Buzz & Trend Marketing for Local Small Businesses

in On Local Business Marketing

Local small business owners can capitalize on national trends and buzz.

In a mid-sized midwestern city, a client of mine is rolling out a marketing campaign designed to leverage the “extreme makeover” trend happening on TV. In a must-be-vague nutshell, we’ve identified affluent neighborhoods and set up home makeover contests, complete with awards ceremonies, special events, and charity tie-ins.

You might say we’re opening up the throttle on people’s desire to “keep up with the Jones’s” … and making it OK for people to talk about it boldly and in public.

Buzz be happenin’.

A top-of-mind trend got us in the door. (More on that later…)

A few months ago hurricanes were pounding Florida, and I noticed the most interesting thing. Sitting in my favorite Starbucks in Herndon, Virginia … far, far way from anything resembling a hurricane … I kept overhearing conversations about the hurricanes.

A light-bulb goes off.

Hurricanes = top of mind awareness at that time.

Then, the next question…

How can I and my clients profit from this awareness?

The answer was pretty simple.

Insurance agents, computer consultants, home repair companies, and dozens of other local and small businesses could logically tie their offerings into “being prepared for a disaster.” Response-driven marketing was set in motion. Advertising bought. Radio shows booked. Profits made.

The trend gave us entry into the minds of the market.

When hurricanes and disaster are top-of-mind, your market’s highly-efficient incoming information filters are set to instantly bring anything related to those topics to their attention. Fast.

We can try and fight that fact. Try and push what is already top-of-mind away in favor of our message. Or, we can use the filter already in place like a shoehorn to get our message past the guards and in to your prospect.

I dunno about you, but I like making money easy … not hard.

Hot TV shows, ever-present news stories, and more … happening nationally or internationally … can quickly and easily be tied right into local small business promotions … often multiplying their power. For the enterprising reader … these ideas can generate plenty of dough.

(ASIDE: I’ve never worked with a music act. Not sure it’d be my thing even if I decided to. But I can’t help but wondering what offering a free iPod giveaway packed with a local act’s music would do to event attendance numbers? The iPod is sure-as-shoot top-of-mind right now…………..)

What got me thinking about it was a semi-related and very good article … “What’s the Buzz about Buzz Marketing” … available for your reading pleasure over at Wharton. Sadly, I don’t see much written about trend-based marketing.

Here’s an excerpt…

“Put simply, buzz marketing is the practice of gathering volunteers to try products, then sending them out into the world to talk up their experiences with the people they meet in their daily lives. The idea is that the more people see a product being used in public, or the more they hear about it from people they know and trust, the more likely they will be to buy it for themselves. Of course, word-of-mouth has long been the way that many people find their favorite products, or learn about a new favorite movie, book or restaurant. “For years, people recognized the power of word-of-mouth in convincing, influencing, affecting consumer behavior,” says marketing professor Jerry Wind. “It has more credibility than traditional advertising.” But it’s a fairly recent development for companies to try to create a structure around the practice, to harness and direct the way that word-of-mouth spreads — and to attempt to measure its effect on sales once the ‘campaign’ is complete. “Buzzing isn’t really new. The hype about these different kinds of buzz agents is what’s new,” says Kahn.”

Tipped off via Threadwatch.

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