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February 05, 2009
Word of mouth vs. buzz
Let's make a distinction between word of mouth vs. buzz.
Word of mouth is a byproduct of a remarkable culture. It's how companies like 37 Signals, Discovery Education, and The Container Store grow and flourish. Their companies are organized around a well-defined purpose and strong values, which may not be for everyone, but they're important enough to a significant group of people. Their foundations help produce notable products and services, generating word of mouth for the long-term. None would describe what they do as "word of mouth marketing."
Buzz is the result of a word-of-mouth marketing campaign. Campaign is the operative word: Programs with established start and stop moments, defined by time or money. Buzz can spread quickly via an established foundation of loyalty and trust, but its results are usually short-term. Gimmick-driven buzz is common, and it's a minefield, often exposing a soggy purpose or questionable values. BailoutBooth, an online classified ad company, used one of the oldest tricks in the book: giving away money. It handed out $50 bills to people in Times Square the other day, $100,000 worth, if recipients would sit in front of a camera and plead poverty. The buzz generated a write-up in the New York Times:
There was understandable skepticism about the whole thing, but once people realized that they could actually get money from the ploy, any reluctance disappeared.
“It’s a blessing,” (one recipient) said. “Nobody else is doing this.”
Congrats for creating buzz with potential, but visit the company's website, and you see its purpose and values on display. An attractive woman in a video pitches the company while a guy in sunglasses and a hat plays phony on the phone for no apparent reason. Smells like gimmick spirit with a big dollop of shlock. A shame to spend $100,000 marketing something that's unlikely to be converted into the social capital of word of mouth.
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Simple, elegant definition of two commonly misused terms. Seems to me like you're suggesting that Word of Mouth organically grows from a brand's core essence, and becomes part of their perceived personality due to its root in their culture. Conversely, Buzz by nature is the short-term effect stemming from an intentional (or unintentional) action or effort by a brand; clearly distinguished from the brand itself.
I enjoy your work and your book. Thanks for a good read. Heather
within the entity. This is a distinction worth making as the already amazing power of word
may I suggest a book that perfectly explain difference between WOM, BUZZ: Conversational capital
Conversational Capital Explained Engineering Word of Mouth from the Ground Up
The business world is abuzz about the power of word-of-mouth. And yet the discussion swirls around how talk is transmitted, not how it's created. This is a book about turning the tables - a set of ideas that teach marketers how to create the ingredients necessary for word-of-mouth.
The promise of this philosophy is a means by which to:
Create products and services that consumers find truly significant
Enhance consumption experiences to transform your brands into market leaders
Manage and control word-of-mouth around your brand
Drawing on their extensive experience in fostering leading brands, the authors reveal the triggers of word-of-mouth and outline a process for embedding them into your products, helping you create stuff people love to talk about. From Bertrand Cesvet, Tony Babinski and Eric Alper, members of SID LEE, a leading purveyor of experiential design and communications service for breakthrough brands including Cirque du Soleil, adidas and Red Bull."
I teach that word of mouth is, more than ever, the most powerful form of marketing and extraordinary service is the most efficient way to create positive word of mouth
sorry, i'm from russia and i totally don't understand what is word of mouth... can anybody explain me?
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