Buzz marketing leverages the power of word-of-mouth advertising to create products or services with enough novelty that they go viral. In many cases, buzz marketing leverages on versatile content that can easily scale and be readapted to various contexts and fear of missing out (FOMO) to amplify the effect of word-of-mouth campaigns.
Understanding buzz marketing
Buzz marketing is particularly effective because it is a form of word-of-mouth advertising. Marketing agency Nielsen report that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends or family when making a buying decision.
This form of advertising is also one of the most cost-effective. In other words, consumers spread the good word about a brand for free without the business having to invest in other marketing strategies.
Aside from being cost-effective, buzz marketing has numerous applications in both the online and offline spaces. Done correctly, this form of advertising drives large amounts of traffic to an offer and can increase sales revenue in a very short period.
Why is buzz marketing so effective?
Buzz marketing is effective because it gets consumers excited.
Here is how it achieves this:
- Versatile content – most marketing strategies focus on a specific channel. For example, some may be Instagram-specific while others are better suited to email marketing. With buzz marketing, however, a single piece of content can generate large amounts of organic referrals across multiple channels simultaneously.
- Fear of missing out (FOMO) – buzz marketing taps into FOMO because people feel they need to be a part of the conversation. This is particularly true if the conversation is generating buzz and virality.
- Baader-Meinhof phenomenon – otherwise known as the frequency illusion, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon describes a situation where after encountering something new, the consumer starts to encounter it repeatedly. Eventually, a consumer has enough interactions with a brand or product that it becomes embedded in their thoughts.
Creating a successful buzz marketing campaign
Generating buzz is easier said than done, but most successful campaigns possess one or more of the following attributes.
Visibility is perhaps the most important aspect of buzz marketing. Super Bowl commercials are a prime example of visibility, with companies spending millions of dollars in development and placement with the hope of creating something viral.
Visibility can also be enhanced when high-profile figures become involved in a campaign. When Bill Gates participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for motor neuron disease, he then nominated Elon Musk to do the same. This marketing campaign – arguably one of the most successful in recent times – raised important funds for disease research.
Buzz marketing must also have substance to be effective. Consumers will not get behind a campaign that is gimmicky or shallow, instead preferring something new and interesting that actively connects with them on some level.
For example, bra company ThirdLove created a buzz by running campaigns focusing on inclusivity. The brand was one of the first to pioneer a range of products suitable for a diverse range of women of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones.
Humour is another attribute that encourages people to share content with their friends and family.
American airline Delta uses humor in its flight safety videos, incorporating animated cartoons with tongue-in-cheek content relevant to the quirks air travel. This encourages consumers to share Delta’s content with friends, no doubt encouraging them to choose the airline in the future.
- Buzz marketing is a marketing technique leveraging on virality to enhance word-of-mouth advertising of a product or service.
- Buzz marketing is a cost-effective means of driving sales through organic referrals in a relatively short period of time. It achieves this through versatile content that takes advantage of certain aspects of human behavior.
- Most successful buzz marketing campaigns rely on visibility, substance, and humor as the main drivers of virality.