Buzz Marketing - A Marketing Communications Tool



Case Code : CLMC-017
Publication date : 2005
Subject : Marketing Communications
Industry : -
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Word-of-mouth communications (WOM), Personal Video Recorders (PVR’s), Hush Puppies, Ford, P&G, Birla Cements, Asian Paints, Day-Glo, McDonald’s, Blog, Pringles, Village haats and Prahlad Kakkar.


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This caselet details the emergence of Word-of-Mouth (WOM) communications as an effective promotional tool for companies across the globe. This is more so in the developed nations where automatic ad skipping facility is available for viewers. The caselet describes the use of buzz marketing, a form of WOM, and its increasing popularity among marketers. It also elaborates on the buzz marketing campaigns launched by some of the leading companies like Hush Puppies, P&G and Ford, to generate the desired publicity and increase the sales of their respective brands. Finally, the caselet examines the advantages and pitfalls associated with the use of WOM as a promotional tool.


  » Role of Word-of-mouth (WOM) in the marketing communication mix of organizations
  » Buzz Marketing as a viable promotional tool
  » Advantages and pitfalls associated with WOM communications
  » Buzz marketing in India


Word-of-mouth communications (WOM), which earlier played a minor role in the marketing communication mix of multinational companies, has begun to gain prominence among marketers. A research study conducted by McKinsey in May 2001 revealed that word of mouth played an influential role in 67 percent of U.S. consumer goods sales.

The main reason was the decline in the effectiveness of traditional mass media promotions. According to a research study conducted by CNW Marketing Research in 15 of the top television markets in the US, consumers did not pay attention to half the television ads for products like cars, credit cards, and pet-food. This figure stood at 42% and 45% for advertisements on home products and fast foods respectively.

Questions for Discussion:

1. The concept of buzz marketing have slowly gained prevalence in India with companies like Birla Cements and Asian Paints using it as part of their communications mix. Discuss the reasons behind the growing popularity of this form of word-of-mouth communications in a company’s marketing communication strategy?

2. According to advertising guru, Prahlad Kakkar, “Very often, you will notice that people try to overdo it, where it’s not required at all and it ends up putting people off as being ‘too obvious’ and then there’s counter-buzz!” Analyze the disadvantages of using buzz marketing that may reduce the effectiveness of a company’s marketing communication campaigns? How can companies ensure that buzz marketing helps shape the public opinion in their favor?