Saturday, August 20, 2005

Curious about Getting the Word Out - Advertising, Marketing or Buzz?

A truism that we often hear or read goes something like this, “You can build a better mousetrap, but if people don’t know about it, they will not beat a path to your door.” Even though a great product in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s time (the 1800s) would cause people to “beat a path to your door,” there had to be some way that those people found out about it.

Imagine that you just launched a new website, or created a unique and perfect product, or wrote the how-to book of the century, or … you fill in the blank. Just because you build it, they won’t come. We not only have to let people know about it, we also have to grab their interest enough that they want to visit, and, hopefully, buy or commit to what we have to offer.

Some people are saying that “advertising is dead.” Others swear by certain methods of marketing that many feel are manipulative. And, the latest term and method of converting prospects to clients and/or customers is called “buzz.”

In this blog, I decided it would be fun to visit all three methods, share some quotes from each and offer a few suggestions.

Advertising quotes were endless, so I picked a few that I thought were interesting and also from well known names in the business:
  • William Bernbach hits home with, “Today's smartest advertising style is tomorrow's corn.”
  • Leo Burnett speaks to our emotions, “Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret... to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink.”
  • As does Erich Fromm, “A vast sector of modern advertising... does not appeal to reason but to emotion; like any other kind of hypnoid suggestion, it tries to impress its objects emotionally and then make them submit intellectually.”
  • Well known and well thought of David Ogilvy says it all succinctly, “The more informative your advertising, the more persuasive it will be.”
  • And Dick Wolf sums advertising up, “Advertising is the art of the tiny. You have to tell a complete a story and deliver a complete message in a very encapsulated form. It disciplines you to cut away extraneous information.”

When I looked up “marketing” I was surprised to find many quotes that either mentioned or hinted at manipulation. Is that the impression we marketers are giving?

Here, I am including those that spoke to me in a more positive way:

  • I do like Roy H. Williams’ take on it, “In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?”
  • John Romero offers the following advice, “In marketing I've seen only one strategy that can't miss - and that is to market to your best customers first, your best prospects second and the rest of the world last.”
  • And the wise and revered Peter F. Drucker wrote, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

Now, the latest method suggested for “getting the word out” is buzz. And it is working big time. “Buzz” is the old and successful “word of mouth” endorsement of a company, person and/or product. Not only do we create buzz by giving such incredible service, providing a terrific product or using the latest technologies and media that others talk about us and what we have to offer.

Buzz goes even farther in recommending us than the tried and true testimonials that can be sprinkled throughout our websites and printed collateral material It can now be presented in audio interviews of us and our “raving fans.” Check out what Bill Metcalf is doing to create buzz by clicking HERE.

Getting the word out should be an on-going project for all of us who want to promote ourselves, our businesses and our products. In the words of Gerard Butler, “There was certainly a beautiful buzz going on last year, and now it feels like, as you say, we're having to kind of get that momentum going again.”

Don’t let that happen to you! Keep up the continual work! And let me know how you are creating “buzz.”