Buzz Marketing

I just read Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes thoroughly enjoyed the marketing stories about Miller Lite, Britney Spears, Apple Macintosh, Ford Mustang, and others. The meat of the book was also interesting and I am now thinking of ways to use these ideas for the Microsoft Technology Centers.

Here is my summary of Buzzmarketing:

  • What is it?: A way to get customers and the media talking about your brand or product to the point where talking about your product becomes entertaining, fascinating, and newsworthy.
  • Buttons to start conversations: Topics that are one or more of the following: Taboo, unusual, outrageous, hilarious, remarkable, or reveal secrets.
  • Create or use popular stories: To also help conversations, use David and Goliath stories, controversial stories, unusual/outrageous, stories about celebrities, and stories about stories that are already hot topics.
  • Advertise for attention: Find places where you have the complete attention of the customer. If this means you ignore normal means of advertising, then so be it.
  • Willingness: Be willing to fight for “buzz” even if you have no budget, your management doesn’t believe in your ideas, and you know you have an uphill battle in the marketplace.
  • Creativity: Yes, it always comes down to being creative. Be honest from the start, be courageous (demand creativity from yourself and everyone around you), define the problem before the strategy, understand your customers firsthand (probably in addition to what the experts and the data tell you), try numerous ideas, initiate competition amongst creative people to encourage creativity, pay attention to the product or brand name – it shouldn’t be complex, create content – not ads
  • Protect your product: Don’t ignore your instincts, get your senior managers to care about protecting the brand, survey often only asking 2 questions: (1) “How did you first hear about us?”, and (2) “Would you go out of your way to recommend us to a friend?”, and motivate your employees 

And yes, I did see the part in the book Mark calls Microsoft a “corporate” brand as opposed to Google being a “personality” brand. We need to work on that, but I wonder what he thinks of Windows, Xbox, MSN, or Office as brands?