The new media marks the shift from the unidirectional nature of communication in the past. Today, consumers, not marketers, generate the vast majority of content about products and services. They also spread the word.
At the onset, something (about a product) attracts attention initially from a core group of consumers who spread the word among their peers. News travels in this fashion until enough tongues are wagging to constitute a “buzz” about the brand.
Their words are more persuasive than advertising. Amplified on social media, consumer opinions, reviews, advice, rants or complaints can become viral and spread — possibly yielding enormous gains or possibly causing immense damage.
These extraordinary opportunities and threats led to the inception of word-of-mouth marketing or buzz marketing.
Also referred to as advocacy, companies try to create word of mouth or catalyse the buzz by enlisting influencers to talk about their products on social networks. These are individuals with large social connections, and with deep propensity to talk about ideas online.
Buzz (word-of-mouth) marketing, is covered in more detail in Chapter Digital Marketing.
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