|Spreading the buzz online is the new frontier of advertising||
|Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM)
|All communications between individuals with information passed from person to person in a highly personal way results in an added layer of credibility.|
People tends to trust individuals (expecially known people) because they seem to bear direct responsibility for what they are saying. On the other hand, Companies, Organizations, Brands and other more abstract structures, may have a lack of credibility because it seems that they have an evident interest in passing a biased type of information and they mostly choose more unpersonal types of communication (it is still uncommon the case of a top executive representing a company showing off his face to the customer in a way to guarantee for his company words).
Information passed from person to person (called word-of-mouth) can be used very well in marketing for spreading product or company information. Messages communicated in this way are very often more effective than other more conventional advertisement campaigns.
Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) is a term used since the late Eighties for companies promoting their products to specific categories of customers (for example Wellness & Pharma). Originally the term referred specifically to oral communication between individuals, but in the age of Internet and multiple media now the term also includes all types of media-enabled human communication such as phone calls, text messaging, email, IM and chatting, social media posting.
WOMM is a "viral" marketing technique as it spreads around from person to person, often in ways not totally predictable if not looking at it in a deterministic way.
|Creating the Buzz
|A buzz is created by information which seems to be unique, exceptional, exciting, new, disruptive. It is spread easily by word-of-mouth with consumers flattered to be included in the elite group of those "in the know" and willing to show they "know things" by spreading the word to friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Buzz can be limited to a more restricted audience at the beginning of the campaign and boosted by targeted PR actions later on. The key is to make the product visible to consumers in ways they will seek more information about it. Buzz marketers often rely on creating sophisticated theatrical campaigns, almost always having an high emotional content and styled by a professional advertising designer. Although buzz marketing is not strictly related to the Internet, the new Internet technology has made the online world as the focus of most buzz marketing campaigns.|
|Spreading the Buzz, Online
|Instant Messaging (IM), social media pages and blogs are today the key fronts of buzz marketing. In an increasing number of cases IM applications are used as the main vehicle for spreading out buzz marketing campaigns in the initial phase, and a number of agents are recruited to do the pitching. The advertisers themselves partecipate to this activity to better understand the campaign deployment path and refine the message used to pitch the product. Sometimes, in more sophisticated and technological scenario, automated IM bots are used to do part of the job.|
In a parallel activity the advertisers add to the "referrals" for the campaign social media pages, seeking the authors of the "right kind of blog" and often creating specific social networking sites for the campaign. Advertising on Web 2.0 media is also increasingly used. In many case standard offline cross-media PR activities, "guerrilla marketing" activities and restricted events (for example campaign-related parties) are used as additional tools.
All this people supporting the campaign is rewarded not just by being part of the game (which can be an important "psycological reward", if the campaign can be built in this way) - they are rewarded for their promotional activities with product samples, tickets, vouchers, or cash.
As with all WOM campaigns, the power of the campaign model relies on the influence of partecipating individuals (the buzzers) in terms of established network of contacts and ability to increase it - in case of the IM part of the campaign this is simply the buddy list.
By predicting that online buzz marketing techniques will become a standard component of many advertising campaigns, some people is worried by the abuses which can be made by spreading fake, negative, misleading or just exaggerated information. It is however clear the power of this marketing tool, not just to spread a new product but also to understand the impact of a product before committing to the market on a larger scale or to pitch a new venture on the m