“Buzz Marketing: Marketing to non-marketable customer”

Buzz marketing, also known as ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ ‘guerilla marketing’ or ‘stealth marketing’ is an art of human kind to involve the trendsetters in any community to carry the brand’s message, thus creating an interest in, and a demand for, the brand with no overt advertising.

Nirmalya Kumar, professor of marketing, director of center for marketing and co-director of A.V. Birla India at London Business School.

When Dietrich Mateschitz formulated the drink “Red Bull” in 1987 for the Australian market, bars initially refused to stock it, seeing it as more of a medicinal drink than a mixer. However snowboarders and clubbers soon recognized. The boost it gave them. They started to bring it with them to non – alcohol bars and pubs.

Red Bull has mastered the buzz marketing. In the 8 sales areas in the US, the representative scouts for the hot spot. They distributed their branded refrigerator and some goodies to the bars and clubs. 

If other conventional establishments ask for Red Bull, they refuse them to retain the credibility and uniqueness of their community and clubbers. To connect this community, Red Bull used to organize a two – week annual music festival. 

Red Bull’s first marketing technique was to distribute and target the teenagers and college goers. They went where these guys went. Then Red Bull went around the cities full of Red Bull cars and distributed the drinks to anybody who needed energy- Free, the construction workers, Athletes all.

Coke and Pepsi recognized a new segmentation of their market and tried to capture it with a big marketing budget. 

They created energy drinks. But after millions of write offs they are distance number 3 and 4. Red Bull is still the king of energy drink with 65% of the market and that is with a fraction of their spending.

Five years back on the internet, Google started its operation in the dorm of two Stanford guys (You do not need to know their name, I guess) . They created a system for search and marketed it on the net with minimal advertising. End result, after 3 years they become numero uno no in search – marketing in the presence of heavy spenders like Yahoo, overture etc.

That is the power of Buzz marketing. Gone are the days when you write a Cheque for your ad agency and the agency will do the marketing. According to Philip Kotler, advertising is a lazy way of marketing and branding. 

You outsource almost everything, even your brand’s undergarments. Traditional marketer thinks that job is over. But buzz marketing is an engaging art of marketing. It is a hard way to market a product and services. Most marketers do not like it. Because they like their comfortable air-conditioned rooms.

But in the real world, you can’t close your eyes and think that your competitor will take pity on you. They are here to eliminate you. Buzz marketing is not a passé anymore. It is here and happening.

CEOs, be aware, if your people are saying they need different budgets for branding, marketing and sales. Think again, someone is not ready to move his butts.

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