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The Perils of Buzz Marketing

Successful strategies for buzz marketing.

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

Earlier this year, Corp. learned the hard way that buzz 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 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 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.

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