Creating a Buzz: Part 3

Aug. 24, 2011
Creating a buzz, I hope you are thinking about trying these techniques in your own business. It’s so hard to find uncluttered advertising mediums these days.

Creating a buzz, I hope you are thinking about trying these techniques in your own business. It’s so hard to find uncluttered advertising mediums these days. However, if you follow along and take this information to heart, I believe that you will find a good way to create a buzz about your company. If you do it right, you can have the media talking about you and your company, and that kind of attention is priceless.

This is the last part of this three article series. We’ve defined what creating a buzz means and we’ve talked about the kinds of stories that get media attention and generate interest in your company. Now we will discuss how you can use it to your advantage and develop new business from that exposure.

Mark Hughes, in his book Buzzmarketing, relates the story of Nick Gray and Ryan Farley who created a computer service that worked in conjunction with the old AOL Instant Message (AIM) to display the AIM “away messages” of friends, and it allowed users to see all of their friend’s messages with just a few clicks. They did this as part of Nick’s senior project at Wake Forest University. Nick had had some previous marketing experience from helping to launch AMP energy drinks as a student and he had a good idea of what would work in a college campus setting. Nick outlined a brilliantly unusual campaign that started dramatic growth for his startup company. The point of this story is Nick started the ball rolling with a $7 buzz marketing campaign.

From his experience with AMP Energy Drinks, he knew that slick professional advertising would not work with college students. More than likely it would wind up in the trash without a student ever reading it. He purposely designed an amateurish poster, that didn’t scream professional advertiser, gambling that students would be more inclined to read it. He was right. He printed twenty posters and put them up in high traffic areas of the freshman dorms. Within two days, half the freshman class had signed up for the service; from there it spread to other colleges and to Japan, Germany, and Italy. This turned into a $250,000 revenue stream while Nick was a senior at Wake Forest.

His brand had no polish or a logo but it had lots of personality and stickiness; Nick created a buzz that took off like wild fire. What does this illustrate? Sometimes it pays to show your underwear because people can relate to a company that isn’t perfect better than a slick polished high dollar marketing campaign. What we’re saying is honesty is good policy. If you’re a new company, say you’re a new company, and don’t try to hide or disguise it.

If you can’t purposely bring yourself to design an amateurish campaign, try using your traditional media in a different way. If you use newspaper ads, maybe you create a series of breadcrumb ads on the lower right hand corner of several pages that lead up to a larger ad, something reminiscent of the old Burma Shave billboards. If nobody else is doing it, it will get the readers’ attention.

Look for the un-crowded marketing space and then take advantage of it. Think about your local home show, you pay for your booth, you may even sponsor the event, and that might get your materials handed out at the door along with everybody else’s materials. How much of that that stuff makes it home? Think about what could happen if you placed a post card with incentives to purchase service from you along with a refrigerator magnet attached on every car in the parking lot. If you made the magnet interesting, how many people would keep them? How many phone calls could you get from them?

Be creative in anything you do. Be unique, and look for the uncluttered space. Remember the six areas you can use to get people to start conversations about you. Include the taboo, (sex, lies, and bathroom humor), the unusual, the outrageous, the hilarious, the remarkable, and the secrets, both revealed and unrevealed. Studies have proven these topics will get people to start talking about you. In addition, remember the frequently written story topics that include; the weak battling the strong story, the outrageous story, the big controversy story, the celebrity story, and the hot topic stories.

That’s it for this time. 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 deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by showing them how to do more with less($). Contact him at 260-338-4554, [email protected] or visit the website