How often have you raved about a restaurant with your friend? Or gushed about the customer service at your local grocery store, talked excitedly about a book you read or movie you saw?
Without knowing it, we inadvertently drum up business for anyone we talk about. Word of mouth has been the most credible source of advertisement leaving behind all other strategic campaigns marketers may employ to achieve the same effect. This buzz marketing tactic has existed long before the internet, but new life has been breathed into it by social media platforms and influencers. Buzz marketing can be used to promote any product worthy of the hype.
What Is Buzz Marketing?
The digital age has allowed marketers direct access to consumers, which is a godsend for buzz marketing campaigns. Every product aims at creating a buzz since it can bombard the user with exponentially more marketing messages than possible by any other means.
Buzz marketing is a technique where all the focus is on maximizing word of mouth potential for a particular product or service. Buzz marketing can be used to promote higher education institutions, events, online courses, technology products and just about any product worthy of the hype.
It can be done through various means such as conversations between consumers' friends and family or on a much larger scale discussion on social media platforms.
Buzz marketers employ influencers and social media to start targeted conversations. They make use of creative content and live promotions to capture attention. The concept behind it is to design a unique campaign that hopefully goes viral and gains exposure beyond measure.
Think of the campaign Pepsi started by appointing Blackpink - KPop as the brand ambassador. The brand used the Korean band’s global reach and leveraged it to forward the brand messaging.
Buzz marketing is different from other types because it targets certain groups of people on specific channels. It could be both online or in person, to generate interest. The idea doesn't stop with the initial respondent but keeps on going, spreads like wildfire, and inspires prompt action.
How Buzz Marketing Works?
In the digital world, social media marketing is essentially the driving factor behind buzz marketing. Facebook and Twitter are some of the most widely used social platforms for buzz marketing. Using such social media platforms, businesses can:
- Receive feedback about their products
- Interact with their customers
- Address the concerns and issues of their customers
- Market their products and services
Creating shareable content and building a strong social media presence is what helps businesses market their products to existing and potential customers.
Some of the common online buzz marketing strategies include:
- Collaborate with influencers to talk about your product or service. A lot of businesses give their products to influencers prior to their official release in exchange for a social mention.
- Engaging with your customers on forums and communities to answer their frequently asked questions.
- Creating a community where your customer can interact with your business and other customers. Facebook and Reddit are great places to build communities of loyal customers.
Buzz marketing is somewhat different from outbound marketing. In traditional outbound marketing, businesses reach out to wide audiences in hopes to convert a few people. On the other hand, buzz marketing values one-on-one personal marketing. But despite not targeting a massive audience with Buzz marketing, it is still much more powerful than traditional outbound marketing.
The reason is trust.
People trust word of mouth. People perceive word of mouth as unbiased. If they hear about a product from someone they trust, they would want to get it right away without hesitation.
That being said, Buzz marketing is not easy to execute. The thing about Buzz marketing is that it catches customers off guard. For example, posting an Instagram story that is plain absurd from a corporate Instagram account is enough to stir things up.
Like this example here:
The post mentioned above from Durex is funny and highly shareable. It is among one of the best buzz marketing examples out there.
Although Buzz marketing is highly effective, it should be used sparingly. If used too much, it loses its charm and becomes pointless. Also, most businesses fail to relate their buzz marketing campaigns with their actual products. They do manage to get people talking about their post, but can barely get people to acknowledge the company behind the buzz content.
Buzz marketing done right is when companies create some content that’s either funny, controversial, or absurd and share it on social media in hopes to drive massive traction for their brand.
A lot of businesses often leverage certain viral trends to promote their brand. For instance, we all remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from a few years back. A lot of businesses marketed their brands by creating viral funny videos of people and celebrities dumping ice-cold water over their heads.
All in all, Buzz marketing is highly effective in getting brands the reach they want. Since it essentially involves word of mouth, it can convert people more effectively than traditional marketing practices.
Who Uses Buzz Marketing?
Many of the big leagues like Domino's Pizza, Unilever, Spotify, and Dunkin' Donuts use buzz marketing. However, buzz marketing isn't limited to big companies.
For instance, if a new bakery or restaurant gave away free stuff on opening day and covered it on social media, then it would create an instant buzz, both in-person and online. It's a relatively small case but is a perfect example of how effective buzz marketing is for companies of all sizes.
Who's The Target Audience When Using Buzz Marketing?
If you have pinned down different consumers' personas, then your target audience is the group that's most likely to invest in your service or product. They will also be the ones who respond to your buzz marketing campaign the most.
Your target audience can fall in varying age ranges, be retirees, school teachers, or fitness freaks to cat owners or a mixture of them all. Look online at the many social media influencers to get an idea of how many kinds of markets exist for you to target.
Buzz Marketing Strategies
Buzz marketing is a new take on content marketing. Your content needs to create enough excitement that gets people talking about it. This requires in-depth knowledge of what your consumers want and gives them an opportunity to speak for themselves.
There are seven main strategies used to successfully deploy buzz marketing, as detailed below.
1. Online campaigns
Online campaigns use social media as the primary medium of creating a buzz. To have a measurable effect on consumers, the brand's social pages must have a substantial number of subscribers or followers.
Triggering emotions is an incredible way to use online exposure. It sends a personalized message that everyone can relate to and makes people talk about for years afterward. The more demanding options are marathons and challenges among social media users. You can create a new call or join an existing one as Vineyard Vines did in 2019 by joining the #bottlecapchallenge.
2. Offline campaigns
This one may be old-school, but it's a tried and tested method of buzz marketing. It's impactful in many ways, including:
- Customer service
- Offline brand-sponsored events
- Offline advertisements
- Offline marathons
The key ingredient should be content that evokes strong emotions. An example is Tinder which was promoted offline before becoming insanely popular. Its head of marketing threw a party at American University and invited all attendees to install the new app. Tinder was an all-around hit on the entire campus by morning.
3. Partner up with influencers
Influencers are bloggers, vloggers, or celebrities who have a massive following with plenty of influence over them. The criterion of who can be called an influencer is regularly changing.
Initially, celebrities such as actors, athletes, and musicians were considered influential. Due to the spread of social networks, bloggers have replaced them. They created relevant content, and people were able to relate more to them hence gathering a large following.
When utilizing influencer marketing to create a buzz, an involvement is developed where a blogger mentions the brand several times. Over time the followers wonder what's there to love so much about the brand.
Mercedes Benz did this in a simple yet effective way by inviting a blogger to advertise for them. It wasn't your run-of-the-mill blogger but a dog keeper with over 2 million followers on Instagram! Later Mercedes contracted César Azpilicueta as a brand ambassador.
4. Create demand
Increasing product demand is a universal challenge faced by all brands, but it is the limited editions that grab one-time attention and attain the status of being a household name.
Exclusivity is immensely appealing since it creates the illusion of having a choice for its users. Brands that produce high-end items take advantage of this psyche all the time. Fortunately, other mass-market companies can also use it effectively.
Buzz marketing is a form of creating rumors and using them as a tool to fight competition. You can spread both good rumors about your own products and negative ones about rivals. It works in your favor if what you say is true in both cases.
6. Use the scarcity principle
The scarcity principle dictates that if a product is hard to get, it becomes more valuable. Dr. Robert Cialdini first coined the term “scarcity principle”. The rarer a service or product gets, the more expensive it becomes. If we get the impression that a certain product is going to become scarce, we’re more likely to buy it fearing that it may run out.
We’ve seen the scarcity principle in action during the peak of COVID. Masks and sanitizers got swept off the shelves. People started hoarding essential items and because of that, prices of masks, sanitizers, and toilet paper skyrocketed.
Businesses can use the scarcity principle to entice people to purchase a certain product, fill out lead forms or perform any other action. The scarcity principle is common on eCommerce websites. You may have seen a lot of products with a small note that reads “only 3 left” - or something like that. Seeing that there are only a few articles left, an eager customer will make a purchase.
When a potential customer experiences something amazing, they’ll likely share it and create a buzz around it. Marketers can easily create buzz around a product or service by offering their audience something remarkable. People tend to instinctively talk more about a product when they know more about it - that’s how buzz marketing essentially works.
A humorous buzz is created when marketers include something funny in their marketing campaigns. Most people simply love sharing funny content such as memes, videos, skits across social media. Using hilarious campaigns, marketers can create buzz for their business.
Here’s a really cool example of humorous buzz marketing content:
This ad from BUDWEISER is old, but because it’s funny, people still share it on social media to this day. Their advertisement got so viral that a lot of movies and many other commercials referenced it. It created such a massive buzz that a lot of people still remember it as one of the best commercials of all time.
How to Generate Buzz for Your Brand?
According to statistics, 83% of consumers trust their peers over brand advertising, making it an essential element of all types of marketing campaigns. Here's how you can generate guaranteed buzz for your brand with proven strategies:
- Be people-centered instead of product-centered
It may be your brand or product in the spotlight, but people play a larger role in creating a buzz around it. Establishing a positive buzz is only possible by focusing your marketing efforts on your target audience's needs, interests, hobbies, hangouts, etc.
- Channel influencers
Influencers inspire trust. People relate to them on a level that they do not work with celebrities. Using influencers to your benefit can help you gain the attention of their followers for your own products or services.
- Deploy the scarcity principle
The scarcity principle claims that creating a mismatch between supply and demand induced by the brand itself can increase its popularity. The concept is used by eCommerce by launching flash sales that not only enhance demand but also create the desired buzz around the product.
Similar tactics include limited-time offers, use it or lose it, for limited consumers, etc.
- Leverage the network effect
The network effect is where a product becomes increasingly valuable when more people use it. Capitalizing on the network effect is significantly more effective than using it as a type of buzz. For instance, the more people that use WhatsApp, the more worthy it becomes, and the company can use it to attract more customers rather conveniently.
- Other buzz marketing techniques
Some other useful buzz buttons that brands can use to generate buzz are:
- Suspense: enabling discussions with teasers or images about a new product creating suspense.
- Guerrilla marketing: using unconventional marketing methods to get more reach without over-the-top costs and resources.
- Taboo: get people talking about things they shouldn't.
- Humor: getting people to laugh out loud is an art. It's more challenging since being funny isn't easy when it comes to business.
- Secrets: it's human nature to know about something that we shouldn't and tell other people about it.
- Unexpected: the goal here is to create content that stands out from the hordes of other content. Creating a buzz means standing out, not blending in.
4 Successful Examples of Buzz Marketing
Buzz marketing has been and is being used worldwide for its many advantages. It reaches all corners of the globe, especially remote areas, basically because it utilizes the mouth by ear strategy. Below are some examples for inspiration:
1. Old Spice
The latest generation of Old Spice users doesn't know that it wasn't always this renowned.
Initially, it was a pioneer in the field, but it got lost in the noise when other similar brands popped up. Jumping ahead to 2010, we see a whole new image of the brand, some of which became meme material and are used to date. Its first buzz marketing campaign's video, 'The Man, Your Man Could Smell Like,' was a cacophony of buttons, including the hilarious, unexpected, and unique.
The buzz it created didn't stop there and made waves generating heightened curiosity week after week.
Uber has had over 103 million active users in over 700 cities since its launch in 2009. Their new app was pretty simple with a low-budget marketing strategy. Due to their incredible selling point, users were quick to mention their experiences with colleagues and friends.
Uber started sponsoring events, offered free rides, and encouraged referrals through a discount code. The discount was presented to both parties making this a two-way incentive that had all the reasons to be shared, and users responded as expected.
This just goes to show that marketing doesn't have to be dependent on a huge budget. A compelling campaign that showcases your USP is what connects you to users.
Apple does some exceptional buzz marketing. Their campaigns for Macintosh became most prominent when tried with other marketing ideas like advertising. Apple has become synonymous with originality, making them stand out from the rest of the industry.
Their famous trigger: 'one more thing..' used after corporate presentations was an indication that something big was on the way. It was used several times for launching products such as the iPod Mini, iMac G4, and the MacBook Pro.
Starbucks' primary source of advertising has always been word of mouth, and they acknowledge that fact publicly. But they have always backed their popularity with their high standard quality ensuring to not just retain the hype but enhance it.
The way Starbucks has adopted buzz marketing is illuminating. Its customized products and welcoming ambiance have been the main aspects of creating a brand's positive buzz.
Buzz Marketing Video Example
Buzz marketing can have different types. For example, it can be created around:
Each type of buzz marketing tactic focuses on specific triggers to get their audience talking. For example, here’s one ad called “ Girls Don't Poop - PooPourri.com”.
Yes, this is a real ad and it is a real product.
This buzz marketing ad leverages taboo. Talking about something that a lot of people simply don’t like to talk about. Taboo is something that is not ordinary - something that is forbidden.
While pooping - excuse our childish humor - is not necessarily taboo, when we talk about women pooping, yeah… not a lot of people feel comfortable about it. The ad example from PooPourri does exactly that. Taking a humorous approach to talking about something that is somewhat taboo, they created an ad that most of us think is funny and shareable.
Taboo in buzz marketing can be used to make a product more popular. Controversial content also works great in buzz marketing. It entices people to pick a side and spark debates - all of which are great for Buzz marketing campaigns.
How is buzz marketing effective?
The reason why Buzz marketing is so effective is that it is essentially word-of-mouth marketing. People trust the recommendation of their peers. In fact, according to marketing research, 92% of all consumers trust the recommendations of their friends and family when buying something.
This type of advertising is one of the most cost-effective approaches to marketing. Consumers essentially spread the good word about your brand for free without you having to invest in paid marketing strategies.
What is the difference between buzz marketing and viral marketing?
The key difference between buzz marketing and viral marketing is how your brand message reaches your target audience. If we talk about viral marketing, your messages will reach your target audience slowly and gradually. Buzz marketing on the other hand helps deliver your messages to a massive target audience instantly and all at once.
Don't wait any longer and get people talking about your brand with smart, intellectual, and witty buzz marketing strategies. Every brand has got a color and so does yours. Come up with a buzzing idea and watch it take off!