Creating a Buzz: Part 1

July 27, 2011
Does your marketing attract attention? Do people talk about your company? Do you enjoy being the topic of conversation around the water cooler and at the park?

Does your marketing attract attention? Do people talk about your company? Do you enjoy being the topic of conversation around the water cooler and at the park? Did you know that word of mouth advertising is the most powerful form of advertising? Studies show that word of mouth advertising is up to ten times more effective than other marketing methods. Why is word of mouth advertising more effective? Because people believe and trust the people, they know.

Advertising messages constantly barrage us to the point that we really don't know whom to believe or to trust. Think about it, do you trust the salesperson or the talking head on the commercial (after all, the company they represent hired them specifically to sell the product)? We believe the people we trust the most, our friends, family, coworkers, and our neighbors and when we have questions, we go to them. If they’re talking about a brand or a company, we’re more inclined to believe them than somebody we don’t know.

So, just how do you get people to talk about your company? What steps must you take to develop the buzz? To create buzz you have to make it fun for people to talk about your company. The first step should start with your company. Present your company, product, or service as exciting, fun, innovative, and different. It should really excite the users and be worth talking about.

If your company or product is not as exciting as the next generation of iPhone, then you must go out and promote your company by talking with people. The strategy is very similar to the actions you take when you want to generate publicity for your business. The most important difference is that you control the messages you communicate to listeners to ensure that you create positive word-of-mouth responses (buzz).

According to Mark Hughes author of the book “Buzzmarketing,” there are six buttons for creating buzz. These six things push people’s buttons and work repeatedly to get conversations started. The six areas include the taboo, (sex, lies, and bathroom humor), the unusual, the outrageous, the hilarious, the remarkable, and the secrets, both revealed and unrevealed.

When you think taboo, think of products that enhance personal pleasure like Viagra and Cialis commercials currently on TV. These are not normally subjects discussed in mixed company, but people talk about them. An example of the unusual and an effective campaign is a dating site for overweight people called The only advertising they did was word of mouth advertising and handing out flyers at burger restaurants and the site has millions of registered users. The flyers became conversation starters and the website marketers gave them to everybody, not just overweight people. When you push the outrageous button, make sure it has a connection to your company. Do you remember Do you remember the commercial where they shot gerbils out of a cannon? It was outrageous but it really didn’t have anything to do with their company so while it got people talking it didn’t have staying power.

Trying to be funny is one of the hardest things to do. While the hilarious button always works when done right, can be a double-edged sword if not done properly. If you aren’t funny, it can backfire and not give you the desired results. With the remarkable button, you do something that gets people’s attention. Do you remember the Pep Boys commercial with the moose? The car stops short of hitting the moose and the moose asks if they got their brakes from Pep Boys. The commercial itself was memorable, but then they combined that with in store promotions and got people talking. The secrecy button is a good one too. When you have a secret, it’s like money in the bank. When I was at York International, we used the secrecy button when we ran the “People Like Color” campaign. We ran a teaser ad for about two months before we announced what we were up to and it had people talking about us.

The secret is to figure out which of these six buttons you can use to your advantage to begin creating buzz for your company. The good thing is that buzz marketing doesn’t cost a lot and if you can get it working for you it will generate more awareness and sales for your business. Buzz marketing just becomes one more tool in your marketing arsenal. Next time, we will discuss this concept in more detail.

I’ll answer your marketing questions here. Email your questions to [email protected].

My website contains links to all the articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you want your marketing efforts pay big dividends, contact a marketing professional. I’m available to assist you in all of your marketing efforts. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with lead generation, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, PR, social media, and lead generation strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and startup companies find their voice in an ever increasingly crowded market by doing more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website