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.