Saturday, December 31, 2005

Make it Great - Best Blog List

The Make it Great blog has a list of the best blogs in various categories and we got noticed in the marketing category. Thanks Phil.

Friday, December 30, 2005

DIY Word of Mouth Marketing

Our friend David Lorenzo is talking about something that fits nicely with what we said a day or two ago. Word of Mouth Marketing has short cuts, but if you want sustainable word of mouth, you have to commit to is as a philosophy within your organization. His post is called Do It Yourself Word of Mouth (I am sure what he meant to say was that you should hire Buzzoodle to help your create a word of mouth campaign. )

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Brand Builder Blog

The brand builder blog has an excellent set of ideas for making the new year more buzzworthy. The entire post is right in line with our philosophy of how little, remarkable actions build up over time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Buzz Story

Here is a post on PR vs. Advertising by Tom Hespos. It is interesting to me because of what Tom says about wine, Ernest & Julio Gallo and his college newspaper. I also think he would be an interesting person to talk to. By posting here, Google, my online errand boy, will send him an email letting him know I said something about him. He will visit this site, read this comment, and maybe post a comment saying thanks for mentioning him. Read his post and you will see why that will happen. It is important to understand the tools that can create buzz for you.

Bzz Agent

I like Bzz Agent. For those of you not familiar with them, they have people that willingly promote products via word of mouth, and those people report back to them when they do it. While we are definitely in the same marketplace, Buzz and Word of Mouth Marketing, I do not feel we compete because our approach is so different. We focus on making your current advocates buzz more, and developing a long term approach to building a strong advocacy base. I see Bzz Agent as more of an advertisement, and us as more of a long term marketing strategy. They both have their place and there is no reason not to use both approaches, if the budget and time allows for it. The reason I bring it up in this blog is that people confuse us so often. They think that because we do Word of Mouth Marketing, we must have 1,000's of people on street corners this instant waiting for us to tell them what to talk about. Our approach is to transform an organization into one that understands buzz and word of mouth, that has a true strategy to grow it and has tracking to make it measurable. We are not a quick fix, but we have a great long term ROI.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Cancun Mexico

I look at my stats more than I should. Somehow, even if checks are not coming in every day, I still feel like I am accomplishing something if readership is high. To the many people that read regularly, I would like to say thanks. Next, there is someone in Cancun Mexico that reads almost every day. I lived in Mexico when I was younger and enjoyed it a lot. To that person I just want to say gracias and please shoot me an email. I would love to hear about how Buzz Marketing is being used in Mexico. Ingles o Espanol, no me importa.

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing for Restaurants

As promised, I am going to be trying to do some generic Buzzoodle Strategies that you can use in specific industries. Today a couple of ideas to get restaurant staff to talk about the restaurant and invite more people in. 1st: Almost every employee has family, many in the area. When you hire someone, get a list of family members name, address and birthday and send every family member on their birthday a free meal. A steady flow of employee's families visiting will help you retain employees as they feel better about the job, and will create more buzz from the visitors. They are more likely to talk about your restaurant if they know someone who works there. 2nd: Devise a way to have coupons people can give out when they talk about the restaurant. Not the traditional coupons, but something that is just for your buzz. (Maybe each employee gets a check book and can write a check for up to $5 off, redeamable in food, at the restaurant.) Employees sign them as they meet people and pass them out and the one that gets the most in each week, wins the pot, which might be cash or whatever you think your employees may like best. These are just two ideas that could help take a local restaurant to another level. In both cases, it goes beyond what the industry norm is currently. If you give either of these a try, I would love to hear about it. If you have other buzz ideas for restaurants, please post them in the comments area.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Buzz Marketing from Boston

Stephen Labuda from Boston has a post that pulls together some nice content on Word of Mouth. His blog was just different enough to make me surf it a bit longer than I normally would. Just from the technical prospective I am not sure if it is a blog or article archives.

How did I find this site? It generated traffic to my site, and anyone that cares about what people are staying about them is going to keep a close eye on referral links. If you take the time to link to someone, make sure that you click the link and visit their site from it as well.

Better yet, email them. Posting about someone is a good excuse to reach out and say hi.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Buzz Readiness

One of the things I have noticed lately is the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. If you create some buzz and get noticed, you have to be prepared for things you did not plan for. We have had some unexpected situations crop up in the last nine months, and we have done the best we can to learn from them. The biggest one is how Buzzoodle itself has evolved. We built it as a small business and maybe a medium sized business tool that would help people on a limited budget. However, because it takes some effort to set up and use effectively, not many of these time crunched small business owners take advantage of it. On the other hand, some of the biggest companies in the world have called us and asked us about our services. The first couple of times this happened, we dropped the ball. We'd not even considered what it would take to help a company implement our philosophy across 10's of thousands of employees. It took us months to adjust to this different model for our business. Now we have a clear understanding of how our services could best be utilized in these kinds of organizations. If your goal is to create big buzz, you also have to be ready to deliver big. And maybe not in the way you thought.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Deep Breath: Look at the Small Things

It is easy to get caught up in the creation of new buzz, but in the last week two people have pointed out our short comings, and they are obvious stuff that just gets overlooked. One is how we answer the phone: Our office manager is on vacation and we are just all answering it any old way. One person thought they got the wrong number. Two is our eMagazine sign up form: Someone pointed out we are not asking how people heard of us. (Trust me, I look at plenty of data every day, but it is a good point.) The point of this blog post is that it is good to take a deep breath and look at your every day processes, before you worry about the next big Buzz Marketing coup you can pull. Ask yourself: How can I make every day activities buzzworthy in our oganization?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Buzzoodle in Brazil

If you speak Portuguese, here is a translation of buzzoodle: Marc & Sheep. It is a Portuguese translation of our article on creating traffic for your blog, found here.

Are you a Practicing Member of your Organization?

Word of Mouth Marketing and Buzz Marketing are often talked about with terminology borrowed from religion. Corporate Evangelists and Advocates to just name two. So as I was driving to work this morning, I asked myself, "Do you participate in the organization?" I started mulling over how people participate and I thought of how people could be categorized as participating in their religion.
  • I have to go because I always have.
  • I go because it is the right thing to do.
  • I go because I don't know what else to do.
  • I go because there are free donuts

Now Consider these:

  • I go because I am a valued member of the community and people there are counting on me.
  • I go because I am so excited about the vision and where the organization is going.
  • I would not think of missing because it is part of who I am.
  • I look forward to going as a highlight of my week.

It is easier to understand this in a religious setting. Your job as a leader is to inspire people to be on the second list, and those people will create word of mouth and buzz for you.

Now, as a business leader, ask yourself where your employees and clients fall on this list.

Create raving fans who are engaged with the organization and buzz will grow.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Price and Putting it Down

Went shopping today. Major Store and sooo many things didn't have prices. Do they think I will be in a wild frenzy and not care? I actually put 4 things back on the shelf because I could not figure out the price and did not want to load up on things that I would not want at the register. I guess we will call that down selling.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Microwave Buzz

Have you ever gone to someone's house and the kitchen is spotless? You think, "Wow." Then something happens and you have to open the microwave and the facade is over. There you see tiny bits of left overs from the past year sprayed all over. If your customers are wowed on the sales end, and then find your product or service less stellar than the initial glance, then you are killing buzz and people are just staying with you grudgingly because they said yes, or have not had a chance to move yet.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Buzz Industries

I am on the road a lot today, but just a snapshot of what I am planning. We get calls from all kinds of prospects, from churches to some of the largest companies in the world. Each type and size of organization has some different issues for creating buzz. There are common denominators, but I will try to go into some more specifics on how they vary. Thanks for reading and stop back.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Buzzoodle Translation

Thanks to Kristofer for summarizing some Buzzoodle in Swedish. He has a nice looking blog and he is just one of the international people we have talked to about the international language of Buzz.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Buzz & Marketing

Buzz is not only a marketing function.

  • Product development probably plays one of the biggest roles in buzz. Create a remarkable product and you will have all the buzz you can handle.
  • Manufacturing plays a role in buzz. Poor quality will result in negative buzz, and solid, quality products do get praise.
  • Customer service plays a critical role in buzz because it directly relates to bad buzz, good buzz or just what I would expect.
  • Human resources is paramount to buzz. Happy employees do a better job, and if Buzz creating is made part of the corporate culture, HR will be training employees in how to talk about the company and encouraging everyone to create buzz.
  • Executive Teams should know all the great stories, connect with the customers and create buzz in many extraordinary ways.
  • Shareholders should be talking about all the great stories they hear coming out of the company that they own stock in.

Ultimately, every person in an organization should be taught the importance of buzz and know stories they can use when opportunities arise. Buzz is the job of the entire organization, not of the Buzz Marketers.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Squidoo and You

If you have not checked out Squidoo yet, you may want to. There is definitely an advantage to being an early adopter. Here are my Lenses, and they are driving some serious traffic our way: Obviously, my biggest focus is on the Buzzoodle lense, and it is paying off with a lot of good blog traffic. Although still in Beta, it is working pretty well with only minor issues.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

WOMMA Basic Training

WOMMA - The Word of Mouth Marketing Association is having a WOM basic training in Florida this January. You can get all the details here if you are interested. I would love to attend, but will not be able to. If you are not visiting their site regularly, it is a great resource for those interested in word of mouth.

UK Buzzoodle Interview

SmallBizPod - a small business blog with podcasts from the UK, interviewed me here. Alex Bellinger is doing a great job of using Podcasts to meet more people and create a buzz for himself. I start about 16 minutes into it, but he has some interesting stuff before that, including comments on sending audio messages that I have to give a try. By the way, I have listened to myself for years and I sound nothing like that.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Imagine the Possibilities

One thing that can really fuel buzz creation is getting people to imagine the possibilities. Over at the Liquid Learning Blog we mention Zopa. Why did we mention it? It is not a great leap of the imagination to think about how this model could do to banking what the internet is doing to newspapers. Part of your buzz strategy should be to have your product or service get their imagination working. Maybe you give them some more limited example of a use for your product and let them come up with the idea of having people use it in a novel way. Once people get imaginative with your product or service, they are sold on it. You just become a facilitator for their own creativity.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Selling to Big Companies

Jill Konrath has written a very easy to read book on making sales to big clients, called Selling to Big Companies. I am only about 1/3 of the way through it, but so far it is excellent because it has practical information I can use right away and if it was not the holiday season I would have had time to finished it in a day. I like easy and useful. The book already fits nicely with my mantra of not SELLING but instead helping other people succeed and solve their problems. Her book addresses the fact that corporate executives have become immune to the standard sales routine. Jill also does a good job of Buzz. She publishes an eNewsletter that I have been reading and when I sent her an email wishing her luck on her upcoming book release, she quickly sent me a advance signed copy of the book to review. Thanks Jill.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Testimonials - Creating Buzz for Others

Duct Tape Marketing has an excellent post on using testimonials to your advantage to meet or network with people. This is right in line with one of the things Buzzoodle suggested in a recent challenge.

Word of Mouth Marketing Agencies

Today I visited the website of a new Word of Mouth Marketing Agency. I am not going to link to it, because even though the website was well done, I have to question what most of these Buzz Marketing and Word of Mouth Marketing agencies are doing. To me, most of them seem to focus on internet marketing, blogging and a little bit of research. If this is all your word of mouth marketing agency is doing, hire a good internet marketing agency instead. Otherwise, you are probably just paying for the buzz phrase.

What should a good word of mouth agency provide?

  • Strong Market Research
  • A plan to develop advocates (ethically)
  • Tools specifically designed to measure many forms of word of mouth (not just blogs and internet)
  • Experience developing talking points and WOM Units
  • Knowledge of a diverse set of channels to get the messages out
  • Tools to identify current advocates
  • Training for your staff to become stronger advocates

These are the kinds of things Buzzoodle has available to clients that are interested in creating more buzz and word of mouth, especially if they plan to use their employee base as advocates.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Interview Questions - Hire Advocates

When interviewing a potential new hire, you should be sure to include questions that will clearly display if the person will easily become an advocate of your organization. Typically, you might ask "Why do you want to work for us?" and "What did you like best/least about your last job?" These questions are fine, but look for more questions that will help you identify great advocates. Here are some ideas: 1) Tell me two great stories of things that happened in your last job. 2) How often do you talk to your family and friends about your current/last job? What % is positive and negative? Give me some examples of what you say. 3) What products and services do you like to talk about? How many people are you likely to tell if you really like something? 4) Do you have a website? Blog? What are the addresses? 5) How many social groups do you belong to online and off? (Keep in mind it may be inappropriate to ask specifics about these groups.) 6) What do you think the best qualities of our organization are? 7) What have you heard about our organization, good or bad? 8) What is a company you admire and why? This is just a list of ideas. You may find some more appropriate for your business. However, if you make advocacy one of the criteria for new hires, it gives you another metric to judge applicants and it could be the single most important ROI factor if you get a super advocate.

With My Buzzoodle Eye

Why does every place suddenly suck? - Warning - I am usually very positive, but this is going to be a long rant on a mall trip. Holidays are fast approaching and I have started shopping in lots of places I rarely enter though out the other eleven months. The difference this year is that I have grown from an IT person doing marketing to a person immersed in the Buzzoodle Philosophy of Marketing. We were at the mall yesterday and it was shocking and upsetting for me. We mostly went to get a picture of our new baby and our daughter with Santa, but there was no chance of me spending $35 dollars for a picture of my kids on the lap of a 17 year old with a few cotton balls on his face. It was like the company did not even try. They must feel that people don't have any other choice, so it does not matter. (We skipped it.) Next, I was in a store like a Build - A - Bear. It was a cheap knock off of the real thing, and the woman working in the store sat behind the counter reading a book. ??? Isn't it two weeks before Christmas? She did look up and say hi, and smiled. They had an employ party area in the back. If I owned this business, I would have free cookies and punch in that party area all day every day in December. I would have 2-3 employees standing in front of the store telling kids go go join the party and get cookies. The kids are the sales staff, you just need to get more kids in there. The store also completely missed the point. I have been to Build-A-Bear and it is about the experience. This other place just had unstuffed toys you could stuff. ??? My daughter asked for one and I told her I would rather drive her 45 minutes to a real Build-a-bear so she could have the experience. Then we are walking through the mall, and I am dressed nicely on a Saturday because our older daughter just performed in a piano recital, and I see a woman working a register at a kiosk. She has a huge tattoo on her arm and it is exposed from the shoulder to the elbow. You cannot miss it. (I could care less about the tattoo itself, and it is up to each owner to set policies in place on this kind of thing.) I looked at her tattoo and then looked up at her. She noticed me notice, and glared! I was not passing judgment. I just looked at her huge tattoo for a second. So there I was walking through the mall with my family having someone glare angrily at me and try to stare me down. Time spend in mall: 1.5 hours Money spent in mall $2 on carousel We are ordering our gifts online today. In the world of business and commerce, blame can only be placed at the owner's level. You have to train people, inspire people, set standards and not assume that getting the store set up is what will make it successful.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenges Summary

This is the summary of the two weeks of Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenges: Buzz Marketing Challenge #1 Email Challenge to get your advocates to understand you better. Buzz Marketing Challenge #2 Comments on Blogs and Message Boards. Buzz Marketing Challenge #3 Contact a media professional to create buzz. Buzz Marketing Challenge #4 Meet someone new. Buzz Marketing Challenge #5 Old emails are a Buzz Gold Mine. Buzz Marketing Challenge #6 Don't just be nice, be remarkable. Buzz Marketing Challenge #7 You were going to eat anyway. Buzz Marketing Challenge #8 Social Networks are buzztastic. Buzz Marketing Challenge #9 What do you mean I miss buzz opportunities every day! Buzz Marketing Challenge #10 Now for a real challenge. Become a world wide expert.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 10

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday last week and this. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 10 15 Minutes. How do you create buzz in 15 minutes? Since this is our last Buzz Marketing challenge, this one is under 15 minutes, but per day several times a week. Decide what you are good at and become a world wide expert. It is not as difficult as you think.
  • You can develop a free blog on Blogger and post several times per week.
  • Create a Squidoo Lens
  • Write articles and post them to online article directories.
  • Submit articles to magazines and newspapers.
It does not have to be job related. Even if your organization is full of experts on Poodles and video games, you are going to meet a lot more people than if you would have kept your expertise quiet. And any communication you have is a potential buzz opportunity. Happy Buzzing.

Squidoo Lense

You can check out my Squidoo Lens for Buzzoodle here. Shhhh..... it is a secret. :)

Buzz Impact - Roger Balser

Who is Roger? Roger sells things that lots of people sell. He is a financial advisor for high wealth individuals. I mention him here because of what was written about him by Keith Ferrazzi and because of the meeting I had with him. Roger had been cold calling for years and then read Keith's book, "Never Eat Alone." He then drove to Chicago (6 hours) to see Keith speak. Then he came back and emailed me. Asked me to get together. He drove an hour, bought me a coffee, and really focused on how he could help me. He seemed so intent on being of service to me that I got uncomfortable about how one sided things were and started thinking about how I could help him too. He has totally shifted from cold calls to building relationships and helping other people succeed, and it seems to be already paying him back, as we are all buzzing about him. I regularly get asked by people who sell accounting, financial services and insurance how they can use the Buzzoodle to create a buzz about them. Be remarkable, like Roger is doing.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 9

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday last week and this. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 9 Buzz Opportunity Awareness - look for a chance to create more buzz. In our daily life it is easy to not put ourselves out there and talk to new people. Today we challenge you to look for Buzz Opportunities to talk with new people. This could be someone on the elevator, in line at lunch or a wrong number that reaches you. Smile, even laugh, and find out a little about them and tell them a sentence or two about you and what you do. We pass up many opportunities throughout the day to connect with someone. Basically you are looking for a chance to be nice and name drop. Most times you are going to make that person's day a little better. Be sincere and connect. Even something this simple is more powerful than you think. How may times have you been talking to someone and a company gets mentioned, and you say [out loud or to yourself] "I know someone from there." Even with a simple connection that lasts 20 seconds, you can reinforce your organizational identity and make the next time they hear about it have more meaning. I would love to be a sales person in an organization that has 100's of non-sales employees doing this.

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 8

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday last week and this. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge # 8 Social Networking systems are all over. Here is a recent eMarketer Article on some of their growth. Here is a directory of many of these web based networking systems. Your Buzz Marketing Challenge today is to set up a profile in one of these communities. If you have the time, connect with a few people and make your profile interesting and buzzworthy. The more you put into it the better chance of some returns. People have asked me if they work. I can say they do work at times, and at more times if you use them more often. Getting everyone in your organization to sign up and use these systems, and stay in touch after people move to other jobs will in the long run pay you back in more contacts and stronger relationships. As a side note, I have hired employees I have met though these channels and found clients. It won't happen over night, but it is one more avenue people can discover the unique you.

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #7

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday last week and this. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #7 Today takes a bit longer than 15 minutes, but you were going to eat anyway. Take someone to lunch or meet them for coffee at least. Not someone you were planning on dining with anyway, find someone that you would like to know better. Shoot high and try to set up something with someone you always wanted to meet. Before going with them, think about what you know about them. Come up with a couple of stories about you and the organization that are buzzworthy and might interest them. Work them into the conversation if you can, but first be sure to be a good listener. Have your sales doubled yet with all these buzz challenges? Get everyone in your organization to more actively do these kinds of things regularly and they can.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #6

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday last week and this. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #6 Today I met with someone that contacted me via email and wanted to meet. He drove an hour down to my location, bought me coffee, then insisted on helping me grow my business. He is building his network by being nice to other people and helping them succeed. Today's challenge is to step outside of your nice comfort zone and be ultra nice to some people you talk to. Ask questions, find out how you can help them, and do not push your product/service on them. Spend some extra time with them to get to know them and what they need to succeed. I can tell you that I really wanted to buy this person's services because of the interaction. Even if you are not in sales, great, friendly customer service and customer interactions will produce buzz and positive word of mouth. Aren't these Buzz Challenges easy?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Workforce Involvement: Advocates or Assassins

No one wants to see an employee snap and show up at work with a gun. This is the rare extreme case, but there are many other things that can happen along the way when an employee gets discouraged, does not feel appreciated or does not feel included. They can create negative buzz, create blogs and post about the bad boss, give poor customer service, waste time, steal and more. The business really is like a ship that everyone wants to see reach port despite the storm. If someone is going around poking holes in the hull, throw them overboard before they recruit helpers. Business owners need to make sure their employees feel engaged, included and motivated to work and create buzz in a positive way. They need to accept the fact that most of their employees will eventually move on to other positions in other companies. The business owner or manager needs to understand that success for the employee is not the same as success for the business, in most cases. By focusing on workforce improvement and accepting the inevitable fact that you will lose talented people eventually, you can create a workforce that will work hard, create buzz, and talk kindly about you even when they move to a new job. I strongly recommend you keep an eye on Career Intensity to help your workforce succeed and to understand what star employees are thinking and help them succeed, even it it means they out grow your organization. Employees have responsibility too. Employees should be committed to their own success through the success of their employer. Too often, I run into a sales person or representative of a company that actually just starts complaining about the company instead of educating me on why it is great. They are clearly unhappy and looking for a job, but who would ever offer a job to someone that does not think twice about disparaging their current employer?

Once an employee is burned out, they should accept it and move on when they can.

Creating a Buzz Marketing Strategy can help move a company towards identifying success for everyone and creating some excitement. You start a Buzz Marketing Strategy by talking to employees and finding out what the success stories are. Find out what they talk about and start organizing the stories and the strategy to get everyone involved in spreading it.

The Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing strategy can transform a corporate culture to one of greater involvement, greater achievement, greater success and greater satisfaction for everyone. Not through the software necessarily, but throught the philosophy of helping people understand buzz, grow and succeed on a personal level.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Buzz Challenge #5 in Use

I created Buzzoodle to address the needs for small businesses to utilize employees to create more word of mouth and buzz. It is free marketing that gives them a competitive advantage. What I did not fully anticipate is how it would be embraced by Major Corporations, Religious entities and non-profits. Here is a post by a Pastor for a church in Springfield. My quick post, lead to his quick emails, that could lead to something that really touches someone's life. Every communication you engage in has the potential to create buzz, and also the potential to have a positive impact on a business or a person's life. Make your communications special.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #5

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday this week and next. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #5 Today it is very easy. You should be doing this every week or two anyway. Go through your back emails that are at least 3 months old, and look for people you may not have communicated with since then. Keep going back until you find some. Now follow up on three old emails. What you say does not have to be relevant to the old email. Just a "Hey, we haven't talked lately, how are you?" kind of thing. Let the person know what is new with work or life, if appropriate. Imagine if there are a hundred employees in your organization and each of them sent out three emails today to old acquaintances. That is more valuable than having 100 telemarketers call for an hour. If you do not write your life story, you should be able to accomplish this in under 13 minute and 18 seconds.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #4

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday this week and next. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #4 OK, today lets make this challenge a bit harder than an email. Today I want you to meet someone you would not have met had you not read this Buzz Marketing Challenge. Ideally in person, but however you are comfortable. The challenge is to meet them and talk at least a couple of minutes, letting them speak at least half the time. If you are in sales, this is nothing for you. However, do not go after a prospect and sell, go after a human and listen. (So yes, this may be hard for a few sales people after all.) How does this create buzz? If one person in your organization does it once, it probably will not. Maybe you need to send out a company email that says today is meet someone new day. If 100 people do it, imagine, you have an instant new network.

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #3

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday this week and next. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #3 Write an email or send a letter to a writer, radio or television personality and let them know how much you like their work. Let them know a bit about you and how what they do impacts your life or business. Mention something [ideally in your business] that they might be interested in. Be sure your signature line in your email is sharp. As a time savings device, here are some authors I have corresponded with. I did not ask their permission, but I know they are good at answering correspondence. David Lorenzo (Email on left) Seth Godin (Email on Page) Marc Miller and Jason Sinkovitz Email: Anita Campbell Ron Finklestein (Footer has email) Keith Ferrazzi This is just a quick list. All the better if you find someone in your industry or a local newspaper reporter. Just find someone that may be interested in writing or talking about you and your company. Again, under three minutes. Are you keeping up?

Buzz on the Radio - Podcast Actually

Anita Campbell at SMB Trendwire did an hour long interview with me yesterday. It is archived if you would like to take a listen to my ramblings on Buzz Marketing and building an advocacy base.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #2

We are posting a short Buzz Challenge each workday this week and next. Under 15 minutes and if you do all of them, and get all your colleagues and employees doing them as well, you will find an uptick in Buzz about your organization.

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #2

Go to a blog or message board and post something thoughtful on an article you read. Be sure to link back to your website, and if possible, mention what you do. First and foremost make sure your post is something that adds value to the article.

If you do not know how to find other blogs, go to Technorati and do a search on your industry. If that is going to take you too long, I invite you to blatantly tell me what makes you special in this blog post comment area.

Under two minutes, no excuses.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #1

For the next 10 business days (Every day this week and next) I will post a simple challenge that you can do to create more buzz for your organization. Each challenge should take under 15 minutes, and ideally only 2-3 minutes. If you want to get oodles of buzz, have all of your colleagues, employees and advocates visit this blog each day and do the challenge as well. By compounding the effort, in two weeks you will have created much more buzz for your organization. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing Challenge #1 Email a family member or friend that does not understand what you do well or what your company does, and let them know a little about your organization, why you like working for the organization, and what kind of people you like to meet, that are beneficial to your career or organization. Yep, that is it for today. When one of these challenges result in great buzz, let me know and I will post about it.

What does an advocate do?

Our friend, Ron Finklestein at Your Business Coach wrote a book a while back. Disclosure: He does not pay me to help promote his book, although he does host a website with another company of ours. Tonight I was at the local library and saw his book in the new book area. Being an advocate of his, because he has always been so helpful to us and because the book is good, I took his book down and did a face out for him. (I made the book stand with the cover out, more prominent.) A small act, but how do you get your customers, employees and other advocates to take advantage of small opportunities to create more visibility and buzz? That simple act may lead to someone reading it and hiring him as a coach, resulting in a significant amount of income. In this case, I can tell you that he has been involved with us for years and has consistantly cared about our success, and likewise we care about his.

Buzzoodle in Action (in principle)

Our friend Phil Gerbyshak got mentioned on the never eat alone blog by Keith Ferrazzi. I am not sure that Phil did this because of Buzzoodle, but it screams our point. Contact authors you like and you never know when they will write about you. Congrats Phil.

Small Business Trends Internet Radio Interview

Small Business Trends Radio is interviewing me for about 45 minutes tomorrow, starting at 1:00PM EST. It will be put into their podcast archieves after that. Podcasts are a great tool for you to build buzz, and interviewing people is a great way to meet new people you might not have otherwise met.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Two Types of Buzz Building

Most buzz marketing experts are spending their time trying to think up the killer thing that will get a client noticed. You could do this for yourself too. Start trying to think of things you can do that will make everyone talk about you. However, these are hit and miss. If you hit, it could be a jackpot, but if you miss, it could be a colossal waist of time and could even backfire. We approach Buzz first from the Snowball Buzz route. This is when an organization embraces a steady effort to create small amounts of buzz through organic stories released in an ever increasing rate from a passionate group of advocates that are close to the organization. Like a snowball, it continues to build until it is huge. By focusing on the snowball, some of your advocates will eventually create some of the Jackpot Buzz that most buzz marketing experts would have you believe they can do for you. It is more likely over the long haul because of the constant broadcast of messages by the many advocates of the organization. And once the Snowball Buzz is in full force, you can always do some brainstorming on how to create better stories and more buzz faster with your advocates. The sure way to strengthen your organization and get the most from Buzz Marketing is to develop the Snowball Buzz strategy first, and then start thinking about how to hit the jackpot.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Suggest a Topic

Due to a holiday I am writing a little less, but please feel free to post suggestions for future topics in the comment field. I would love to know if there is something a reader is especially curious about, other than how I look. [Not like Dawn Yang, for sure]

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Buzz Marketing: What Not to Say and Do

Just as there are magical things that can ignite a buzz frenzy, there are also things that can make people turn off right away and stop listening to your message. Here is a list of some things to avoid, and feel free to add other buzz killers in the comments. 1) We are a small company.... 2) We just started out.... 3) We do [tech mumbo jumbo] 4) Blame others, worst of all your customers, for problems 5) Make sexist or racist jokes [You would think this is obvious, but I have heard one of each in the last week.] 6) Fail to let your audience participate in the conversation 7) Assume other people care as much as you do 8) Tear something apart without posing a solution It really comes down to two things: Have confidence and be sensitive to others.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Amazon Wiki

Via Church of the Customer, Amazon is going to be allowing customer built information about each product through a wiki. 1) Fantastic and I am looking forward to seeing it. Since people can do it on thousands of websites and blogs anyway, why not make it part of your site! 2) What a great buzz opportunity to give good, thoughtful reviews about business books and such. Also, I am sure it will spawn a mini industry of people that will design Amazon Wiki material for products.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Buzz Marketing: HR as a Profit Center

This post makes a good follow up if you read the last one, about Buzzoodle as a more ethical form of Buzz Marketing. I met with someone today that took what we have known about our approach and went a step farther. She pointed out that by using the Buzzoodle approach for training employees to have a more positive outlook and spread more buzz and word of mouth, the HR department would stop being seen as a cost center and could take on a major role as a profit center. In fact, we often find ourselves working more with employees at staff meetings than with a companies marketing department, although both are important to the success of the effort. This is fairly revolutionary in corporate thinking. Those people in charge of health care plans could soon find themselves in charge of the most influential part of the marketing plan as well. And to me that makes sense. An organization is only as good as it's people, and HR is in charge of finding great people and making them greater.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Buzz Marketing Ethics

Why is Buzzoodle the most powerful and ethical form of Buzz Marketing? Disclosure. If I am a paid marketer creating buzz for your company, I am required by current ethical standards to disclose you are paying me to create buzz. Now consider how those rules impact family, friends and employees.
  • I work for Buzzoodle and it is the most innovative company in the world. (Disclosed and passionate)
  • My son started a company called Buzzoodle and he has all kinds of big clients. (Disclosed and non-threatening)
  • I was just at a buddies house this weekend and he was telling me all about his cool new business, Buzzoodle. (Sincere word of mouth)
  • I used to work for a company called Buzzoodle and it was so fun and innovative. (Watch it spread over time)
The Buzzoodle philosophy is to build these more legitimate broadcast centers and empower them. It is not a quick fix you can just throw money at, but it is the strategy that will have the best returns in the long run.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Buzz and Kids

With all this talk of Buzz Marketers exploiting children and generally ruining the world, I thought I would take a moment to discuss how I am using buzz with kids. I have an eight year old daughter who was just recognized by the chamber the other night because she is working to get her own business off the ground. Lemon aid stand? Paper route? No, that would just not do. New manufacturing and distribution company that will create innovative products? Two months ago I heard people saying it was not possible, now we have people lining up to help get it going. Keep an eye out and I will let you know more about it as she gets closer to her release date.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Buzz Nugget

If you want to create some buzz with Buzz Marketing, the first thing you need to do is step outside of your good idea and think about how it appeals to others.
  • Would a stranger be intrigued after seeing it or hearing about it in 30 seconds?
  • Does it solve a problem many people would recognize?
  • Would someone feel like they had to have it?
  • Would someone want to tell friends?
  • What is the cool factor?

I bring this up today because I heard about a group trying to get people to come to their Gala for a music school for kids. They asked their members to create word of mouth, which is the right idea, but why would anyone beyond the members want to attend? They have to give people compelling stories they can repeat. They have to make it easy with things they can hand out to people they talk to.

Asking for members to create word of mouth is a good start, but unless you provide good tools [easy stories to repeat] you cannot expect less interested people to work very hard at creating excitement and buzz on your behalf.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Career Intensity

Blogging works, and it is habitual. So much so that once you have one you need more. Here is some info about Blog #2 from David Lorenzo. If you have not checked out Career Intensity yet, please do. I have read an advanced copy of this book and it is excellent for those people that want to build a career instead of just work a job. One chapter is on how to build buzz on yourself. How can I not like that.

Selling is Dead eNewsletter Nominees

Selling is Dead Authors asked me to participate in naming their eNewsletter, which is going to be packed full of innovative sales advice. Their book is very good and talks about how to sell to people that are not in the buying mode, instead of people who are in the buying mode, by creating dissatisfaction with the status quo. While brilliant, I am a little worried that eventually the whole world will be unhappy and buying lots of stuff because of their book. In the interest of full disclosure, they are not paying us and at best we both enjoy this kind of thing and creating a little buzz back and forth. Anonymous SALEutions SELLer's Edge Greg Swan Goliath's Bible - Chapter X (each week you increase the number, number the subcategories as "verses") Tales from the Grave Willy Loman Report Dustin Staiger The Selling GraveMarker Old Sales Graveyard The Sales Death Certificate Selling: DOA (Dead On Arrival) The Selling Obit -Sales Obituary -The Sales Obit Epitaphs of Selling Cause of Death: Selling Russel Perry Sales Buffet is Dead "A Right Angle" Now the trick for me is to come up with the nominees. I like memorable, but not too gimmicky. I also don’t like the obvious as much as the fresh and clear. One interesting note here is that the authors were thinking about Sales Buffet themselves, so Russel should get nominated for being right in there with them.

  • Sales Buffet
  • Selling: DOA – (I like short and sweet.)
  • SALEutions – (A bit of a gimmick, but says what it is in a clear way.)
Thanks to everyone that participated, and now Anita Campbell is going to be taking over to run a public election so that you get to pick which one wins. These three nominees will run against one that Sogistics picks.

Small Business Blogging

David Lorenzo and I seem to be trading references here, but he has an excellent short post with some facts in it. Did you know so many small businesses are blogging and buzzing about suppliers and bad service?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Why Everyone Should Become a Student of Buzz

Becoming a student of buzz has some big advantages: 1) Understanding what makes a product or company buzzworthy changes your perspective on opportunities. 2) Taking advantage of buzz opportunities will help you advance your career while helping your organization grow. 3) Creating buzz about yourself and your skills makes you more marketable. 4) Somehow, things just seem easier to achieve when you understand word of mouth and buzz. 5) You understand how to influence others and are more keenly aware of how your surroundings influence you. 6) You are aware of the fact that one person's opinion can be very valuable but people do spread buzz for ulterior motives sometimes. We live in a time where people are saying that the public is immune to traditional advertising. They are aware on some level that something is an ad and they can tune it out. Why not seize the chance to become a student of buzz and understand influence? Chances are you are already doing it at some level without realizing it.

Being Late

I am occasionally late, but try not to be. Today I was at a group meeting and someone walked in late. Not for the first time, it was both times he has come. He always seems to show up right when everyone else finishes talking about their business and just in time to get to talk about his. Since the meeting started at 7:00 AM, it is not that he had something else before it. Being occasionally a few minutes late is fairly excusable. But in an instance like this, it seemed so disrespectful that he is not only not being effective, he is creating a serious amount of negative feelings towards him that could result in negative buzz.

First do no harm, is a good rule in networking.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Jackie Huba

Jackie Huba from Church of the Customer had such a good comment in an earlier post, I am pulling it out here to make sure you all notice it. Ron, I think employees are a bit more like customers. If we want employees to spread the word that our company is a great place to work, then we have to create a work experience that is worth talking about.All of the six tenets of customer evangelism that we talk about for customers, also works when thinking about employees: 1. Customer plus-delta: Continuously gather employee feedback. 2. Napsterize knowledge: Make it a point to share knowledge freely inside the company. 3. Build the buzz: Expertly build word-of-mouth networks inside the organization 4. Create community: Encourage communities of employees to meet and share. 5. Make bite-size chunks: Devise specialized, smaller offerings of your products that employees can use themselves (and can give to friends, family and peers) 6. Create a cause: Rally employees on making the world, or your industry, better. Thanks for the insight.

Cirque du Business

COSE and others did a nice job at the business plan competition blowout last night in Cleveland. Back stage access and performers, elaborate costumes and such. It was a nice change to the normal business blaw.

The most fun part for me was taking a business student to his first business event, and telling him they are all like that. They all should be.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Corporate Evangelism vs. Customer Evangelism vs. Employee Evangelism

Excellent post over at the Church of the Customer blog: Corporate Evangelism vs. Customer Evangelism I would like you to consider how Employee Evangelism effects the mix. Are they more a Corporate or more a Customer?

Advantages of Buzz Marketing

What are some of the advantages of crafting a solid Buzz and Word of Mouth Marketing campaign?

1. Word of Mouth is shown to be more effective than traditional marketing, per dollar spent, and the message is stronger if it is coming from someone you trust.

2. Word of Mouth Marketing is inclusive of other kinds of marketing. Everything you do should be made buzzworthy to turn up the volume on your marketing.

3. Word of Mouth Marketing is not seen as an intrusion (unless poorly done) by the recipient of the message. In fact, people like useful, fun information that they can spread the word on.

4. Even facilitated Word of Mouth will not go far if the quality of the product and service do not back up the hype. If your word of mouth continues to spread, you are doing something right.

5. Word of Mouth Marketing has a lower cost to produce. It is more a philosophy to make everything remarkable, than it is a series of campaign initiatives.

I am sure there are some other benefits, and please feel free to add yours to the comments.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Wishy Washy Language

When writing or speaking, some good advice I heard lately was to be specific and take a stand on something. This is true if you want to get noticed. If you try to write to appeal to everyone you will end up with a cold bowl of oatmeal. This is 4 times more true if you want to create a buzz. Decide what you believe and state it, clearly, simply and unequivocally. Chances are their are exceptions and times when it is not 100% true, but worry about that later. To begin with, figure out what you stand for and stand for it. Everyone may not agree with you, but they will notice you and talk about you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Employee Buzz and Word of Mouth Marketing

What makes Word of Mouth Marketing innovative is not that the concept is new. It is the fact that many old forms of marketing are seen as less and less effective and the form of “message communication” that is trusted the most is word of mouth, from someone you know and like. What makes Word of Mouth Marketing innovative is that it allows someone outside the company to control the message, and forces the company to craft the message by being remarkable with their products, services and customer support. What makes Buzzoodle innovative is that it turns every employee in an organization into a broadcast center by challenging them to create more word of mouth, just by talking and writing about their job more and becoming a little better networked, as a part of their normal, everyday life. However, not all employees are created equal. The following illustration shows the four quadrants of employees. Employees in Quadrant A do not feel positive or engaged at work. This group also tends to not have a large social circle, which means that even if they are complaining about the workplace, it will have limited effect. However, do not underestimate these people as many of them many not be extremely social in person but are social on the internet, where they can have an enormous impact. Especially if this group has tech skills, work hard to make them feel engaged and frequently ask them what they like about the job. Employees in Quadrant B generally like the job and have a positive opinion of it, but do not care to share that fact with a wide circle. This group should be encouraged to speak about the job more. If they are not comfortable with engaging more people in person, you can make them an online advocate of the company and train them in blogging, social networks and other online social tools where they can meet more people without feeling uncomfortable. They can also be mentored to go to more public events. Employees in Quadrant C are dangerous to your company. These highly social but negative people will spread negative stories, talk about company weaknesses and flaws in management. In the best of situations, you should try to move these employees to a more positive feeling for the company. Care must be taken that these people do not get left unchecked until they have severely damaged the company image, which as a social insider, is not difficult to do. Employees in Quadrant D should get paid double. These are the people that add energy and excitement to the company and they act as a latent but effective salesperson whenever they encounter someone. These are the people that, even years after they have left your business, will still be talking about it to new people. The key with employees in D is to recognize them, encourage them and challenge them to do even more. Give them the stories and access to information that will make it even easier for them. Turn up their volume.

Is Web 2.0 Just a Buzzword?

Here is a post at our parent company about Web 2.0 and if it is real or just a buzz word to generate more investment. Not that being a buzz word is bad. That is why we rebranded this site as an Innovation Laboratory.

Naming Contest - I get to choose the Buzzworthy

Selling is Dead authors asked me to take a look at nominated names for their new eNewsletter they are going to launch. If you want to help them name it, check out their post and the rules. It is going to be an election, once the top nominees are selected. Should be fun.

Blog Critical Mass

Just as there are many websites, but few good authoritative website, there are many blogs but few blogs people visit regularly.

To start generating traffic, you must post frequently, say short things that are valuable but easy to digest, and have a clear theme/topic of your blog, that some like minded people will want more information on.

If you keep at it, you will find that your traffic is level, with periodic jumps that make your graph look more like stairs than a slide.

This blog is on the third step. The first one was a baby step, then we started getting 50ish people per day, and then we got noticed by some amazing bloggers, newsletters and websites. We seemed to hit a critical mass in the last couple of weeks which is generating a lot of traffic.

Yesterday WOMMA had a link to us in their email newsletter, and we appreciate that. They are an important resource we use.

Blogs really are like exercise. 20 minutes a day, once a month does no good. 20 minutes a day 4-7 days a week and you are going to be pleased with the results.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tom Peters: Customer Service Story

Here is a good customer service/buzz story on the Tom Peters blog. Also, admire the number of buzz builders who were on top of it and wished him a happy birthday in the comments. Now if you are smart, put it on your calendar and mail him something next year. That is one better than a blog comment.

Fortune Innovation Blog

There is a new blog from Fortune called Innovation. They emailed me and asked me to post something about it. The email was from an Ad agency and the person who sent me the message clearly read my blog and knew I would be interested. The key here is this. Regardless of size it does not hurt to ask. Some people will post and others will not, but just being very straight forward and politely asking will yield results. The blog is fairly new, but I am sure it will be interesting over time. We are rebranding our parent company as an innovation laboratory, with a new website launch this week, so they hit a cord with me.

Media Cloud - Part Two

The previous post I talked about Media Clouds as something that obscures your message, such as a disaster. I forgot one that is not media, but can obscure your Buzz Marketing efforts if you are not careful. This year we managed to plan a seminar on the day that most grade school kids were going back to school. You may not think that matters, but you would be surprised how many people said they wanted to come but were taking off time to get their kids off to school and be there when they got home. We rescheduled.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Word of Mouth & Media Clouds

So you think you have the perfect word of mouth marketing campaign planned? Make sure there are no clouds to get in the way. Regardless of the marketing format, keep Media Clouds in mind. Media Clouds are news that obscures the vision of the normally approachable media and public. Today is election day, and I was going to send some things out. Then I realized those people are involved in politics and there is no way they would pay attention to my message today. Unless I can tie my message to the cloud, there is no chance they will notice it, let alone talk about it. What are some other bigger Media Clouds?
  • Disasters, such as the Hurricanes - One person I know postponed his marketing plan by two months
  • Holidays
  • War News - especially when something new has happened
  • Local News - Such as a company closure
  • Competitor Marketing Push - Don't do something right on their heels that may get them noticed.

If you can tie your message to the cloud, it could result in more exposure. If you cannot do this, postpone your effort a short while to not get lost in the fog.

Monday, November 07, 2005

What is the most important question you can ask when doing something new?

You will not get great Buzz Marketing results by playing catch up with your competition. Buzz Marketing is Innovative Marketing. It is doing something different with your product or with your message which gets noticed and talked about. The most important question you can ask when beginning something new is this: How do we leap ahead? All too often companies are playing catch up with their competition, imitating what appears to be working for them. Instead of trying to catch the competition, get a group together and brainstorm on how to leap ahead. When you leap ahead with a product or with your marketing message, you will create buzz because you will be seen as an innovator. The further ahead you jump, the more buzz that will result.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Buzz with New Hires

The roll of HR in Buzz Marketing is greater than you would think. New hires, you hope, are energetic and excited about their new job. Many companies require new salesman to contact all their family, friends and ex coworkers in an effort to get early sales. This same emphasis can be put on all new hires if you make the goal a little buzz, instead of closing sales. Here are some ideas you can do with new hires to get them involved with creating some buzz in those first few months.
  • Letters to family and friends, letting them know what they are doing now and inviting them to stop by, if appropriate.
  • If they left their last job on good terms, put together a little after work party between some ex coworkers and new coworkers.
  • Do a press release on the new hire.
  • Get a mentor from outside the company to support them through this transition. (Think of this as an excuse to call some people and let them know you are growing, plus help the new employee expand their network.)
  • Have the new hire update all of their online profiles with new job info.
  • Contact their alumni association and let them know that you have just hired on of their graduates.
  • Help the new hire write a stunning email signature and send out announcements of their new job to all of their contacts.

New hires have a honeymoon period where they are excited about the job and will do most things asked. Start the emphasis on Buzz early and they will continue it as a part of their everyday job.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Psychology of Criticism

A professor and I were emailing back and forth debating the value of online criticism. He tells me there are sites where students can openly bash professors with no one moderating the site. Many professors are not happy about this. I do not want to discuss the pro's and con's. Obviously, like it or not, you cannot stop it. It is WOM that is recorded for the world to see. It did get me thinking about the psychology of the situation. If I were to bash SBC, it is a large brand and no one feels it is a personal attack. When a politician is criticized, they have usually built up a thick skin. However, there are a lot of people out there not used to taking criticism. If a professor goes onto a board and sees 30 good comments on his ability and 3 bad, he will be upset about the three bad. They will seem personal to him. However, the public will go on and be able to do the math. We have all become statisticians and can quickly skim eBay feedback, web stats and other sources of information and we expect there to be some negative. The question is, what do the bad say and what is the ratio. Each of us has a different tolerance for risk, but we have become as accustom to calculating risk with online criticism as we are at measuring up a gorge to leap across.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Battle of the Titans: + WOM vs. - WOM

WOM (Word of Mouth) Happens. If you are lucky, it happens in a positive way and you reap unexpected benefits. If you are smart, it is part of your PR and Marketing and you make it happen and amplify the volume. If you are a stagnant giant, there may be very little talk about you , even though everyone knows who you are. (Some of our research found almost no mention of big brands that are just part of the landscape.) If you have an inferior brand, poor customer service or a Monopoly (Which means you have both), you will go under or get steadily increasing negative word of mouth. What about the less obvious but more prevalent example? A small to medium sized business that is just fine. Not extrordinary, not spectacular... just fine. Even if you do not think you need a WOM Strategy, you do. Why do you buy fire insurance? Do you know for a fact that your business will eventually burn down? Only if you are planning on starting the fire. Positive WOM started now is an insurance policy against negative WOM that could occur in the future. It only takes one service rep with a headache to be rude to the wrong uber connected person to start a negative WOM fire. It is a lot better if the Internet is already full of great stories about you. Better when there are already advocates walking around singing your praise. Good WOM is not only a benefit today, it is also insurance for the future.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Old Buzz and Customer Service

Today I was at the Celebrate Success Akron Business Conference where Buzzoodle was nominated as a local success story. (Yes, we nominated ourselves, that is how you create buzz, you step up and tell people about yourself.) Ron Finklestein did a great job as he does every year. The Keynote Speaker was Paul Clark, President, Northern Ohio National City Bank. He did a nice job but I am always on the lookout for valuable buzz info, and he had one story that is great. How important is customer service to your organization? You may be thanked by your grandchildren for it. Something like 100 years ago, there was something about bank holidays and no bank could process checks. First National Bank was not as big back then, nor was one of their little clients called Ford. Henry Ford called up and talked to a teller and they agreed to not honor the bank holiday and process the checks. To this day, Ford is their client. Paul Clark stood up there, looked to the sky, and thanked the wisdom of that teller many years ago. (I am writing this from memory, so if you want the exact facts, you may want to contact Paul.) The take away is this: Someone helped a 12 year old Bill Gates open his first savings account. If that person is not still his banker, they screwed up. Make everyone feel special.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Get Eight Year Olds to Evaluate Your Story

I have an eight year old brilliant daughter. Tonight as I watched my wife quiz her on what she had just read, I realized that she remembers the fun parts of the stories. Sometimes she misses the point of the history lesson, but the cool parts are ingrained in her head. If I spent twenty minutes telling her about insurance, she would not remember a thing. If I told her about how someone got hurt and an insurance company paid the family a million dollars and they were able to get the horse they always wanted, she would remember it very well. The point is this: Craft your business stories as if you are telling them to an eight year old. Sure, adults will usually pay attention better and remember more 15 minutes later, but a month from now I know I am not going to remember anything but the cool stuff that an eight year old would remember. Want to know if your story is cool? Test it on some kids.

Any Given Wednesday

Orchestrating a perfectly timed Buzz campaign is possible, but more often then not, Buzz happens on its own schedule. That is why Buzzoodle advocates building buzz with as many people as possible on an ongoing basis. Employees that become advocates of where they work add value to the organization in addition to their normal, everyday job. This Wednesday, an article I wrote from my laptop in bed one evening created a lot of Buzz when Seth Godin read it and linked to it. I did not have to email him, nor spend lots of time crafting the article. For whatever reason, it resonated with him a little more than other stuff we may have published and he has read. Which gets us back to the central theme of Buzzoodle. On any given Wednesday, any seemingly minor Buzz attempt can produce extraordinary results. The more voices that produce the Buzz, the more likely it is that something will reach and resonate with people that can influence others.

How often does a President talk about a Brand?

Being the punch line to a CNN article is not bad Buzz.

"Si, Timex," Bush said, thrusting out his wrist to show off a timepiece that had his middle initial, W, on the face. "But I'm not supposed to be endorsing products." - CNN

How do you get people to talk about you even if they are not paid to or supposed to? Good Brand, remarkable product and reporters that ask the right questions.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Why Do Influential People Blog?

Influential People are blogging more because it is an easy way to publish their opinions, be more influential and connect better with their audience. Influential people blog because it allows them to broadcast their message and extend their influence. It is a way to build a loyal following and in a few minutes, effect what many people think and do. Even if I am a huge fan of a particular influential person, television and print is not a good medium for me to follow them effectively because I cannot just turn on the TV or leaf though all the print magazines on my own time each day and find out what my favorite influencer is thinking or saying. In the past, many influential people have been part of organizations that have had websites, but because of the professional polished nature of the website, they could not easily state their opinions openly and regularly. Now that corporate blogging has hit the mainstream, many more influential people are blogging and creating a following outside of the corporate website. Any author publishing non-fiction better have a blog or they are going to disappoint their readers. Innovators have blogs to talk about their passion for their innovations. VC’s now seem to all have blogs. This gives everyone access to people that can create buzz for them if they can get their attention. Blogging is easy and it is perfectly acceptable to write quick comments that do seem like a great deal of work. It is the perfect medium for the influential person. One question you may ask yourself is this. Which came first, the chicken (influential person) or the egg (the blog)? If someone is even moderately influential and they begin blogging on a regular basis in a focused way on a topic that people care about, they will find that their level of influence goes up each month. Eventually, their blog may eclipse the other things that first gave them influence, because the blog can be accessed daily at a reader’s leisure. Whether you are an influential person today or want to be an influential person tomorrow, blogs are a great way to capture a larger audience with a minimal effort towards crafting your message and making you accessible.

Buzz Announcements

Today I see that two different people we know have gotten mentioned on two different blogs of note. Hats off to both. A while back Buzzoodle suggested that "Selling is Dead" authors work to get mentioned on Seth Godin's Blog. They wrote to him, they mailed him something, sent him a copy of the book and met him at a conference recently. Today Seth mentioned them and I am sure they are enjoying a big bump in traffic. I am also sure Seth would not have mentioned them unless he really liked the book. I also noticed our good friend David Lorenzo got noticed by Keith Ferrazzi's Blog. I cannot take credit for any of it, but I want to point it out as a great buzz example. Keith's Book, Never Eat Alone, is great. I am also reading an advanced copy of David's book and enjoying it. It is a must read for personal brand building and career planning.

Create Advocates

Some people may hear "Word of Mouth Marketing" and think that it is a difficult thing to accomplish. How do you just get 1000's of people talking about you out of thin air, they will ask? I run into people all of the time that want to sell me something but never take the time to find out if I am not more suited to be an advocate of theirs. There is no one way to create advocates. It is an attitude and the more people in your organization that understand the recruit advocates attitude, the more successful you will be as an organization.

Here is a list of ways to recruit advocates:

  • Help other people be successful
  • Superior Customer Service
  • Superior Product with unexpected benefits
  • Do the unexpected and make someone's day
  • Publicly recognize other people
  • Introduce people that you know that should know each other
  • Be open, honest and human
  • Ask people what it would take to have them recommend you or introduce you to their friends
  • Constantly perfect your networking and communication efforts

What do you talk about and why? Use the comments to tell everyone what makes you advocate a product or service.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Free Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing

Announcement: As part of our changes to make Buzzoodle more accessible to everyone, we have opened up the advanced features at no charge. As of November 1st, 2005, all current features in Buzzoodle are absolutely free. Group accounts for creating and tracking Word of Mouth Marketing with an organization’s advocacy base is now open to everyone.

What else is now free?

  • Word of Mouth Team Management
  • Event Calendar Posting
  • Custom Buzz Challenges
  • Advanced Buzz Reports

Buzzoodle is able to offer these services for free because the demand for custom word of mouth marketing campaigns has been high and the Buzzoodle staff will generate more revenue from these Word of Mouth Marketing consulting projects.

The Buzzoodle staff continues to make improvements that will enhance the Buzzoodle community. On the horizon are the ability to measure buzz for multiple products, advanced buzz measurement features and the ability to meet other people using Buzzoodle in the Buzzoodle system. Sign Up Here

Accidental Viral Marketing that creates a buzz

Viral Marketing Heaven: Homemade Video Gets 2.5 Million Downloads
Here's a viral-by-mistake marketing story you gotta love: This summer alt pop band OK Go were getting ready for a tour to promote their second album. So, there they were in a Chicago-area backyard practicing a dance routine to go with one of their songs, 'A Million Ways'. The problem with practicing a dance routine in a back yard (as opposed to, say, in a dance studio) is there are no mirrors, so you can't see how you look. Which is why the guys decided to tape the thing on a video camera set up on a tripod. They did their three-minute routine a few times and then checked the video. One of their girlfriends thought the video looked so fun that she begged them to release it as their official video instead of the "real" video they were planning to do with a professional director. The band laughed at her. Thereupon, she posted the video online and emailed a couple of friends to get a second opinion. Two point five million downloads later......... Read All

Duct Tape Marketing Advice

Duct Tape Marketing has some excellent advice. Make every piece of communication a marketing piece. Or you could make every communication buzzworthy.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Managing Expectations

Sometimes something seems very simple to you. Sometimes something you do does not seem like a big deal but to the person you do it for, it is a big deal. This Halloween, I am reminded of this by my daughter. About a block away, there is a house that for the last three years has done something extraordinary for the kids that stopped by. One year the person gave out a bucket of candy to each kid and one year he gave out those super sized candy bars. He made a point of asking “Have you been to the good house yet?” “Which house?” the kids would ask. “Wait, my house is the good house.” So this year, when we went down to his house, which is out of the way, we were surprised that the light was not on. I could see they were home, but not doing it this year. We still had a great time, but it did let the air out of the experience a bit. Expectations were high. Now think of your customers as kids at Halloween and think about what they walk away thinking. Porch light out: They don’t care about me. One Tootsie Roll: They are doing the minimum to get by. Take a couple of things, sweetie: Generous and care about me. Full size candy bar: I will remember to come back to this house next year, along with 50 of my friends. If you are going to be special, be ready to make special a SOP [standard operating procedure] because once people think of you as special, ordinary will be very disappointing.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Customer Service and Buzz

Today I will illustrate the difference between good customer service and bad, with real world examples. Example of Bad Customer Service Resulting in Bad Buzz David Lorenzo in NYC has had issues with TypePad for a week or so and if you go back through the posts you can see his level of frustration and the desire to simply get some clear answers. Example of Good Customer Service Resulting in Good Buzz I recently said some critical things about GoBig in the Virtual handshake Blog Comments and was very impressed with the 15 minutes it took the Go Big Network people to find the post, reply to the message and drop me an email. Turned negative to positive. Do your employees that are answering the phone, doing support and training people know that caring about the customer experience is essential to creating positive buzz? Make sure they do.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

HR and Employee Buzz

Thanks to Regina Miller for what she is adding to the discussion on employees buzzing about where they work. She has a very nice HR blog and oddly enough, people regularly say the Buzzoodle is as useful in HR as marketing, because of the positive effect it can have on employees in an organization. I couldn't agree more about giving them something to Buzz about. It only works in a great place to work.

Grow your organization through creating buzz for others

In a recent post I suggested building other people's personal network as being a key to expanding your own. That also applies to organizations. If you want to increase membership to a chamber of commerce, a country club, a networking group or other type of group that wants businesses to join it, a great thing to do is give them some PR before asking them to join. Today I went to a breakfast and the local chamber of commerce, where I had just done a speech the month before, and they mentioned us as a local innovator to a large crowd. Not focusing on us, but working us into the presentation about regional success. At some point I just have to return the love, even though we are an internationally focused company. Likewise, I get Crain's Cleveland because they write about us, not because I have time every week to read it. In fact, if I were a publisher I would find ways to write about more people more frequently because that is a great way to increase readership in a shrinking market. Help businesses grow and give them free exposure, and you will get their gratitude and involvement in your effort more times than not.

Word of Mouth Catch Up

I just had lunch with someone who has been the CEO of several large, international companies and his point of view was this: If P&G is doing word of mouth marketing, everyone else better be doing it soon, or the marketing professionals will lose their jobs. He also did not seem concerned about the current negative backlash in the news for word of mouth and P&G. Good news for us on the cusp of this trend.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

7 Employee Buzz Creation Incentives

Why would an employee want to create buzz for the place they work? First off, the success of an organization is the responsibility of every person who gets a paycheck. Assuming buzz is not part of a job is like assuming showing up at the scheduled work time is optional.

It is important that employees understand the advantages of creating buzz for an organization. There are the obvious advantages an employer may wish to do, such as monetary incentives, rewards or bonuses based on increased business or stepped up buzz efforts.

Here is a brief summary of some of the other employee buzz creation incentives.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #1: Successful companies can give bigger raises.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #2: Job Security. Companies will be less likely to outsource the jobs of employees that are creating positive word of mouth and buzz.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #3: When employees become better connected and create more word of mouth, they are going to know more people and be recognized as a valuable resource. This may lead to other opportunities in the future.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #4: Secure company future by helping build it's reputation and visibility.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #5: Become a more influential person by learning how to create buzz and word of mouth about the organization as well as about other things they care about.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #6: Increase friendships and industry connections as they reach out to create more buzz and build their personal network.

Employee Buzz Creation Incentive #7: Stand out in the eyes of peers and managers as someone who goes beyond the normal scope of a job and is dedicated to the success of the organization.

This is an incomplete list of employee incentives and benefits for creating buzz for their place of employment. The truth is that each employee will have a different experience that will have a different set of benefits to that person. Employers must keep positive, illustrate the benefits and continue to create buzz about creating buzz by recognizing top employee buzz performers.

Create Things People Will Talk About

I was driving back from Solon to Kent, through Twinsburg, which was the mid point of where I was headed and I got a call. It was from a potential client that was located in Twinsburg. He wanted to bounce some ideas off of me. It just so happened that I was 2 blocks from their office, so 30 seconds after the call I was walking through their door. Keep in mind I'd never been in their office before, but had noticed the sign in the past. Why is this important? I took advantage of a random occurrence to create something they will be telling other people about. I could have handled it by phone, but this was a chance to be memorable.

TRENDWATCHING.COM Newsletter | Global Consumer and Marketing Trends

Thanks to Trend Watching for recognizing Buzzoodle as a trend to watch in their newsletter TRENDWATCHING.COM Newsletter Global Consumer and Marketing Trends November 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Importance of Real Email

Why is it important to have a real email address with your name in it? This morning I am trying to send a referral to someone I know. I like that fact that in Outlook, I can start typing someone's name and the email appears. I like to save time and not need to remember anything. I know this individual prides himself on the fact that he does not have a website, does not have a company name that is easy to remember, and obviously has some obscure email that does not contain his name. So now I am forced to go look him up. It is only an extra 10 seconds, but in the world of doing someone a favor, you want to make it as easy as possible.

Marketing Trends and Chance Encounters

Here is some good reading for today: Marketing Trends - Future trends of marketing. I think technology to manage word of mouth should be in there though. David Lorenzo's Mastering the Random Encounter - This one is tied closely to Buzzoodle as part of the Buzzoodle philosophy is taking advantage of chance encounters. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Practice Introductions

If there were only one thing I could do with all of our employees, I would spend a little time with them practicing introductions and stressing the importance of first impressions and word of mouth. Employees should know how to introduce themselves, convey what the company does in a sentence or two and be memorable. They should know when to give a business card, and when to follow up. If you do not work with employees, those that are not in sales and marketing will always say what they do, and not how the company helps it's clients.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Image: Blend In or Stand Out

What is your Buzz Factor? When you go to the closet to pick out your clothes, do you choose something that blends in or stands out? Are you trying to be invisible or in the spotlight? On a scale of 1 to 10, consider what your buzz factor is for various parts of your life and business. Dress: Buzz Factor 1 – I dress to match the people I am going to meet. I choose business neutral colors. I hear blue makes people trust you. Buzz Factor 10 – I choose clothing to stand out and let people know I am fearless. I create my own trends and people imitate my style. Website: Buzz Factor 1 – We have all the pages everyone else has. About Us, Contact, Products, Services…. And we have blue because we know that means people will trust us. Buzz Factor 10 – Our website engages the visitor. We are not afraid to state opinions, use bold colors and create pages that challenge people to think. We encourage employees to post on our site and in their own blogs. Business: Buzz Factor 1 – We keep at it and are making a modest profit. Buzz Factor 10 – We are nimble and not afraid to dump poor performing products, change direction or start new lines of products and services. We swing for the fence and what we do have a certain cool factor to it. We turn some customers away when it is not a good fit. Marketing Materials: Buzz Factor 1 – Our Logo is straight out of the sixties and it is what our target market expects from us. Buzz Factor 10 – We market in many different new mediums and use bold colors and images that differentiate us from others in our industry. We create viral marketing messages and pay close attention to word of mouth marketing. These are just some of the categories in which you can measure your buzz factor. Take time to understand how much buzz in each area is good for you and your business, and then start moving up the scale. Your goal should be to get noticed as an innovator, as your own person, and get people to talk about you positively to the people around them.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Techo Geek Sticker Buzz

Here is a new buzz challenge for you. Get some ultra cool stickers of your company made and get trendy, high profile people to put them on their laptop. See Rafe's Blog here.

Viral Halloween Scare

Some friends did a fun thing. They set a basket of candy outside the porch at night, rang the doorbell and ran. It had a spooky poem in it, along with candy and such. The thing I like about it is that it says you have to do it to two other people. So tonight we went out to buy things to do it to two more families. As long as we do not get shot, it should be fun. Needless to say, my daughter loves this and the viral nature of the thing is a lot of fun. We are pretty sure who did it, so we are going to do it to other people to see if it spreads. Maybe one key to viral marketing should be to get people's kids excited. Of course, we know that can get you in all kinds of trouble. - Maybe the candy company started this.

Brands at Home

Yesterday I posted a list of things I talked about through the first part of the day. Later in the day I noticed how different my talk was with my family.
  • Survivor (Positive WOM)
  • The Apprentice (Positive WOM)
  • Pony Pals (Positive WOM)
  • The Sunflower (Positive WOM)
  • Silk Soy (Positive WOM)
  • Chipotles (Positive WOM)
  • Cingular (Positive WOM)
  • T-Mobile (Negative WOM)

No doubt there was more, but I was not writing them down. Just making a mental note in my head. Is your product or service something people talk about at work or at home?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

David Lorenzo's Experiment

Please see david's post on sending personal, hand written notes to people he has read about in the news. Now consider if everyone in your organization did this once a month!

Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz Marketing

How does Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz Marketing compare? Guerrilla Marketing is usually low cost or free marketing that promotes the product or service in a creative way. Buzz Marketing can be inexpensive or very expensive in an effort to create something worth talking about and generating lots of word of mouth. Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing combines Guerrilla Marketing and Buzz Marketing by utilizing businesses employees and other advocates to create word of mouth and buzz in a guerrilla fashion. Example One: Employee Email Challenge Buzzoodle often challenges employees to follow up with people they have not talked to recently and see how they are doing. Imagine if a company of 500 people followed up with one more person each week. What if signatures in those emails were made to sing and get noticed? Guerrilla Marketing Tactic: Email is cheap and no one is less productive sending one email more each week. Buzz Marketing Tactic: Five hundred people more per week hear about the company. Soon people notice a difference. Your company is friendlier, more responsive, better connected. Example Two: Employee Blog Posts Buzzoodle encourages active online participation of employees with computers and internet access. What happens if every employee starts either writing a blog or commenting on other people's blogs? Much higher visibility, inbound links and curiosity about the company. Plus the public feels your company is more accessible. Guerrilla Marketing Tactic: Free blogs and comments have no cost. Time to post on them is minimal and they will create more visibility for the website. Buzz Marketing Tactic: With so much more visibility on the web, people will notice the buzz and start paying attention. One of the most powerful aspects of Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing is when people start seeing your company name and message in various places. Example Three: Better Networking Buzzoodle encourages every employee in an organization to understand the power of word of mouth and start becoming better networked. Some will do this better than others, but everyone increasing their network, even by just one new person a month, adds value to the company. Guerrilla Marketing Tactic: Utilizing free events, and employees networking in their free time allows a company to get greater value per employee and helps the employee be more successful in the future. Buzz Marketing Tactic: Some of the people that employees meet will be well connected and enjoy talking about the company and the people they know. Once a few of these people know people at your company, they will create incredible buzz about the products and services you have to offer. Example Four: Write to a Media Professional Buzzoodle encourages employees to reach out to their favorite authors, radio hosts, reporters and TV anchors. Send them email or letters of ideas and praise. Be sure to mention where you work. Guerrilla Marketing Tactic: Inexpensive and can result in huge visibility if your company is talked about in the press. Buzz Marketing Tactic: One quick email can result in a jackpot of PR if you end up in the news or on a well known author’s blog. These are just four examples of how Buzzoodle challenges employees to create more buzz for the company they work for. It is part Guerrilla Marketing and part Buzz Marketing, but most of all it is just plain smart. Find out more: