Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes: Book Review

April 25, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Bottom Line: Luke warm. There are a few case studies and a few principles of creating Buzz but not the magic secret. I think that happens through 1/2 hard-work, 1/2 luck & 1/2 randomness. Yea, 150%. Skimming this book in a library/book-store may do you good. All the key take-aways are below…
Buzzmarketing Get People to Talk about your Stuff
I got BuzzMarketing by Mark Hughes on recommendation from Ramit who said it was a must read. The most interesting part of the book was how the author (former VP Marketing Half.com) got the town of Half Way, Oregon to change their name to half.com.

Highlights include:

  • You never know unless you ask. He asked the city if they would change without even being able to show them half.com. Eventually the name purchase put them on Good Morning America, USA Today and more…
  • Find your spreaders. One chiropractor built his practice with nonpaying patients. They had to pay with talking about his business to others.
  • Britney! They created a movie to market her third album. Use this marketing tool to reinvent her as a sexier Britney. The 2 key elements of Britney were understanding the precepts of attention and delivering a great product.
  • Be aggressive! If any NBA player ended the game with 0 fouls the coach would say they are not playing aggressive enough. Take risks and expect some failure.
  • Know when to Stop! Coke put more fire in the Pepsi challenge and should have let it go instead of commercial and trying to prove it false.
  • Tidal Wave. Ford bought all the advertising time on TV for the launch of the Mustang. They also gave the cars to Radio DJs who in turned talked about the car on the radio. One even complained about not getting one so much Ford gave him one.
  • Questions. Only ask 2 questions on every survey. How did you first hear about us? Would you go out of your way to recommend our product to a friend?


What has been the best buzz campaign ever? One random commenter gets a Buzz Marketing book mailed from me ;)

Also check out my post Learning Viral: What my Brita taught me about Commitment

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18 responses to “Buzzmarketing by Mark Hughes: Book Review

  1. Boris Reply

    I say the iPod was buzzing so loud that within a month or two of their original launch the old ladies at my former work place were talking about it excitedly without really even knowing what it is.

  2. Rachel Reply

    I don’t know if products and services that are offered for free are buzz-marketable. If they count, then I think Gmail wins. The first time I had my conversations amalgamated was about as magical as a BCS bowl ending with a Statue of Liberty.

  3. matt snider Reply

    World of Warcraft. I was so jazzed about this game, for so long, that when it was finally released, I was already sick of playing it. Now, almost two years since it was first released, I still can’t talk to a hardcore gamer without getting an earful about the game.

  4. Will Kern Reply

    Way back in the day, when cabbage patch dolls came out, it was like a mad dash to the store to get one. People were standing in line for hours to get those goofy, odd shaped baby dolls with the silly names. Another one are beanie babies (I am really dating myself here).

    Will

  5. Chris Moxley Reply

    I’m going way, way back and picking DC electricity. Thomas Edison would electrocute animals, including at one point an elephant, in an effort to discredit Tesla’s AC power. He was successful in the sense that he discredited Tesla, but failed in the sense that we use AC power in most houses today. I pick this because, 100 years later, people still talk about it.

  6. TJ Reply

    “Snakes on a Plane” – Haven’t seen any other movie generate that much buzz on the internet and media. Watched and actually enjoyed it;)

  7. Devin Reply

    Thank you for not putting the bottom line at the bottom. You are so clever, sometimes..

    I’m with Rachel, GMail caught me more than anything.

    But buzz isn’t always useful. Buzz just means people have heard about something cool. Like Boris said, there’s not much value in people knowing a product name and nothing else… is there?

  8. Kenny Bannister Reply

    Hi Noah! I too found the book lukewarm, but before picking it up I read ‘Word of Mouth Marketing’ by Andy Sernovitz. I thought it was much better because it focused more on hands-on activities, backed up by applicable theory, rather than mostly a collection of anecdotes. Though one thing that Buzzmarketing has that the other does not is the hot topics/stories that get people talking and the media writing (Taboo, David v.s Goliath, etc). Overall I think they complement each other, but ‘Word of Mouth Marketing’ is better. Cheers!

  9. Kenny Bannister Reply

    Hey Noah I’m not sure why you deleted my comment, I’m a fan of your site and read it often so I can assure I wasn’t spamming… besides, I have similar comments in one of my listmania lists at Amazon. Well anyway, I can’t complain because you’re the boss here! =) Keep up the cool work. Cheers.