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Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 000-0814473830
ISBN-10: 0814473830
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Editorial Reviews


"..a prodigious and worthy successor to [The Cluetrain Manifesto] by looking at the ways humans communicate with each other." The Miami Herald, Sept. 10, 2007

"“Lois Kelly has delivered a prodigious and worthy successor to that book [The Cluetrain Manifesto] by looking at the ways humans communicate with each other and how conversational aspects, hooks and themes can be used for marketing. She brings the proverbial cluetrain into the station and unpacks some of the freight.” The Miami Herald, Sept. 10, 2007

Winner of the Gold Medal in the first annual Axiom Business Awards, sponsored by Inc. Magazine, in the advertising/marketing/PR/event planning category. Tied with Word of Mouth Marketing by Andy Sernovitz.”

Book Description

Gold prize winner for best marketing book (tie), 2008 Axiom/Inc Magazine awards

Finalist, 2008 Berry-American Marketing Association Book Prize

It’s official: the old marketing model is dead, and word of mouth is king. But while a lot of attention has been paid to the mechanics of creating buzz, only the savviest of marketers have learned to focus on crafting the right kind of message -- because without it, even the loudest buzz will soon die down. Beyond Buzz shows readers how to listen to customers, identify what is important to them, and then craft the kind of message that will truly resonate and spark conversation.

Filled with insightful examples of conversational marketing at work, Beyond Buzz gives readers the tools and inspiration they need to create an effective and interesting conversational theme that will engage their customers and take their marketing to a whole new level.

Without the right message in place, word of mouth marketing will never live up to its promise. This innovative and practical book shows readers how to ignite people’s interest...and generate much more than buzz.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: AMACOM (March 26, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814473830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814473832
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lois Kelly, co-author of the best selling Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within, has been a creative rebel throughout her career, helping some of the most respected companies in the world create new ways to launch products, communicate complicated issues, influence public opinion, deal with crises, go public, adopt innovative business practices, and occasionally try to move mountains.

She co-founded one of the first digital marketing agencies, positioned high-tech companies for IPOs, and led Fortune 500 companies into the strategic potential of digital marketing and social media.

Lois is a student of change, devoted to learning how people embrace new ideas, adapt to change, shift perceptions, and find the confidence to show up as their true selves.

In addition to the best-selling Rebels at Work, Lois is the author of Naked-Hearted: How Bullshit, Parkinson's and John Lennon Changed My Life and the award-winning Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation Word of Mouth Marketing.

She tweets under @LoisKelly and @RebelsatWork, blogs at, and, and lives in Rhode Island, the smallest and perhaps most creative state in the United States. Many of her presentations can be found at

Lois earned a graduate degree in management from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree from University of New Hampshire. She lives in Rhode Island, the smallest and perhaps most creative state in the United States.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brad Shorr on August 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Conversational marketing is really a simple concept and one that's been around since people started conversing. However, marketing, PR and advertising departments, especially in larger businesses, don't think conversationally. That's a problem, because customers want conversation, not the "party line." Lois Kelly offers a spot on solution--

"Marketing has traditionally been more like a manufacturing operation, producing advertisements, Web sites, brochures, campaigns, and press releases. Reframed as a service, however, marketing gains even more value through the processes of listening advising, explaining, and teaching." (p. 155)

Companies need to reshape their entire approach to communication to have any hope of influencing today's customers. That entails changing mindsets, job responsibilities, interdepartmental relationships and customer interaction--tough stuff.

The great value of "Beyond Buzz" is that it explains how large organizations can reorganize and reorient themselves to be conversational. Kelly has a lot of first-hand experience working with firms that successfully made the change, and with some that didn't. Her ideas and transformative techniques are not merely theories, they are tried and true. Worthwhile reading for business owners, leaders, and top level marketing, PR, advertising and sales execs.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ginensky on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lois Kelly has written a book about a compelling and exciting subject, namely using conversations as a method of mass marketing. Unfortunately, "Beyond Buzz" fails to explain how to implement this revolutionary idea.

The book attempts to explains how and why humans engage in conversations. I found these explanations confusing, poorly organized, and often repetative. There were precious few case studies of actual use of conversation in marketing. Most of the examples offered were taken from the world of politicians.

Missing was any usable program on how to implement conversation in a marketing plan. There was also no analysis comparing the costs and expected benefits of conversation vs. more conventional marketing techneques.

There was advice on introducing "conversation culture" into an existing marketing organization. Good luck on that.

The author deserves credit for attempting to construct a conceptual framework for a revolutionary marketing technique. However, I would recommend looking elsewhere for a usable program.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Andrus on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In 1998, during the emerging years of the Internet, Kevin Kelly wrote that "The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention" as part of his seminal work New Rules for the New Economy. His predictions then regarded the ways that connected communications like the Internet would change our lives. Looking back on his predictions, not only was Kevin Kelly correct about the role of technology in changing our society, he also accurately predicted the importance of human interaction and attention in our new networks.

Now in 2007, Lois Kelly (presumably no relation to Kevin) extends the ideas of Kevin Kelly to the actual practices of any person responsible for communicating with a public audience. Her primary contention is that communicators must be worthy of and skilled in engaging a public into a conversation. Executives and communication personnel who work in public relations, marketing, sales or politics must acknowledge that their audience is not a waiting receiver of prepackaged messages that are broadcasted in any number of available channels. Kelly writes that communicators must transcend the technology itself to make conversations relevant between senders and receivers. And in any real conversation, there is human attention.

Beyond Buzz is a great handbook that outlines the many methods of creating and maintaining useful conversations, including the effects of our Internet technologies. I would recommend this book for any PR, sales, advertising or marketing person who wishes to take the next step beyond the marketing fundamentals of price, product, positioning, etc. Or, to combine the ideas of both Kellys, to engage scarce human attention in today's hyper-connected network world, one must create an interesting conversation as part of a human relationship. I am sure that when we look back on 2007, we will see that Lois was just as prescient as Kevin was in 1998.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alan Weiss on April 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Beyond Buzz is a a conversational book--about how to achieve influence and business through conversations. Author Lois Kelly seems to be sitting down next to us with a cool drink explaining how the trivialized "word-of-mouth" marketing can be used for powerful and persuasive ends. Most impressively, she talks about true meaning, and passion, and accuracy. This isn't a book about "spin" but one that may cause your head to spin as you consider the vast potential you're probably missing in guiding your customers', clients', and colleagues' discussions and conversations.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Luis on April 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
So many "business" books are fun to read, illuminating, and tell marvelous stories, but sometimes I wonder what it really means to me, and how I can apply concepts and ideas to my job.

Lois manages to do both -- she skillfully uses stories, metaphors, and practical advice to get you thinking about how to stop talking "at" customers, and start meaningful, productive conversations with them instead.

She writes about the many-to-many "talk" culture that marketers and leaders need to adopt to attract and keep customers. What better way to stay interested and engaged than through a conversation? This is a big shift for people use to building massive, one-way Web channels, and it's probably terrifying for some.

Lois gives examples of how companies and people are adapting, and she can help you make this change too. Start with developing a point-of-view that "sets you apart, speeds understanding, and provokes converstation." She follows this up with introspection -- tapping into core values and beliefs of the company (the CEO can help here), really listening to your customers, uncovering talk-worthy ideas, and much more.
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