Book Reviews

Public Relations

The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited: Real-life lessons in Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Author: Emanuel Rosen
Publisher Broadway Business
Publication Date: February 24, 20

Reviewer:Andy Marken
In his nearly 25 years in the advertising/public relations field, Andy has been involved with a broad range of corporate and marketing activities. Prior to forming Marken Communications in mid-1977, Andy was vice president of Bozell & Jacobs and its predecessor agencies. During his 12 years with these agencies, he developed and coordinated a wide variety of highly visible and successful promotional campaigns and activities for clients. A graduate of Iowa State University, Andy received his Bachelor's Degree with majors in Radio & Television and Journalism. Widely published in the industry and trade press, he is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

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Rosen wrote the first edition of real-life lessons in word-of-mouth marketing way back in the dark ages of the marketing phenomenon - 2000. 

At the time we first reviewed The Anatomy of Buzz we thought it was a book that should be on every marketing and communications person's desk if he or she wanted to efficiently and effectively build a strong following for their company and their product.

Read the same book again - we did - boy you have to wonder how clueless the author could be as you look at today's social media landscape. 

We weren't very optimistic when we received the sequel.

Fortunately we didn't simply put the review on the back burner until we found time to read Buzz Revisited.  This isn't one of those tired rehashes of the topic.  Rosen didn't put more lipstick on the pig.  This is a whole new pig.

A word-of-mouth pioneer, Rosen brutally cannibalized the first edition (about 2/3 of the book is new) keeping only the most pertinent concepts and case studies that are valid in today's environment and will probably be credible in the future.  The rest he left to historians to judge.

It doesn't take many pages before you feel as though you're looking into word-of-mouth/buzz marketing for the first time. 

With Anatomy of Buzz Revisited, Rosen has compiled a wide range of fresh, interesting and extremely useful research to help us reach and influence target audiences.  He has delicately balanced theory and real-life application case studies to help you quickly and easily understand how to develop your own new and unique word-of-mouth campaigns.

He spends considerable time and effort in drilling down into word-of-mouth promotion to help you understand how you can carry out your own campaigns but more importantly why the effort is working (or not).  By understanding the why issues, you're in a much better position to fine tune your efforts and activities and deliver the desired results.

Word-of-mouth and social media are becoming vital in today's marketing mix because virtually everyone goes online to obtain information about brands they are interested in.  According to research from Synovate, people increasingly use a wide range of tools worldwide:

  • search engines - 46%
  • online rating systems - 41%
  • discussion forums - 40%
  • blogs - 38%
  • favorite sites - 26%
  • personal home/start pages - 19%
  • portals - 18%
  • Friends - 34%
  • Social networks - 13%

Each delivers an opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing communications.

A lot has changed since Rosen's first version of the book and he clearly forces you to think long and hard about the present state of communications and what tomorrow holds for marketing and communications.

As Rosen points out, we have in many ways brought the marketplace into the company and the product/service development cycle. 

It's too late to cast them out and they have to be listened to!

Staying at the leading edge of word-of-mouth marketing, Rosen explains why social media is becoming such an important two-way communications tool for businesses and services as all types.

Firms benefit by:

  • customer engagement
  • direct customer communications
  • speed of feedback/results
  • learning customer preferences
  • low cost
  • brand building
  • market research
  • credibility of the "crowd"
  • reach
  • great lead/sales generation source

But all of this is theory and how-to education.  The great thing about Rosen's Buzz Revisited is the case studies and examples.  They give you an clear, concise understanding of what was done, why it was done, the results and a peek behind the curtain as to why the effort succeeded.

The only problem in his effort is that he leaves you wishing you had done the project and wanting to be a part of keeping the word-of-mouth moving forward.

Well you can!

Get your hands on a copy of The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited and read it through in one or two evenings. 

Then spend a couple of evenings in your home office or living room revisiting Rosen's word-of-mouth marketing lessons and thinking about how you can help your organization improve its communications activities and results.

Then lay out your own plans. 

Understand how SEO (search engine optimization) can help enhance your efforts and help you achieve your objectives.

We know today that the Web provides an overwhelming set of metrics that help you track your programs in almost real-time.  

Rosen's The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited is a great roadmap to ensure your company/organization and you move in the right direction.