Monday, April 6, 2009

Why Every Social Media Marketer Should Read “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited”

“We talk because we are programmed to talk.”*

Before we coined the phrase, social media marketing. Before the tools (MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) that we now take for granted were even available. There was word-of-mouth marketing—Buzz! For me, one man put buzz on the map and set the stage for today’s booming social scene. Emanuel Rosen.

Rosen first wrote about the importance of brand relationships and using person-to-person conversations to successfully market products in his book, “The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word-of-Mouth Marketing,” published in 2000.

The original has been a staple of my reference library since it went into print. The strategies it describes help explain why customer relationships matter. They tell how cultivating conversations creates relationships that build business. The book inspired the development of innumerable concepts and client presentations. And it formed an important foundation for a graduate-level marketing communications class I teach.

Nine years later, Rosen is back with his new book, and a dramatic update, “The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing.” Today, he kicks off a buzz-inspired book signing tour here in Chicago. (More on that later.)

“Real-life Lessons” takes buzz beyond the original

  • More original buzz thinking. Even if you have the first edition, the new edition brings so much new thinking and material, you’ll want the update. According to the intro, 12 of the book’s 24 chapters are entirely new.
  • Real-life examples bring buzz to life. Everything from the buzz created when the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile comes to town (they were in a parade in St. Petersburg, FL yesterday according to their Twitter account)…to the reason why Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home was a place many Great Depression-era visitors would stop and ask for food or a drink of water…to the always popular “Will it Blend (Have you seen the bailout blended yet?).”
  • Why not to fear negative comments. Rosen cites a Kingston University in London study that finds 30% of the negative word of mouth was about brands that had never been owned by the people who talked about them. Then tells what you can do about them.
  • Broadening of buzz include visual conversations. Now that we all have access to inexpensive tools like camera phones, the Flip Video camera and visual media like, Skype, YouTube, our conversations have incorporated pictures and video.
  • The importance of hubs. Find out the key distinction between an evangelist and a hub. And why calling one of Microsoft’s 4,000 MVPs an evangelist is a no-no. Hint: hubs “gain status not from their source of information but from the people who listen to them.”
  • Buzz measured. When the original release hit the streets, the thinking was that Buzz was so ephemeral, that it couldn’t be accurately measured. Now we know differently.
  • Answers the question, “Can you live on buzz alone? While there are some who believe that advertising is dead and doesn’t matter anymore, Rosen says, “The truth is that very few products can live on buzz alone.”
  • Buzz workshop. Possibly one of the most valuable chapters, once you understand how and where Buzz works, is the last, which Rosen calls his “Buzz Workshop.” Here, he provides a series of questions designed to help you think about how buzz fits with the products or services you’re marketing. And it starts by asking whether the products or services you’re offering will impress your customers.

Follow the buzz tour

Touring the U.S. in support of his new book, Rosen could do no less than dramatically use word-of-mouth—teaming up with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and their environmentally-friendly, veggie oil-powered bus to spread the news.

How well does this buzz thing work for Rosen? Well, buzz is how I found out about Rosen’s new book. How I found out about his book tour. And how I worked with the Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business, where I teach, to bring him there to visit with students and fellow faculty. (Am I on my road to becoming a hub?)

I’ll be joining Rosen as he continues his Chicago leg tomorrow at Loyola University and IIT Stuart. Follow him yourself and share the social media marketing buzz.

*Emanuel Rosen, The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-life Lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing p70.

Blog content: ©2009 Paul J. Hydzik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info on this, Paul! Great perspective that all things new are generally versions of long-lived behaviors