Copywriting 911

Before you start reading, here’s a little test. Supposing you need a pair of house slippers but can’t choose among the endless variety in a local supermarket. Every morning on your way to the office you see a billboard with a happy family wearing lovely fluffy slippers. Day after day their ads pop up at every other web site you visit. And every evening you watch those notorious slippers being advertised after the news reports. But does this motivate you to buy? Or is such assertive advertising more likely to annoy you? You think, direct advertising isn’t convincing enough at times, as it doesn’t guarantee the quality, and you are right.

Then, one day your coolest friend, or better, some stranger in the bus tells you about amazing and handy slippers she has just bought. Will you follow her advice and buy a pair, too?

And if you saw literally everyone around you discussing some bold and captivating advertising campaign, would you get interested in the product?

Nine people from ten will answer “yes”, and that is the reason why buzz marketing strategy is so popular, especially if it concerns not such trivial thing as slippers but something more important, like your website promotion.

In contrast to traditional marketing techniques that have a “pushy” strategy, buzz marketing is based on a “pulling” effect, focused on provoking talks and discussion. The author of Buzzmarketing, Mark Hughes, said: “Get People to Talk About Your Stuff“; as is well known, rumors spread very quickly, and, if buzz marketing strategy is applied properly, customers will advertise your product by themselves for free.

Some experts claim that word-of-mouth marketing and buzz marketing are the same, others insist on a noticeable difference between the two concepts: the first is driven by satisfied customers who tell about the product or service, praising it to the skies, while the latter depends on media. However, most marketing specialists incline to the opinion that word-of-mouth is a part of multi-sided buzz marketing.

To tell the truth, this technology wasn’t invented yesterday, as buzz marketing was more or less successfully used centuries ago, for instance, when prehistoric people advised each other the places where bigger deer abounded. But with the Internet development it has become an alternative and a very creative way to promote products and services. Nowadays buzz campaigns are carried on in chat rooms and at blogs, involving unsuspecting visitors into conversation and making them order and buy or at least advise the product to their friends.

As it is clear from the name, buzz marketing is concentrated on creating buzz. The more buzz it provokes the higher profits will be. Thus, to be a success, the campaign should seem original, outrageous, mysterious, hilarious and sometimes even scandalous. Many buzz campaigns touch upon tabooed topics, like lies, sex and bathroom humor. So, according to buzz marketing approach, the best way to motivate potential customers is to shock them.

How does it work? Innovative and constantly developing, buzz marketing contains various methods. For example, looking through your favorite forum you come across a post where a person asks for some advice. Certainly, you want to help, yet reading other posts in the thread you see that another visitor has already provided all the necessary information, leaving a link. Several posts later the inquirer writes something like that: “I’ve found everything I needed at www…com, THANK YOU!!!” Will you follow this link? That’s for sure. But do you know that both the inquirer and the alleged helper are likely to be partners conducting a successful buzz marketing campaign? Probably, you don’t. The fact is that many sales companies hire actors pretending to be shoppers who encourage other bloggers or forum visitors to try, to taste, to make sure and finally to buy.

Although the initial contact seems spontaneous and the final result is perceived unpredictable, all buzz campaigns are well-planned. Marketers measure not only what message can attract attention, but also how often it should be passed and how many downstream consumers should be involved to spread it.

Another buzz marketing strategy is to cause a scandal in order to grab attention of potential clients. For instance, when Abercrombie & Fitch launched t-shirts with pictures having a racial slant, it prompted numerous complaining emails and phone calls from indignant customers. As a result, the sales of the company boosted up considerably. The phenomena of this buzz marketing method was that people started discussing not the product itself but the way it is advertised.

Using buzz marketing strategy requires less money than using other marketing techniques, however, to carry on a brilliant campaign one should know advertising, marketing and psychology, as well as be an intelligent and extremely creative person. As more and more people try to apply buzz marketing, one should have outstanding qualities to find a market niche.

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