Buzz Kill

billboard-advertisingWhy is everyone talking about Kim Kardashian’s rump and not your disruptive, world-changing app?

So many startup marketing plans are based on building buzz, yet achieve none. The reason is that founders believe their own hype. They see the intrinsic usefulness and beauty of their products and believe that everyone else will too. Based on little more than this borderline egocentric outlook, startups rarely get people talking because they missed the point about why people talk.

People talk to one another out of personal motivations. Seth Godin once presented a monstrous list of why people share ideas, which gives you a clear idea of why the motivations of your communications conduits are more important than your features and benefits. People talk about products because they matter to people, either because the product directly fulfills them, because it may directly fulfill the person they are chatting with, or because disclosing your product indirectly fulfills their need to be helpful, important, smart or kind.

To attempt generating buzz without understanding why people would want to make you buzz worthy is a false start and likely a dead-end.

Listen to your alpha test candidates. Use deep interview processes to determine not only what they liked and disliked, but why it was important to them and why it would be important to their friends. Once you find a few loci in their personal, egocentric motivations, then you have the seeds for your buzz generation campaign. If you are finding no match between what your product offers and the egocentric motivations of your target market, then you best find a different go-to-market strategy than buzz generation.


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