Your marketing team are no longer the only marketers in your company.  Everyone has become a marketer in this day and age.  At least once in our lives we have mentioned an amazing restaurant we tried to our colleagues, a television show we fell in love with and binge-watched last night to our friends, or forwarded an Instagram page that posts the best memes in a group chat…. All of these actions are free marketing to the business at hand.  Marketing is no longer about selling your product to a target market but instead, it’s about generating a buzz and getting people talking about you.  Let’s see how Sortlist can help you get into buzz marketing. 

Table of contents

What is buzz marketing?

Buzz marketing is the trigger to word-of-mouth marketing and the well-behaved child of viral marketing.  It is a strategy to get people to talk about your brand, promote it, and subsequentially reach a larger audience via a buzz, something that sparks conversation on a broad scale.  It’s not about how well you sell your product, it’s about how well you sell your product to those who will talk about it.  Your target market becomes influencers and impactful people who can carry your marketing message further.  It is not an easy strategy and by no means does it work every time, but if your campaign manages to kick off, it can drastically change your company’s performances. 

What makes them effective and why should I be interested?

When was the last time you bought a product or requested a service from a company that was not referred to you by a friend or family member?  Word of mouth marketing (the by-product of buzz marketing), is now the most effective type of marketing and it all comes down to trust.  83% of consumers trust recommendations from their friends more than advertising.  81% of consumers’ purchases are based on what their friends have posted on their social media pages.  Hopefully, these numbers show you ‘word of mouth’ potential and generate a buzz within yourself.  

The content of buzz marketing campaigns is creative, unique, and has enough of an emotional appeal that people feel the need to talk about it. The more people connect to your advertisement, the more chances they will rave about it to their entourage and become your most successful marketer.  The best examples of these types of advertisements are from the super bowl.  The super bowl commercial phenomenon has companies spending a lot of time and money in creating their adverts to get people talking long after their allotted 30 seconds. 

Are you convinced? Let’s see how you can make your own marketing buzz.

What strategies can you take?

Your main goal: you want to get people talking about your brand.  Think about the last advertisement that got you talking.  Was it because it was funny?  Or was it because it was risky? Here are six examples of buzz marketing strategies for your ad campaigns. 

Inspire

In 2017, Nike released a variety of advertisements for women all linked to the “Believe in More” campaign.  The advertisements were catered to specific regions across the globe.  The spot for the Middle East was called “What will they say about you?” and showcased various well-known middle eastern female athletes engaging in various sports in the streets.  In countries where sports are affected by gender discrimination and cultural differences, the advertisement was deemed inspirational to women in those countries to break down these barriers.  It was a much-talked-about campaign because of its controversial and inspirational aspect but also Nike’s first-ever sports hijab. 

Funny

This strategy is quite self-explanatory.  If the advertisement is funny, people will want to share their laugh with others!  In 2016, Hyundai released its super bowl commercial for the new Hyundai Genesis.  It starred Kevin Hart (a world-famous comedian) as an overprotective father keeping an eye out on his daughter during her date. 

Controversy

Taken from https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/national/nikes-stock-reaches-all-time-high-after-colin-kaepernick-ad-controversy

Many buzz marketing strategies that create the most conversation come from controversy.  Some companies are ready to push some buttons that can make some people feel very uncomfortable.  This strategy is very risky and it is crucial that your marketing team is fully aware of the direction and stand your company is taking.  You most also be prepared for the consequences after the launch of the campaign.  As much as it can do wonders for your brand, it can also end it once and for all.  Nike decided to take this leap of faith when it decided to use Colin Kaepernick for its 30th “Just Do It” campaign in 2018.  The American Football athlete had recently taken the knee during the national anthem before a game.  Kaepernick’s “controversial” move was the core of Nike’s “controversial” advertisement which in the end led to an all-time high sales for the brand…

Moving

The tear-jerker strategy.  Instead of being big and bold, it is possible to create a buzz by being tranquil and focusing on pulling some heartstrings.  Dove released a short film advertisement in 2013 called “Real Beauty Sketches”.  Its aim was to show the difference between our own visual perception of ourselves and how others see us.  Dove described the experiment as “Each woman is the subject of two portraits drawn by FBI-trained forensic artist Gil Zamora: one based on her won description, and the other using a stranger’s observations.”  If you have some tissues next to you, watch the video. 

Excitement

Some advertisements are lucky.  Before they are even released, people already know that it’s coming and have built up excitement for it.  An example of this would be a trailer for a much-anticipated film.  The danger with these sorts of marketing strategies though is that they need to maintain that excitement (although if they don’t, there will still be much conversation about how much of a let down it was).  They build a viewer’s adrenaline and leave them wanting more. 

Curiosity 

Taken from http://www.toxel.com/inspiration/2009/02/26/clever-and-creative-crosswalk-advertising/

This is arguably the most effective buzz marketing strategy (if it works!).  People will start a conversation if they have been touched emotionally, or are curious about something.  Take this Mr. Clean advertisement in Italy for example.  Although many of us know Mr. Clean, the name of the brand does not appear.  However, the image is quite striking and it forces you to stop and stare.  If you are walking across this zebra crossing with someone, you will most likely slap their arm and say “hey, look!”.  Every time you’ll walk or drive by, you’ll mention the perfect white line at that pedestrian crossing.  If you don’t know the brand, surely someone you mention the advert to at some point will tell you. 

You may have found yourself talking about one of these kinds of advertisements with people of your entourage at some point.  Many times these strategies are combined with guerrilla marketing and often contribute quite well to the buzz. 

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Downsides of buzz marketing 

If a buzz marketing campaign goes well, it can be life-changing for a brand.  However, if it goes badly, it can be career-ending.  Be very cautious when creating these types of campaigns.  There is a saying that goes: “bad press is better than no press” but this is not the best approach for a long-lasting successful career.  Study your message and approach, and make sure you can back up what you are selling to your audience. 

D-I-Y

Before starting your own buzz marketing strategy, note that this is a difficult form of marketing.  It is unusual that a business gets it right the first time around.  Nevertheless, here are four important steps to reach your success:

Decide on your strategy

In order for your content to be impactful, you need a clear, defined tone you wish to achieve.  Choose one of the previously mentioned strategies for your marketing campaign (or make up your own), and brainstorm the backlashes it may engender, if any, that may arise after its launch.

Reach out

Your marketing team in a buzz marketing campaign extends to anyone with a voice loud enough to pass on your message…so anyone.  Some individuals have a more powerful voice than others and you should aim to target them first.  Engage in influencer marketing, get in touch with as many influencers to market your brand for you.  Micro-influencers are also good if you wish to reach out to more niche audiences. 

Share your material…everywhere

Don’t just post your video on YouTube, share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, your website, send it to your mailing list, get it televised, put it on billboards…the list is endless.  Use PPC and choose advertising techniques that give you as much visibility as possible.  Try Google Display Network on top of text ads!  Your budget may cut it short but there are also plenty of places you can advertise your brand for free!

Think beyond

It is already a huge deal if you create a buzz and get people engaging in conversations around your brand, but now what?  You need to keep them hooked!  Think about discounts, special first buy promotions, or free subscriptions for new visitors and also have a little something for returning customers.

Conclusion

Buzz marketing is a way to expand your marketing team to 7 billion people.  After careful research, analysis, and hard work to produce a conversation-provoking advertisement, if you leave this gem with a few of the right people, you have the potential of reaching a much larger market than before.  Find an innovation consulting agency or an advertising agency with Sortlist that can help you with this project!