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February 15, 2008

10 Simple Ways to Generate Buzz & Word-of-Mouth Part 1

Advertising today not only includes the paid placement of marketing messages but also some free methods of getting your message out. Buzz and word-of-mouth marketing fit into this category — though you can also spend money to create buzz or great word of mouth. . In this 4 part article over the next few days, I explain what you need to know about these tactics and show you examples of how they work in the real world so you can put them to work for your own business. Just ensure that when you plan and implement your marketing strategy, you avoid these common marketing mistakes.

Getting the Terminology Straight

Just in case you’re still thinking that word-of-mouth marketing isn’t a legitimate, controllable, manageable approach to promoting your product or service, think again. An entire professional association is devoted to word-of-mouth marketing, called the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, or WOMMA — a hilariously memorable acronym.

More important, though, is the fact that WOMMA consists of corporate members only (not individuals), which means that big companies are just as interested in word-of-mouth marketing as small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. For example, just look at a few of the companies that are members of WOMMA — the A&E TV network, Coca-Cola, Dell computers, General Motors, Yahoo!, and Zondervan religious publishing.

In the marketing world, Acronym’s and Jargon are thrown around all over the place, yet there are some subtle yet important differences between recent marketing terms, which I share with you here:

  • Word of mouth: The act of consumers providing information to other consumers.
  • Word-of-mouth marketing: Giving people a reason to talk about your products and services and making it easier for that conversation to take place.
  • Buzz marketing: Using high-profile entertainment or news to get people to talk about your brand.
  • Viral marketing: Creating entertaining or informative messages that are designed to be passed along in an exponential fashion, often electronically or by e-mail.

Seeing the Power of Word of Mouth

Many advertising, publicity, and marketing experts believe that word-of-mouth marketing is the most powerful type of exposure that you can get for your product, service, business, or store. After all, who are you most likely to believe? A paid advertisement, featuring an actor who earns his fee by reciting a script written by a salaried copywriter working for a hired ad agency? Or the unsolicited suggestion by one of your friends that “you should see this movie; you’ll love it!” or “buy that car; it’s really reliable,” or “try this restaurant, or gift shop, or dry cleaner, or face cream, or sneaker, or computer, or cell phone”?

Obviously, you’re more likely to listen to your friend. After all, she hasn’t been paid to recommend that product or business. She gains nothing if you do or don’t try it. She’s simply telling you what she loves or appreciates — and that’s a powerful endorsement for any business. Now all you have to do is get those powerful endorsements!

In tomorrow’s post, I offer up a few examples of how word of mouth has worked effectively, for positive business results — and I show you how to prevent the opposite: negative buzz. For celebrities, it may be true that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but the same isn’t true of businesses!

In the next post, we look at ‘Examining word-of-mouth marketing success stories’ Do you have a particularly good method of creating buzz marketing, or word-of-mouth publicity which works well? Or even buzz marketing which doesn’t work so well. Then let me know by leaving a comment, and i may well include it in one of the follow-up articles to this series.

Author:  Andy MacDonald, CEO of Swift Media UK, a website design & search marketing company. For daily tips on Blogging, Marketing, SEO & Making Money Online, Checkout our SEO & Marketing Tips for Webmasters blog or Subscribe by RSS.