Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk About Your Stuff by Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes was a marketing executive for PepsiCo, and Pep Boys but he earned his laurels helping make Half.com a success with the now famous marketing move of getting a town called Halfway, Oregon, to change its name to Half.com, Oregon – wow, people really went for that?
Although this book is published in 2005 I found a lot of the examples to be incredibly dated for a book that touts: “Books like The Tipping Point and Purple Cow taught us that every company can thrive by creating buzz. Now Buzzmarketing teaches us HOW to make it happen in the real world with the six secrets of buzzmarketing.” I’m not sure what the book means to teach with some of these examples: Miller Lite, the “1984” Apple commercial, tie-dye, etc. that is applicable to business circa 2005. Between these historical artifacts and the somewhat overwrought recounting of Half.com’s success I was almost ready to put this book down but there are some discussion points that have merit.
The “six secrets” are interesting and makes one wish that this chapter was available as a downloadable PDF. As Hughes describes them, the Six Buttons of Buzz:
- the taboo (sex, lies, bathroom humor)
- the unusual
- the outrageous
- the hilarious
- the remarkable
- the secrets (both kept and revealed)
Each one of these “buttons” can be used to start conversation with potential customers, “the market”, and the press. You can use one or a combination of these buttons to get conversations going and to create “buzz” about your company, product, or service. At this point with my limited intellect, I can’t see using this beyond press releases or attitude when writing website copy, or designing some ads.
The other chapter that was helpful was the description of the five most frequently written news stories:
- the David-and-Goliath story
- the unusual or outrageous story
- the controversy story
- the celebrity story
- what’s already hot in the media
This kind of insight makes it easier to pitch your story to media reps and I have had some success with this since reading the book. It also helps refine your elevator speech with customers if you have a widely understood angle – the specifics can come later. The problem is that these two chapters are the only ones that I felt I benefited from when reading this book. I don’t think that means the whole book is a waste of time to read, after all, if you learn just one thing from a book, then it’s supposed to be worth it, right? I just wish the ratio of value was higher, but at $15 and 240 pages this investment didn’t break the bank.