Online Social Media as a Driver of Buzz Marketing: Who’s Riding?

Online Social Media as a Driver of Buzz Marketing: Who’s Riding?

Khan Md. Raziuddin Taufique (National University of Malaysia, Malaysia) and Faisal Mohammad Shahriar (Leading University, Bangladesh)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1598-4.ch025
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Abstract

‘Buzz Marketing’ is an alternative strategy of creating preference and demand among prospective customers. Though given caution, this geometrically progressive marketing strategy offers significant opportunities for firms. The popularity of online social media adds a new dimension of buzz marketing, as these social networking sites accommodate a massive exchange of views among the users. Companies planning to use online social media as a driver of their buzz marketing efforts inevitably face the challenge of acquiring favorable response from a versatile and almost uncontrollable mass of users. Hence, profiling the users of social media is valuable. This paper examines the users of online social media and creates profiles of these “buzz riders.” Qualitative in nature, this study also proposes strategic implications for the different categories of online social media users to elicit positive responses of the buzz marketing efforts of the companies.
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What Is Buzz Marketing All About?

Though young, the concept of buzz marketing has acquired attention of scholars from all around the discipline, mostly due to its rather ‘off the track’ nature. As a result, different ideas and definitions exist about buzz marketing. Greg (2004) defined buzz marketing as, “the amplification of initial marketing efforts by third parties through their passive or active influence”. Whereas, WOMMA (2004) defined the same as: “Using high-profile entertainment or news to get people to talk about your brand”. Apart from attribute based definitions, Hughes (2004) has defined buzz marketing on its functional characteristics as: “Capturing attention of consumers and the media to the point where talking about your brand becomes entertaining, fascinating, and newsworthy; A conversation starter”. According to SearchCRM.com (2010), buzz marketing is a viral marketing technique that attempts to make each encounter with a consumer appear to be a unique, spontaneous personal exchange of information instead of a calculated marketing pitch choreographed by a professional advertiser. Historically, buzz marketing campaigns have been designed to be very theatrical in nature. The advertiser reveals information about the product or service to only a few “knowing” people in the target audience. By purposely seeking out one-on-one conversations with those who heavily influence their peers, buzz marketers create a sophisticated word-of-mouth campaign where consumers are flattered to be included in the elite group of those “in the know” and willingly spread the word to their friends and colleagues. By looking at the above definitions, we can form an understanding that buzz marketing is when consumers talk about the brand to other consumers. In other words, buzz marketing is nothing but word-of-mouth communication. At this point, confusion might arise whether there is any difference between buzz marketing and word-of-mouth marketing.

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