Sunday, July 31, 2005

WOM Campaigns and Buzz

I try to keep things general enough that anyone can read this blog. However, this one is a bit more about Buzzoodle. We have a meeting yesterday and talked about what would make Buzzoodle even better. The things on the horizon are going to be so fun. Probably the feature that will be the most useful is the campaign of challenges. These are going to be crafted with a much more specific purpose, such as promote website, drive traffic to retail store, etc. This is going to allow people to pick up a bundle of challenges tailored for quick results towards their goals.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Global Networking

It was not that long ago that I felt isolated in Ohio. I wanted to meet more people outside of the area but did not know the best way to go about it. Sure, we had clients in various states, but I was not meeting as many people as I would have liked. As I have found a stronger voice, I have found that it easier. I started correspondence with many more people all over and now I am actually introducing people when I have never even met either face to face. This is an odd feeling. I sometimes feel a bit jealous that I am making introductions for people I would like to shake hands with, but I have not made it to that part of the country yet. However, it is nice to think that you can create good will and positive connections can be done from the comfort of my Office Max chair.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

How easy is it to join the club?

I was recently at a social business event. The topic of Harry Potter was brought up by an associate. He had read the new book and loved it. I said, "I read the first one and the second one seemed like it was going to follow the same formula so I never finished it." You would think that he would say he read the new one and liked it and that would be it. Instead, it turned into a 15 minute discussion. (Which I enjoyed) If the topic had been cell phones and went the same way, it would have seemed very odd. Person A: "I just went with T-Mobile." Person B: "I hate T-Mobile, I had them years ago." Person A: "You really should switch to T-Mobile as I love it...." See what I mean? Things buzzworthy have a strong element of "being in the know." With some things, like Ms. Rawlings books, it is hard to avoid joining the club. Once you are perceived as being a member, you are expected to voice your support or interest. Of course this is fairly obvious. Many people are familiar with building a community around a brand. When it is easy to spot (Jeep, Harley Davidson) or you can be sure people have had some sort of exposure (Harry Potter books, movies, toys, news) it is much easier to connect with people over it. Ultimately, buzz happens because the story of your brand, product or service is a currency that helps people connect.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Buzz on the web

Here is a great article on the power of blogs to build up a buzz and establish you as an expert quickly. American Idol Fan Blog Technique
Currently, my Bo Bice blog is generating sustainable traffic with very little work on my part (barring any unforeseen search engine calamity). As the American Idol Concert tour rolls this summer and as Bo gets to work on his first post-Idol album, I expect the traffic to increase. One doesn’t need to be a SEO ace to be able to create a blog that can generate a large number of visitors. Whether you wish to blog for business lead generation, ad revenue, or personal reasons, if you follow the techniques described above, you can create and sustain a well-trafficked blog by following the techniques listed above.
This article is more on SEO and Blogs, but is very valuable when thinking about getting more exposure. This person was just experimenting and found it to be very beneficial.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The political foray

The staff here at Buzzoodle knew it was only time before politicians realized the power of a system like Buzzoodle to organize advocates to help build buzz and get people elected and initiatives passed. Today we met with someone who specializes in helping with campaigns and they really got pumped up. While Buzzoodle will not be publicly mentioned, it is bound to have a big impact on future elections. Already the less organized forms of Buzz and Word of Mouth have been credited with tipping elections in our area. Bringing it into a concrete system is just going to take it to the next level.

Monday, July 25, 2005

International WOM Conference

If you are looking for an excuse to go to Hamburg here it is: It is an international conference on word of mouth and looks like lots of interesting speakers.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Being Involved

Today I was reminded of how important it is to be involved. Thompson Hine sponsored a roundtable what allowed entrepreneurs to come in and talk about what they needed to grow. Many of the connections we made were because so many of the people in the room sit on Boards of Directors. Another great opportunity is to work with some of the people that are trying to grow the region. Getting involved is key for growing your network and building buzz. Plus it feels good.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

DIY Buzz Campaign

The first thing to do in a DIY Buzz Campaign is clarify your message and the actions you want people to take.
  1. What story or message are you trying to propagate?
  2. What action do you want your audience to take?
  3. What are things about you or your products that are interesting and repeatable?
  4. What would make your message flow from person to person?
  5. What makes your group different and special?
  6. Who is most likely to care about your story and repeat it?

Dick Wright ( is a great example of a story that is easy to repeat. He told me a year ago about how he walked in and found his boss dead in his chair years back. Now he sells AED's and is very passionate about it. He has a great story that is easy to repeat. I have told many people about him.

When I met him, I had already heard about him from another source who was talking about him. We made an instant connection because I said "I just heard about you from someone at an event." The buzz around him pulled things together much more quickly.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Buzzoodle Feedback

As many of you know, we created Buzzoodle to solve the problem of getting our employees to be better advocates for our company. Since it's release, we have learned a lot about word of mouth and buzz. I am finding that the feedback form works best if you record your own results in it, and not try to drive people to the form too actively. Plus your buzz seems more genuine then. I do use other people's buzzoodle feedback forms when I am acting as an advocate on their behalf. I let them know that I created a WOM Unit (Word of mouth instance) and they keep an eye out for results. More will follow.

Monday, July 18, 2005

How big is word of mouth and buzz?

It has been a fun day. We have been contacted by two VC firms and one person looking to find angel investing for us. All unsolicited! WOM (Word of mouth) is very hot and you are going to start seeing it mentioned everywhere soon.

Blog Technologies

Here is a good comparison of Blog technologies if you are interested. I started out on Blogger to get moving quickly and because it was more of an experiment. I am bringing it up because blogging is becoming an increasingly popular way to stand out on the web and to create buzz.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Family and Buzz

It is tough to talk with family about what you do sometimes. I went back to a family reunion today and at first felt that I could have done better. I was not running about talking about the business. Then I remembered I am not supposed to be selling, just mentioning it. That made it easier. I actually talked with six people about the business. (In front of another ten or so people.) Will it change the sales figures tomorrow? I doubt it. But it is still mission accomplished.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Influential People and Word of Mouth

I would like to pose a new question to the word of mouth and buzz marketing community. Instead of targeting your message to the influential folk (The top 10% of people that the other 90% of people tend to listen to) is it not possible to create some influential people? Let me explain a bit better. To become influential, you have to believe what you are talking about, not be afraid to tell people about it, and to have an ever-growing circle of people that want to listen to you, at least on the topic that you are a perceived expert on. So if I look at 100 people, (lets assume employees) and I have regular access to them, can I train and challenge all of them to be (at least) a little more influential and won't a certain percentage discover how much fun it is and become extremely influential? Now, as employees, you have helped them achieve this state and life is better, and they are now happier with the company, and they have more people that will listed to them. What is the impact on the company? Good to great, I am guessing. And it is a gift that will keep on giving. What traits would an employee have when they move from less to more influential in their social circles?
  • Better attitude and customer service at work
  • Feels more included in the company
  • Feels more pride and appreciation for the company
  • Spreads the word about what a great place it is
  • Becomes a more valuable resource to the employer

If you are already familiar with the advocate thinking, consider how a slower, but steady effort to make your entire workstaff move in this direction would effect your company. Please leave your comments.

Buzzoodle will be starting studies to measure this very soon. Contact us if you are interested in participating.

Importance of word of mouth Buzzoodle is about building better word of mouth with your employees and other advocates. If you question how important that is, read the above aricle.


Who would have thought that the oldest form of marketing is a new industry. I just got back from the WOMMA conference in Chicago and it was a good time. What amazed me most was the fact that this is really a new industry with a lot of opportunity. When we started Buzzoodle, we were just trying to solve our own problem by creating a better way to get our advocates to get out there and start talking. Sometimes an everyday problem propels you into a whole new world. On another note, I want to thank David Lorenzo for including us on his blog. He created his blog to help businesses grow and he is very passionate about word of mouth. It is fun to meet like minds.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Advocates for Buzz

People are immediately interested in getting all their employees building buzz for them. In many cases, what works best is to create the advocates for buzz first. These are people who get it. Who are already talking about where they work and what they do. They look forward to the challenge of creating more buzz and measuring it. Get these people trained and then put them in an organizational roll with a team to create buzz. Fellow employees that are excited about buzz and talking about the organization are going to be much more effective than an edict from the management staff. These employees can then build their buzz team. They can get the group together for lunch or after work get togethers to discuss buzz, and keep it light-hearted and fun. The most effective way to create word of mouth and buzz with your employees is to educate them on it, and have them enjoy doing it.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Seasonal Buzz Strategies

When writing some of the 260+ default buzzoodle challenges earlier this year, there was something we noticed. The season can really play a big factor (especially in the north) when formulating a Buzz Strategy. How many different buzz activities take place outside? How many are at events that are held more frequently or better attended in the winter months? How many more people do you meet on vacation or when you start attending school events with your kids again? Buzz can be done year round. When formulating a strategy it is important to keep the various opportunities in the different seasons in mind.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Make it Easy

To get people to talk about your organization you have to make it easy. A story that is worth repeating or a specialty skill that people need and cannot find easily. People spend a lot of time crafting their 30 second pitch, but what are the things people would spread about you without practice? Create several of these stories and you will find that you won't need your elevator pitch as much.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

PR People

I had a nice talk with the PR person I mentioned in the earlier post. I have to say I cringed a bit after posting that, but left it as I am very lazy and it was not a lie. Plus it is not bad to mix it up a bit. As he pointed out to me, he gave me his opinion in confidence and I should not have written about it, as I did. (Especially as he is a reader) Sorry about that Jim. Next time we will clearly say "Off the blog" or "On the blog"

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Effective Word of Mouth and Buzz

The problem companies have in not creating effective buzz and word of mouth in most cases stems from a lack of focus and fuzzy goals. To effectively execute a planned buzz campaign be sure to have the following:
  1. Clear Vision
  2. Promote one thing, not everything you do.
  3. Way to capitalize on buzz
  4. Great stories people would want to repeat
  5. Know who would be nice to reach such as industry experts
  6. Perseverance - You don't close a business after one month, and you should not give up on buzz after one month.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The emergence of your workforce

Seth Godin wrote an interesting post in his blog: It is really about the slow stagnation of a company. This slow, steady decline reminds me of Buzzoodle, but in the opposite way. With Buzzoodle, you get your employees to slowly, steadily start reaching out and building their network more. It is more of a slow emergence. (Fast with those that embrace it quickly.) People like fast results. But much like the tortoise, you can slowly win the race by creating a workforce of passionate, well connected individuals that understand how to talk about where they work.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Professional Services

Those of you who know me know that I created Buzzoodle to solve my own problem on encouraging people that worked for one of my companies to get out there and talk about us more, even if they were not selling. Today I met with several professional services firms that all seem very interested in the same thing. An amazing amount of people wish their own staff would just network a little and talk about there job a little. If everyone in an organization does it a little, it becomes a lot.