The Palm Pilot. The novel Cold Mountain
. The iMac. Hotmail. FedEx. The Blair Witch Project
and There's Something About Mary
. According to former marketing exec Emanuel Rosen, they all became successful not through traditional advertising or marketing routes, but through "buzz," that semitangible process through which information and commentary jump from one brain or mouth to another. Rosen also ascribes buzz to creating customer loyalty, which he says is built through the advice of friends, colleagues, or such trusted "mega-hubs" of information as Oprah Winfrey and Rosie O'Donnell. Rosen has spent the past few years studying the routes, nodes, and clusters through which buzz passes and grows, and the result is this well-researched book. While it doesn't throw much new light on the mechanics of buzz, it is at least instructive and entertaining, offering minisagas of the successful buzz behind such marketing triumphs as the dELia's catalog for teenage girls, PowerBars, and the BMW Z3 roadster. Buzz seekers, be warned, however: with the exception of a short chapter at the end of the book called "Buzz Workshop," you won't find much of a blueprint for starting the gears of buzz for your product or service. What you do get is a trove of real-life stories that, if they don't inspire and guide you toward taking your first buzz-creating baby steps, probably mean you're the type of person who should stick with conventional advertising and PR. --Timothy Murphy
From Publishers Weekly
Often generated within the hive of the Internet, "buzz" has become essential to a product's success in today's fast-paced business environment. As Rosen (a former marketing executive for Niles Software) explains, in pre-Internet days a new product would appear in stores; consumers would buy it or not; and the company would then take however long it wished to evaluate the launch. Today, however, consumers immediately voice their viewsAon message boards, review sites, company sites, complaint sites, via e-mail or on their own Web siteAand so have a strong and immediate influence on whether a launch succeeds. Covering the same territory as Seth Godin in Unleashing the Ideavirus (E-Publishing, Aug. 7), Rosen draws on his own experience with Niles Software's EndNoteAa computer program that converts bibliographic annotations from one form to anotherAto offer an overview of the mechanics of buzz. Topics range from how to seed the market at the grassroots to how to tantalize with scarcity and mystery, to how to accelerate natural contagion. The concluding "buzz workshop," complete with checklists and sidebars, is the most helpful, but marketers and inventors looking for concrete ideas may be disappointed by its brevity. Agent, Daniel Greenberg. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.