The concept of buzz marketing may be simply described by the dynamics of “word-of-mouth. ” Marketing groups depend on an informed audience to communicate information to other people which is expected to influence behavior and way of thinking towards marketed ideas, products, and services. Buzz marketing is also known as “viral marketing” because like the spread of virus, information regarding ideas, products, and services are spread through word-of-mouth which fulfills the concept and purpose of marketing.
Moreover, buzz marketing aims to carry out the concept of marketing by building a personal relationship with the audience. Buzz marketing seems to covertly manipulate a natural setting because it appears to be personal and inadvertent. (Tech Target, 2007) Al Fresco, which is owned by Kayem Foods, executed buzz marketing to promote their line of products, specifically Al Fresco’s chicken sausage. Kayem Foods employed the expertise of BzzAgent in marketing their chicken sausage product for Al Fresco.
The marketing agency applied the concept of buzz marketing or the word of mouth marketing concept because they deem traditional marketing strategies to be ineffective. By traditional marketing, BzzAgent means television commercials, radio and print advertisements, billboards, etc. For them, building up the industry of marketing means eliminating the line that separates producers from consumers. Buzz marketing is supposed to break down the commercial barrier and personalize marketing.
(Walker, 2004) During the Fourth of July festivities, representatives for Al Fresco rushed to cookouts in the Midwest to supply Al Fresco chicken sausages. Although they were actually representatives for Al Fresco, they attended various occasions, such as barbeques, family gatherings, etc. and even visited groceries all over towns chatting up costumers about chicken sausages and leaving suggestions, as patrons, for grocery owners to include the Al Fresco chicken sausages in their inventories.
Representatives for Al Fresco who attended various occasions in the area seemed to be invited guests, family members, friends, etc. and not Al Fresco chicken sausage marketers. These representatives brought Al Fresco chicken sausages to events, and casually conversed with other individuals about the first-rate quality of the particular product. Some representatives related encouraging stories, supposedly personal experiences, expressing positive remarks to Al Fresco chicken sausages. (Walker, 2004) So the question now is how efficient is buzz marketing in accomplishing the purpose of marketing?
Various companies have adapted the word of mouth concept to their marketing scheme, while others start to fall for the “buzz” in buzz marketing being convinced about its effectiveness as a marketing medium. The competitiveness of buzz marketing is evident in the way the Hipic community received it. The said community was targeted because of its large population, enabling viral marketing to be successful. Levi’s Dockers also employed the assistance of BzzAgent in marketing their clothing line. Authorized by Levi’s Dockers, BzzAgent sent a full set of clothing items to selected individuals belonging to the Hipic community.
The recipients also received instructional materials on how they should wear clothing items, how they should initiate conversations with other people, and how they are going to relay results of conversations to BzzAgent. This starts the word of mouth campaign to promote Levi’s Dockers items. (Marcano, 2005) Aside from the influence of population on the efficiency of buzz marketing as parallel to the concept of a viral marketing strategy, the selection of individuals who go along with trends and changes makes up the psychology of effective buzz marketing.
Being able to identify these kinds of people – individuals who are leaders, individuals who talk and people listen, individuals who can influence other people, etc. – will enhance the value of buzz marketing strategies. (Marcano, 2005) With this in mind, perhaps buzz marketing may be perceived as an effective strategy in the marketing industry because it seems to reach out to people although in reality it is still advertising. Buzz marketing seems to establish personal relationships with consumers.
Moreover, it does not appear as a marketing strategy at all. Talks are like typical everyday conversations, where individuals being wooed to purchase products and services are not threatened or pressured by palpable and belligerent marketing strategies. The question of who is attracting who also creates a distinction between buzz marketing and traditional marketing strategies. Buzz marketing seems to brighten up the supposedly reality bulbs within people’s minds, diminishing the obvious deceptive approach of traditional marketing.
In addition, the dawn of the technology age made it possible for buzz marketing to extend its reach massively. (Hughes, 2005) Although companies and marketing groups believe in the promising future of buzz marketing, it is being confronted by the issues pertaining to its functions as a marketing strategy developed within the framework of ethical guidelines and principled business practices. The ethical issue for buzz marketing is its scheming character. Let us remember that buzz marketing does not SEEM to appear a marketing strategy but part of reality.
Individuals who are identified to be influential are employed by marketing groups and companies to promote their products in an ordinary, personal kind of way, without them letting other people know that they cooperate with those companies and marketing groups. Moreover, buzz marketing distorts reality as it turns truth to made-up truth. (Knowledge@Wharton, 2005) Perhaps to lessen ethical confrontations to buzz marketing, there should be some kind of admission to its adaptation to marketing strategies. Hired representatives for these companies should not be restricted to tell the truth about their being hired.
In addition, products and services provided by companies should be able to live up to the expectations of consumers picked up from buzz advertising. With these facts in mind, what now is the implication of the advantages and disadvantages (in terms of ethical principles) buzz marketing to professionals? The answer is to employ buzz marketing prudently. The efficiency of buzz marketing is undeniable, penetrating social networks and building personal relationships with consumers. Therefore, buzz marketing is looking into a vivid future of popularity and purposefulness.
However, to address ethical considerations regarding the matter, buzz marketing should be used whenever its function calls for it paired with social responsibilities sensitive to truth, integrity, and justice. (Knowledge@Wharton, 2005) It is important that representatives reflect personal opinions regarding products or services they are asked to endorse, whether constructive or destructive, and that corporations and marketing organizations do not limit these opinions to constructive ones. Buzz marketing should be looked upon as a double-edged sword.
With positive feedbacks from representatives to other users as a way to widen reach, while negative feedbacks as a way to evaluate products and services and change them in order to appeal to a wider consumer population. Companies and marketing groups should be honest about information passed on during buzz marketing and that products and services marketed live up to the information passed on about them. In this way, there will be no questions regarding buzz marketing ethical perspectives, while at the same time, buzz marketing is used to its full advantageous potential.
References Hughes, M. (2005). “The Second Secret – Push the Six Buttons of Buzz. ” Retrieved September 13, 2008, from Buzz Marketing. Website: http://www. buzzmarketing. com/media/pdf/chapter_13_3_30_03. pdf Knowledge@Wharton. (2005). “What’s the Buzz about Buzz Marketing. ” Retrieved September 13, 2008, from University of Pennsylvania. Website: http://knowledge. wharton. upenn. edu/article. cfm? articleid=1105 Marcano, C. (2005). “Buzz Marketing Tested as Effective Approach. ” Retrieved September 13, 2008, from Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
Website: http://www. marketingymedios. com/marketingymedios/magazine/article_display. jsp? vnu_content_id=1001052652 Tech Target. (2007). “Buzz Marketing. ” Retrieved September 13, 2008, from Tech Target. Website: http://searchcrm. techtarget. com/sDefinition/0,,sid11_gci939341,00. html Walker, R. (2004). “The Hidden (In Plain Sight) Persuaders. ” Retrieved September 13, 2008, from The New York Times Company. Website: http://www. nytimes. com/2004/12/05/magazine/05BUZZ. html? _r=1&scp=1&sq=The%20Hidden%20(In%20Plain%20Sight)%20Persuaders&st=cse&oref=slogin