It’s common to hope for new products, books, and marketing initiatives to “generate buzz.” And if something creates a season of buzz early on, that is often looked at as a mark of success.
At first this sounds good. It sounds like it’s in line with one of the core principles of (good) marketing: create things worth talking about. Unleash word of mouth, which is then amplified by the internet as never before.
But it’s actually not. The concept of “buzz” is actually a hold-over from the old methods of interruption marketing where the organization (or marketer) sees themselves as in control. The reason is that there is a difference between buzz and word of mouth.
Buzz is surface level. It is usually based on superficial realities about the product or message. It doesn’t last.
Word of mouth, on the other hand, is substantive. It facilitates meaningful interactions and is based on deeper realities than just surface factors. It stems from a real emotional connection with the product. It is meaningful.
It’s not that buzz is bad. It’s just not enough. Seek for your product, book, message, website, or organization to generate true and valuable word of mouth, not just buzz.