Buzz marketing isn’t necessarily an official term, more of a coined phrase for this very new tactic of digital marketing based on reaching a wider audience through creating content with the intent to have a “viral” effect online. “‘Buzz Marketing’, ‘viral marketing’, ‘word-of-mouth marketing’, “evangelist marketing’ and many others are used interchangeably” (Mazurkiewicz, 2014, p. 38). It was referred to above as the “illusion of free-will” because of its natural ability to influence viewers to spread the message onward, similar to a virus (hence the term “viral”), as if the user doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
People take recommendations from their friends virtually over any other form of message delivery. “Today, a significant part of the communication of recommendations takes place online, which is why brands follow the opinions appearing on social media pages so closely. Research has shown that 43% of those aged 15–24 recommend that friends try a brand. Buzz marketing has a great influence on consumer decisions in Generation Y—in as many as 60% of cases, one person can convince another to try a product for the first time (van den Bergh & Behrer, 2012, p. 53).” So essentially, buzz marketing is almost like online peer pressure.
Having a “viral” effect online, essentially means it is a type of content that encourages users to share, like, and comment in mass amounts over a short period of time. The intent is that the consumers are learning of the product or brand from friends, instead of coming directly from the brand. So how do you go about creating a buzz marketing strategy? It isn’t as simple as any of the other forms of digital marketing – this one takes a lot of research, understanding, and creativity. Sometimes, viral content can get lucky, yes, but more often than not, its success is intentional and calculated. Here is a funny video that can show how a viral video can be extremely calculated: (Note: this video is a ridiculous over-exaggeration for humor, however was extremely successful prior to the episode airing on Comedy Central)