Marketing

The Perils of Buzz Marketing

Successful strategies for buzz marketing.
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the October 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Earlier this year, General Motors Corp. learned the hard way that buzz marketing tactics can backfire big-time. The company invited customers to make their own online commercials about the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV-a campaign that resulted in a slew of negative ads about everything from the vehicle's quality to its contribution to global warming.

Peter Shankman, president of The Geek Factory, a New York City PR firm that creates buzz marketing campaigns, warns marketers to be careful when trying to create buzz. A snafu could lead people to trash your company's name all over the internet or even make your efforts sound disingenuous, prompting customers, prospects and even the media to lose interest. He advises finding people who are fans of what you do and encouraging them to tell their stories to others who will probably like what you do.

In buzz marketing, honesty is key. "If you overplay it, people will know that it's not real," Shankman says. "If, all of a sudden, someone gets a couple of recommendations about a company from people they trust, that's interesting. If they get many recommendations from people they don't know, that's probably not going to ring true." So don't encourage people to say things they don't mean or pummel your target with messages that aren't genuine.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.