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As VP of marketing at online retailer Half.com, Mark Hughes didn’t have a huge budget for advertising. Yet he helped drive the number of Half.com users from zero to eight million in just three years. His secret? Making the company a magnet for media attention and word-of-mouth, by any means necessary. Most notoriously, he persuaded the town of Halfway, Oregon, to rename it As VP of marketing at online retailer Half.com, Mark Hughes didn’t have a huge budget for advertising. Yet he helped drive the number of Half.com users from zero to eight million in just three years. His secret? Making the company a magnet for media attention and word-of-mouth, by any means necessary. Most notoriously, he persuaded the town of Halfway, Oregon, to rename itself Half.com—called “one of the greatest publicity coups” in history by Time. In this breakthrough book, Hughes offers a practical guide to the art of successful buzz marketing—which many people talk about these days but few truly understand. He draws on real-world examples of companies that got people to talk about their stuff— from Miller Lite during the “Tastes Great—Less Filling” era, to American Idol’s stunning use of buzz to become a global phenomenon, to current companies that find creative ways to break through the ad-glutted marketplace. Buzzmarketing explores the six secrets of great word-of-mouth campaigns and shows how any company can thrive by pursuing a buzz-driven strategy rather than just hoping for a lucky break. Readers who have enjoyed books like The Tipping Point and Purple Cow will find Buzzmarketing to be the ideal guide to applying buzz to their real-world business needs.


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As VP of marketing at online retailer Half.com, Mark Hughes didn’t have a huge budget for advertising. Yet he helped drive the number of Half.com users from zero to eight million in just three years. His secret? Making the company a magnet for media attention and word-of-mouth, by any means necessary. Most notoriously, he persuaded the town of Halfway, Oregon, to rename it As VP of marketing at online retailer Half.com, Mark Hughes didn’t have a huge budget for advertising. Yet he helped drive the number of Half.com users from zero to eight million in just three years. His secret? Making the company a magnet for media attention and word-of-mouth, by any means necessary. Most notoriously, he persuaded the town of Halfway, Oregon, to rename itself Half.com—called “one of the greatest publicity coups” in history by Time. In this breakthrough book, Hughes offers a practical guide to the art of successful buzz marketing—which many people talk about these days but few truly understand. He draws on real-world examples of companies that got people to talk about their stuff— from Miller Lite during the “Tastes Great—Less Filling” era, to American Idol’s stunning use of buzz to become a global phenomenon, to current companies that find creative ways to break through the ad-glutted marketplace. Buzzmarketing explores the six secrets of great word-of-mouth campaigns and shows how any company can thrive by pursuing a buzz-driven strategy rather than just hoping for a lucky break. Readers who have enjoyed books like The Tipping Point and Purple Cow will find Buzzmarketing to be the ideal guide to applying buzz to their real-world business needs.

30 review for Buzzmarketing: Get People to Talk about Your Stuff

  1. 5 out of 5

    Roxana Nunez

    Originally planning to return it to the library unread, two days before due date, I started to read. It was a good thing I was on vacation because I could not put it down. It had tons of ideas and more importantly, it was an interesting read, adding real life examples to make the concepts easy to understand.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paula Kirman

    Hughes uses interesting case studies, but getting "buzz" is explained well as a concept but looks like it is an easier goal for big businesses rather than small ones. Hughes uses interesting case studies, but getting "buzz" is explained well as a concept but looks like it is an easier goal for big businesses rather than small ones.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carissa

    Interesting book! I'm not particularly interested in marketing, but the stories of how companies formed their own buzz was inspiring! Interesting book! I'm not particularly interested in marketing, but the stories of how companies formed their own buzz was inspiring!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ariadna73

    "Get People to Talk About Your Stuff" This is a book with advice on how to take advantage of the stories all over the internet to drive traffic to your websites. It is interesting and helpful, and I found it more like a philosophical musing about human nature. It is like an x-ray on how people think and how their brains work. Basically, the message that the book conveys to me is that we are pretty simple creatures that can be driven to any place the herder wants to drive us. We always jump over "Get People to Talk About Your Stuff" This is a book with advice on how to take advantage of the stories all over the internet to drive traffic to your websites. It is interesting and helpful, and I found it more like a philosophical musing about human nature. It is like an x-ray on how people think and how their brains work. Basically, the message that the book conveys to me is that we are pretty simple creatures that can be driven to any place the herder wants to drive us. We always jump over the same triggers. I extracted some examples of the advice on the book to illustrate my point: Here is the cover of the book:  A recap on the six buttons of buzz. From what the book says I understood that human beings are so basic an gullable that whenever you push one of the buttons (the one of your preference, a million of them will jump at it)  Here is a little musing about comedy, and how Shakespeare was a master of understanding basic human reactions to humor:  Here is a summary of the five most written (and popular) stories: David and Goliath (For example Susan Boyle), Unusual and outrageous (tan mom), Controversy story (Octomom), Celebrity story (Oscar Pistorius kills model girlfriend), What is already hot in the media (viral videos).  Finally, a study on how the sales of the apple machine were affected (skyrocketed) after the 1984 commercial: In conclusion, I think this is a nice and interesting book with a good summary of all the things we already intuitively know about how the Internet works. I hope you liked this entry. If you feel like viewing more of the books I read, you are welcome to visit my blog: http://lunairereadings.blogspot.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Chris Eastvedt

    Get people to talk about your stuff? Not alone, you won’t. I love, love, love the idea of buzz marketing, and I really thought I’d love this book, but sadly, that is not what happened. Instead of the illuminating how-to guide I was expecting, “Buzzmarketing” turned out to be little more than a charming history of advertising and marketing campaigns. This did not help me. And unless you’re someone with a sizeable ad/marketing budget for support, or have some pretty good connections, it probably wo Get people to talk about your stuff? Not alone, you won’t. I love, love, love the idea of buzz marketing, and I really thought I’d love this book, but sadly, that is not what happened. Instead of the illuminating how-to guide I was expecting, “Buzzmarketing” turned out to be little more than a charming history of advertising and marketing campaigns. This did not help me. And unless you’re someone with a sizeable ad/marketing budget for support, or have some pretty good connections, it probably won’t help you either. The book focused on stories of struggling companies and how they marketed their way to success. Brands such as Pepsi, Ben & Jerry’s, American Idol, Apple... (you get the idea), like any brand, struggle getting out of the gate, and stumble from time to time over the long term, so yes, the back stories and solutions that turned things around may have been interesting to learn, but interesting doesn’t make something helpful. This level of established success allows you the luxury of offering $100,000 to get a town to change its name and provides you with travel expenses and petty cash that enable you to spend some time in a key market demographic, buying rounds for bar patrons, while you do some market research. It gives you the budget to buy whimsical ad space on peanut vendor’s bags in Downtown Manhattan or to commission your own urinal screens to distribute and get people talking. I’m not saying some of these ideas weren’t eyebrow-raising and memorable, but they just aren’t feasible for the small business owner, as well as the multi-national conglomerate, which the book claims is its target audience. Buzzmarketing did have a few useful nuggets to take away, those being the six buttons of buzz: six themes that will reliably start a conversation; and I wish more practical expertise on a local level was spent there, but most time was spent discussing ideas that, for many people (at least those who would read this book) are impractical. I felt this book was geared more towards the errant marketing executive in the throes of a creative slump, than to the small business owner just trying to stay afloat after monthly expenses- for the most part. A small-time chiropractor mentioned did find a clever way to advertise his new local business, and the reminder of the old Burma Shave, multi-billboard approach was another nod to grassroots innovation. I also found it remarkable that Rit dye was given to artists and clothing designers to experiment with as a relatively nice and low budget campaign, but even that guy had a research and development team to help him come up with new ways to use his existing, though failing, product. I find it ironic that the author’s mantra throughout the book is to out-think your competitors, as opposed to outspend them, when more than 90% of his buzzworthy examples have some serious financial support behind them. That said, if you’re looking for a book to help you understand the theory of buzz, this would be a pretty decent read. But if you’re trying to find buzzworthy advice that is of practical value, regardless of your circumstances, you’d be better off looking elsewhere.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathalia Rojas.

    Excellent strategies detailed in the book. It could have been dealt with more succinctly but either way I learned a lot about marketing.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonyleo

    "...a business book that's both entertaining and useful for big brands and start-ups alike." -- Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Magazine "...an intriguing book about an intriguing new trend in marketing. It's rare to find a business book that teaches and entertains like this." -- Warren Phillips, former executive editor, The Wall Street Journal and CEO, Dow Jones "There's fake corporate marketing and then there's real marketing. This is the real stuff for real people." -- Ben Cohen, Co-founde "...a business book that's both entertaining and useful for big brands and start-ups alike." -- Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief, Forbes Magazine "...an intriguing book about an intriguing new trend in marketing. It's rare to find a business book that teaches and entertains like this." -- Warren Phillips, former executive editor, The Wall Street Journal and CEO, Dow Jones "There's fake corporate marketing and then there's real marketing. This is the real stuff for real people." -- Ben Cohen, Co-founder, Ben & Jerry's President, TrueMajority.org "At last! A fun-to-read business book that delivers on its 'WoW' premise. Mark Hughes shows how his faith in a totally preposterous big idea paid off 40-fold. Buzzmarketing puts a spotlight on what makes word-of-mouth advertising score a knockout...just when cluttered tradtional media has lost its punch." -- Stan Rapp, Chairman of McCann Relationship Marketing. Author of MaxiMarketing and 5 other books selling over 500,000 copies "...the book that makes it worth its weight in marketing gold" - London School of Economics Professor, Dr. Paul Marsden "Buzzmarketing works. It's not just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have!" -- Brian Swette, former Chief Marketing Officer, Pepsi-Cola; former COO, eBay

  8. 5 out of 5

    SC

    Great book if you're interested in the power of word of mouth vs. traditional advertising. Basically what he's saying is that the most effective way to sell (insert product/service life does not require here) is to create "buzz" by making it, gee, I don't know, unique? Groundbreaking. He then goes over every product which sold well by creating buzz; from Britney Spears (using a snake as a stage prop) to iPods (by making the technogeek-chic crowd go crazy over them, flooding the blogosphere, or w Great book if you're interested in the power of word of mouth vs. traditional advertising. Basically what he's saying is that the most effective way to sell (insert product/service life does not require here) is to create "buzz" by making it, gee, I don't know, unique? Groundbreaking. He then goes over every product which sold well by creating buzz; from Britney Spears (using a snake as a stage prop) to iPods (by making the technogeek-chic crowd go crazy over them, flooding the blogosphere, or whatevz). It's a decent read if you're really into the subject, but otherwise you will likely want to throw the book at the wall after the author proclaims for the twentieth time what a genius he is. I'm serious. He made like, 17 references to his godforsaken cranium. Kill me.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Matters

    Very inspirational, thought-provoking book. Shows how a creative person with some good ideas can compete with the the big boys, and talks in great detail about the problems of "safe" marketing in a noisy world. If it doesn't set off a cluster of tiny explosions in your creative mind, you're just not getting it. The kind of book that makes you look forward to thinking up that next advertising idea. Very inspirational, thought-provoking book. Shows how a creative person with some good ideas can compete with the the big boys, and talks in great detail about the problems of "safe" marketing in a noisy world. If it doesn't set off a cluster of tiny explosions in your creative mind, you're just not getting it. The kind of book that makes you look forward to thinking up that next advertising idea.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vashti

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The book is very good in giving you examples of other individuals/companies that have used Buzzmarketing strategies. However, I wish there were some type of exercises and/or direct guidelines as to how you can apply these techniques to traditional marketing and advertising. Also, towards the middle of the book, I felt as though it was all just logic - I feel like I didn't teach me a lot that I did not already know. The book is very good in giving you examples of other individuals/companies that have used Buzzmarketing strategies. However, I wish there were some type of exercises and/or direct guidelines as to how you can apply these techniques to traditional marketing and advertising. Also, towards the middle of the book, I felt as though it was all just logic - I feel like I didn't teach me a lot that I did not already know.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anne Ku

    Very entertaining read of examples of buzz marketing. It makes me wonder whether our duo is creating a buzz simply by doing whatever we're doing, without advertising or trying to be known. Certainly traditional advertising doesn't deliver anymore. I'm not sure whether publicity does either --- that is, for audience development. Something more needs to happen. Perhaps collaboration to develop relationships BEFORE the event actually happens. Very entertaining read of examples of buzz marketing. It makes me wonder whether our duo is creating a buzz simply by doing whatever we're doing, without advertising or trying to be known. Certainly traditional advertising doesn't deliver anymore. I'm not sure whether publicity does either --- that is, for audience development. Something more needs to happen. Perhaps collaboration to develop relationships BEFORE the event actually happens.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I nice, easy read. Some great new ideas about press and marketing. Namely - create content not ads. Short, to the point, not much fluff. The author is a little full of himself and talks a little too much about his accomplishments, but if you can get past his ego it's a very useful book. I nice, easy read. Some great new ideas about press and marketing. Namely - create content not ads. Short, to the point, not much fluff. The author is a little full of himself and talks a little too much about his accomplishments, but if you can get past his ego it's a very useful book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Matthews

    The stories in this book are great, but perhaps the most valuable is the list of how to create buzz: • taboo; • the unusual; • the hilarious; • the remarkable; • secrets. A nice simple framework for understanding how buzz is created.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Phil Fox

    A solid introduction to buzz marketing but not nearly as good (or insightful) as Brand Hijack by Alex Wipperfurth.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kulveer

    if you're interested in marketing, you should read this book. It had direct, practical and positive benefits on how we marketed boso.com if you're interested in marketing, you should read this book. It had direct, practical and positive benefits on how we marketed boso.com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Trent

    Apply this to your church. Are you creating "Buzz"? And are your people willing to go out of their way to "sell" your product? If not... big problems. Apply this to your church. Are you creating "Buzz"? And are your people willing to go out of their way to "sell" your product? If not... big problems.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    THE BEST EVER!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dallas

    It's a quick, easy read. It's not a great book, but there are some good examples of some effective buzz marketing campaigns. It's a quick, easy read. It's not a great book, but there are some good examples of some effective buzz marketing campaigns.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gera Yeremin

    Great book for anyone who wants other people to talk about their stuff. I love the way he makes point by telling great stories.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    He is definately one of the big boys, but he seems quite open with sharing his successes and failures--and why they worked or didn't. He is definately one of the big boys, but he seems quite open with sharing his successes and failures--and why they worked or didn't.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kristel

    good new ideas, made me think

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brett Rounsaville

    Despite being already out of date it has some pretty interesting information in there. No where near a must read but worth the time.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Berto

    the stimuli to create a buzz effect, complete with the sample

  24. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Galt

    I own a signed copy. How could I not give it 5 stars!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Edmonson

    Interesting stories about companies that use word or mouth and free press to create awareness about their product or company.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    very nice book to understand the power of buzzmarketing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tolivar Wills

    A fantastic template for creating and sustaining Buzz for any organization! A must read for anyone seeking to make an impact.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lori Grant

    A should-read book on buzz/word-of-mouth marketing for the knowledge worker, manager, executive, or entrepreneur.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Woah... A book published in 2005 has never felt so dated! Son solid concept discussion, but the examples used don't really prove the point anymore as most of them have belly flopped Woah... A book published in 2005 has never felt so dated! Son solid concept discussion, but the examples used don't really prove the point anymore as most of them have belly flopped

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pat Council

    Great perspective about how to market yourself or your business.

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