BOOK REVIEW: Word of mouth is what Buzz is about

Buzz is another in a growing list of books that look beyond the world of mass market advertising to give advice on how to reach today's ad-jaded consumers. The nomenclature may be different here - the authors speak of alphas and bees instead of early adapters or other in-vogue jargon - but the message is the same.

Buzz is another in a growing list of books that look beyond the world of mass market advertising to give advice on how to reach today's ad-jaded consumers. The nomenclature may be different here - the authors speak of alphas and bees instead of early adapters or other in-vogue jargon - but the message is the same.

The book describes how to use word of mouth - viral marketing, if you will - to get alphas to tell bees, who then spread the word to the world. They also touch upon how buzz can burn itself out as early adapters become disenchanted with a product once the masses start using it. There are some fascinating case studies included, but the authors' argument that buzz marketing can be controlled is unconvincing. More interestingly, the book raises the question of whether it's time for marketers to realize they can't control what people think, but can only hope to influence opinion. PR people seem content to do that, so maybe it's time ad folks did as well. ----- Title Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand Authors Marian Salzman, Ira Matathia, and Ann O'Reilly Publisher John Wiley & Sons, 246 pages

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