Launching a Successful Online Marketing Campaign for Buzzing the Buzz Using the Buzz/Viral/Buzz Sequence

Mentioning the need to build a successful online marketing campaign is easy to say but way harder to detail. What can be considered as a successful campaign? The answer is straightforward; a campaign that reaches the fixed objectives whilst minimizing the costs and maximizing gains. In other words, we can define a successful campaign as one that generates a positive long-term return on investment (ROI). To the minimum, if your objective is to gain subscribers to your newsletter, all you need to implement in relation to your online strategies is one designed ad and a single video that redirect viewers to a subscription form thereafter. I personally think that the simpler is the better, and that the buzz/viral/buzz sequence is a good recipe to success. So what is the buzz/viral/buzz sequence?

The buzz/viral/buzz sequence is a 3-step hierarchical procedure which includes:

1. Buzz in the creation process;
2. Viral to propagate in the targeted population;
3. Buzz in the targeted population.

Each of these steps is described with more depth in the following paragraphs.

1. Buzz in the creation process

If there is no buzz around the video in the creation process, the probability that there will be a buzz once launched to the targeted population is minimal. Why would I share a video is the question to ask to any member of the marketing team before the campaign is launched. Great campaigns often come with innovative and simple ideas. You are much better off dumping a bad video than showing the whole world how much the video sucks!

2. Viral to propagate in the targeted population

Viral marketing is about the techniques employed to propagate a message/video in the online environment. If the message/video sucks, you will spend plenty of time trying to spread rotten material. For a more detailed view of viral marketing myths, feel free to read my post entitled “Demystifying Viral Marketing – 7 Myths of Viral Marketing Campaigns”.

3. Buzz to the targeted population

If there is a buzz in the creation process, then chances that viral techniques worked are multiplied and chances that a buzz occurred in the targeted population are exponential. In other words, buzz in the targeted population is a function of the two previous elements of the sequence. A well-executed example of these three steps is the successful online campaign featuring the Bee Boys Dance Crew for Häagen-Dazs video (see picture below) launched a year and a half ago.

The Bee Boys Dance Crew for Häagen-Dazs - A Successful Online Marketing Campaign
The Bee Boys Dance Crew for Häagen-Dazs - A Successful Online Marketing Campaign


What do you think of the proposed sequence? Do you have any example of organizations skipping the first part of the sequence and then whining about the fact that users didn’t buzz on their campaigns? Users are not dumb, so proponents of the online marketing intelligentsia, please stand up!

Jean-Francois Belisle

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10 thoughts on “Launching a Successful Online Marketing Campaign for Buzzing the Buzz Using the Buzz/Viral/Buzz Sequence”

  1. This is exactly what it is. I personnaly remember the “what’s up” campain. we first saw it on tv during the superbowl. On the next day, i was already on my computer trying to look for it on the internet. I wanted to show my friends how funny this advertising was. I did so and only years after, in my e-marketing class, i realised that i did participated at probably one of the firsts buzz/viral campain. Today, it’s becoming more and more popular. Moreover, it’s a great way to do it by internet since it’s not expensive. I’m really interested by knowing how far the marketing will go. Thanks

  2. You are so right Jonathan. Most of the time, we realize years later that we have contribute to spread the word of a campaign. I like your last point, more and more, consumers are getting targeted by bad marketing campaigns, have we reach a certain saturation concerning those types of campaigns? I don’t think so, it is just the beginning of an era where creativity and ideas must be put forward instead of insignificant videos or ads.

  3. Actually I think Buzz campaigns may have less and less impact among consumers. As you said, we enter an area where creativity and ideas are the key factors to success but many companies are one step behind to what really happens on the Internet and stick to the bad habits of “doing what already worked”.

    For example, The T-mobile Flashmob buzz concept in Great-Britain has been and still is used in many ad campaign through the Internet…
    Buzz was fun first and now it’s getting boring…maybe new ways to buzz will emerge…

  4. I am not exactly sure what you mean by “buzz in the creation process”. Do you mean producers/advertisers sharing the ad before official launch to see if it’s worth launching a viral campaign (because they [usually] do need help to go viral …) ?

  5. @Quentin, thanks for the comment. You are so right, the buzz is there at first, and thereafter, there is nothing new. However, copying a concept that buzz in a distinct country (i.e. India) is an interesting uncreative way of creating a buzz inside our country (i.e. Canada, France or US)

    @PhilG020. Yes for sure, this sounds straightforward but how many ads who have simply no impact do you see everyday? The answer is many. Low budget should never sounds like poor creativity. Lacks of creativity will soon sound like lower profits. For going viral, I think that it first needs a sort of push before letting it going viral by itself, but if you try to spread an uncreative video, I think you’re wasting your time and money.

  6. @Quentin, I actually agree with your comment in certain points. I think that a good Buzz campaign is kind of a “one shot deal”. What I mean by that is: you create the buzz and get popularity growing up when people start to propagate it. Once everyone as seen it, your message is not interesting anymore. At this point, your campaign has been effective. The actual problem is that companies keep trying to recreate the same buzz with a similar concept and that gets quite boring for users. Knowing that information exchange is faster than ever, I think that people want to see a concept one time and then switch to another.

    From a different point of view, if we take these flashmobs in an example: if your main competitors create a big buzz by doing a flashmob, you can create a better one to maintain your position and your visibility. You have to show that you are up to date to consumers and you have to do it quick and not months later.

  7. Thanks for commenting Jonathan, your last point reminds me of the lipdub by UQAM students. The video went viral with more than 3 million views, was the concept new and original? No, HEC Montréal did a lipdub several months before. However, HEC Montreal used an old song by canadian rocker Bryan Adams entitled “Summer of 69”, while UQÀM used the Summer hit song “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas. The concept wasn’t that new but the choice of the song and the optimistic style of video where already a buzz in its own.

  8. Honestly to a certain point this bring about the question of the egg: “which came first? the egg or the chicken?” the 2 are interrelated to such a level that it would be a little hard to pinpoint the exact “starter event” but one thing is known, and that it’s that you need them to follow up on each other for them to continue a cycle buzz-viral-buzz and viral-buzz-viral.

    By the second sequence I mean to put some importance on the first viral which should be a recurring event contributing to the continued propagation of the buzz. It also refers to the importance of the propagation method used to launch your initial buzz…to get it known in short.

    What do you think?

  9. @Jonathan. Thanks for your really nice thinking. However, in the way I described proposed Buzz and Viral in my sequence, I don’t think the beginning of the sequence is reversible. However, related to what you mentioned, I would bring out the point of viral propagation that is initiated by the company in comparison to the one that is initiated by users. Thus, the two sequence you proposed are actually embedded together. This would be my proposed sequence, a Buzz/Viral/Buzz/Viral sequence:

    1. Buzz in the creation process;
    2. Viral initiated by the company to propagate in the targeted population;
    3. Buzz in the targeted population;
    4. Viral initiated by users to their social graph;

    What do you think?

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