What The Buzz Is Going On

Published by MBA Skool Team, Published on January 13, 2014

Today we all hear the buzz about the buzz marketing. So what’s this buzz is all about. Wikipedia defines buzz marketing as the interaction of consumers and users of a product or service which serves to amplify the original marketing message, a vague but positive association, excitement, or anticipation about a product or service. Today every organization wants to create a buzz of its own product in the market because these buzz are promoted by the individuals which can be trusted easily rather than the organizations who always promote their vested interests.

Image Courtesy: freedigitalphotos.net, renjith krishnan

The role it plays in the business depends on four factors: the nature of your product, the people one is trying to reach, the customer connectivity, and the strategies used in the industry. Since these factors can change over time, the importance of buzz to the business and industry can fluctuate.

Nature of Your Products

We all know that some products do not tend to produce discussion. Paper clips, for example, will not generate much buzz whatever you do. They’re cheap, they’re simple, and there’s nothing new about them. This last point is key. When paper clips were new, during the second half of the nineteenth century, people probably talked about them more than they do now, much in the same way that people talked about Post-it notes when they came out.

The excitement is higher in the early days of a category, and so are prices, risks, and uncertainties. Over the years, as the novelty wears off, as the product becomes simpler and the monetary risk lower, people still talk about it—just not as much. This is a natural process that accompanies the life cycle of each product.


Products that somehow create high involvement among customers created the buzz:

• Exciting products, such as books, records, and movies.

• Innovative products. People talk about them both because these products may provide new benefits and because people are impressed by the ingenuity of the creators.

• Personal experience products. When personal experience is needed to assess the product or the service, buzz can be expected. Hotels, airlines, cars, books—all can be classified under this category.

• Complex products like software or medical devices. Here the motivation derives from the need to reduce risk.

• Expensive products, such as computers or consumer electronics.

• Observable products, such as clothes, cars, and cellular phones. People tend to talk about what they see. If your product is invisible to them, they are less likely to discuss it.

People one is trying to Reach

The second factor in determining the importance of buzz to your business is the audience. Different audiences have a different propensity to talk about products. It’s part of the culture. Many Hispanics, for example, tend to rely more on their peers for advice on everything from beer to banking, according to Felipe Korzenny, principal and co-founder of Cheskin Research. One study found that Japanese companies use more referral sources than American firms in searching for services such as advertising, banking, and accounting. Age can play a role here, too. Young people, who tend to socialize more and be more influenced by their peers than their elders, seem to talk more about products. A study by Roper Starch found that twenty something women who liked a clothing item recommended it twice as many times as did Baby Boomers who liked the item. Another study from Maritz Marketing Research shows that 58 percent of people between 18 and 24 rely on others to some extent when selecting a new car, while on 30 percent of people 55 or older do.

Even scientists rely heavily on word of mouth in purchasing products. Scientists broadcast information they gather through journals, conferences, lectures, and informal conversations. The exchange of information is a way for them to enhance their research, and they often apply this idea to their purchasing behaviour as well.

Connection with the Customer

The more connected customers are to each other, the more the business depend on their buzz for future business. To see the full impact of this, look at a company like Cisco that has always served a tightly connected customer base. Cisco sells the hardware devices that glue the Internet together; almost by definition, all of its customers (network administrators) and information technology managers) are heavy users of the Internet. “Our company started by word of mouth. There was no advertising,” says Keith Fox, vice president of corporate marketing at Cisco.

What this connectivity means to Cisco is that they have to be very open and direct with their customers. If they screw up, their customers will find out about it within minutes. The importance of high-quality products and top service increases, and the cumulative satisfaction of customers becomes critical. “Other companies say, ‘We listen to the customer,’ but you don’t often get the chief executive sitting down with you like that. The guy really is listening to the market.”

Buzz Varies According to the Marketing Strategy

Organization’s marketing strategy—as well as those of the competitors—may affect the degree to which one rely on buzz. Central purchases, for example, can somewhat reduce your dependency on work of mouth. Pepsi reduces the need for buzz when it cuts a deal with a high school to have only Pepsi vending machines on campus.

This article has been authored by Ravi Ranjan from IMT-Ghaziabad






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