naturally, and spread organically. This is something every brand strives to do- but lets face it, not every product is "worth talking about". That leaves us marketing guys with the task to buzz market everyday commodities like, tissue paper, glue, and socks. That is where this blog comes in. We have focused on using money to create buzz, through ads, giveaways, samples, etc. We have seen that sometimes this works, while other times, fails miserably. Lets take a look at what works and what doesn't.
Buzz Marketing that works.
A little while ago a did a blog post about Welsh's grape juice and their lickable ads. The ads consisted of a tear off film which dissolves into your mouth. It is completely sanitary and quite innovative as well. Now, while its hard to measure how effective this ad was , seeing the enormous amount of blog posts, online buzz, and news stations (PR) covering this ad. "Oh thats cool! Is it safe? Yuck! Yum!" A wide variety of opinions were present, but it didn't matter, because Welsh s Grape Juice already accomplished what they had intended to do, even before the ad appeared in a magazine. PR was prevalent all over the country, and it was all free advertising before they even advertised it. In my opinion, this is an example of buzz marketing that works. Because of the innovative and radical advertising approach, the ad created curiosity and forehead smacking responses. All in all though, it was just a free sample! Which goes along with the old Bernice Fitz-Gibbon qoute, "Creativity often consists of merely turning up what us already there." They turned up what was already there, but in a new, exiting way. They turned heads and it worked.
Another example of paid buzz marketing that works is the Coors Light post that I just recently talked about. This example shows how buzz can be generated through an almost infinate amount of ways. In other words, it doesn't start and end with free samples. Small product innovations done purley for marketing purposes- and I will list of the 4 p's of Price, Product, Promotions, and Placement. Tweaking any part of the marketing mix will get people talking- especially among those familiar with your product. As dumb as it is, making a minuscule dent in a can that "creates better beer flow", had drinkers from colleges to retirement homes, buzzing and buying the Coors Light because of the NEW innovation. Promotions can create buzz too, like the Hanes "Wedgie Free" campaign, discussed in a March 7th post. I did not cover price alterations much in this blog, but you can imagine how Sales in malls do wonders in buzz marketing. I don't know how many times my Mother used to always seem to know when Sears was having a sale. It seemed as though there were microchips installed in my Grandmother, Mother, and Aunt's brains that malls could activate whenever a sale was going on. And then, everyone becomes aware of it, and everyone tells there friends. Placement, or channels of distribution, doesn't seem as though it creates buzz but ponder this; A grand opening. Think about brands or products that wish to expand. If widgets were going to be distributed to new cities, buzz and grand openings, and PR would occur, with just a little help from the marketing department.
The trend with buzz marketing is buzz marketing itself. This little blurb is taken from a Business week article that I discussed months ago. "Word of mouth marketing will hit $1.3 billion this year, 33% up from 2006. In fact, the spending is estimated to triple that figure by 2011. The growth of the internet plays a big role in this spending. Many marketers are using word of mouth (WOM) to generate buzz about websites and are considering WOM to be a separate entity from advertising and public relations." Like I said, WOM has always been around, its just now being recognized and its marketing potential is being realized. For marketers that get a bit too overzealous with it however, it can fail. It is easy to get too excited over word of mouth and approach it incorrectly. It really is a delicate art to master. The next part of this post is going to be dedicated to Buzz Marketing that Fails.
Buzz Marketing that fails.
With this being said, I hope you have received some good insights and education from this blog. Remember, WOM has no boundries, can occur organically or with some creative approaches, occur from media plans. I especially like where WOM is going now with the unconventional advertising approaches. Outdoor advertising like reverse graffitti art, and stairway ads, make people stop and think. And if they are creative enough, will spur word of mouth. I am going to leave you with a series of great outdoor "ads" that I believe have accomplished WOM and this is the future of buzz marketing! Farewell!