In a way or another we all play at some point the marketing agent for certain products or brands. When we recommend a brand for a friend or just talk about it in an exciting way, then we are enticing him to do the same. This is what’s referred to in marketing as word of mouth and it is more effective than a commercial on radio, TV, or anywhere else. Businesses try to find ways to let people talk about them, and to reach that goal, they base their campaigns on this word-of-mouth marketing strategy or what is also known as buzz marketing.
As defined by Wikipedia, buzz marketing “is the interaction of consumers and users of a product or service which amplifies or alters the original marketing message. This emotion, energy, excitement, or anticipation about a product or service can be positive or negative.” But as a person who is not of marketing, you might wonder how this buzz marketing can impact purchasing decision?
A new study conducted by a group of researchers from “Faculty of Economics and Management of Tunis” and published here on the Journal of Marketing Research & Case Studies, has tried to answer this question. The study’s focus is to clarify how effective buzz marketing is and determines its contribution to advertising.
History of buzz marketing
“Buzz marketing is initially appeared on the Internet…Indeed, the tools inherent in this type of media used to convey information in a few clicks. The message can be sent directly to a third person…Born around 1997, it travels out of bounds and win virtual ‘reality’” the study discussed the founding and the first stages of buzz marketing.
Impact of Buzz marketing
To create buzz around a business, marketers try to give people something to talk about using different strategies such as building suspense around a product or the launch of an event, or create controversy about that…etc. Yet creating a buzz is not always positive on the image of the business, but it can also be negative.
Researchers of the above study stated Hughes’ analysis that “action buzz marketing can harm the brand, that is to say, if it generates a negative and uncontrollable buzz due to the non-appreciation of the brand or the message it tries broadcast.” So, businesses have to carefully control their message because “bad buzz marketing can have dramatic repercussions on brand sales.”
For the aim of building a positive image of the business “buzz marketing should be permanently creativity, mixing fantasy and reality. The ultimate goal is to surprise, aroused the curiosity of consumers and especially to talk about the brand beyond the action” the study stated. “The brand tries to make an experience to the consumer by offering to become his privileged ambassador in order to promote a product or service.”
Impact on the awareness to the brand
To search what impact buzz marketing has on the awareness to the brand, the study stated that it “uses social ties of some consumer groups called community (individuals with common behaviors) to promote an offer…In the field of the community, the product is a recognition factor, a real tool that creates a link among individuals in the community.” So, marketers need to shape their strategies to meet these needs. “The means of communication used to promote a product must meet the criteria of belonging to a community as it is.”
Influence on purchase decision
The successful buzz marketing maintains a good relationship between the brand and customer. “This new consumer involvement will help generate word of mouth that meets the objectives of the company and thus affect many people.” Customers then turn to be “full participants of the brand and not just as consumers. Thus, the post-modern consumer is primarily a consommacteur” meaning an “active brand vector.”
To weigh the effectiveness of a buzz marketing campaign, marketers measure its variables that reveal the influence including image, awareness and purchasing decision. Researchers of this study have shown that the image of a brand is affected by buzz marketing and has also an impact on the customer’s awareness of the brand, and thus his decision to purchase. The idea of buzz marketing goes beyond the classic view that sees customer “an actor but his own consumption influences the consumption of others.”