They found that buzz can indeed
Buzz plays a major role in entertainment. Motion pictures and
broadcasting are two of the categories a 2001 McKinsey report found to be largely driven
by buzz. The report also says that 54 percent of sales across industries are affected by
buzz or lack thereof.
One might think that only the hippest new things, products and
entertainment on the edge, are the subjects of buzz.
Any product can be the subject of buzz among a certain group
that values information about such products, whether they be movies or pharmaceuticals.
The Godes/Mayzlin study looked at television shows that werent
necessarily groundbreaking, just a little new and different: "Judging Amy,"
"Stark Raving Mad," "Once and Again," "Malcolm in the
Middle" and "The West Wing" were all high on the buzz meters.
The urge to understand how buzz works is being led by
marketers who want to use it to move products.
The McKinsey report explains how buzz can be created by people who
are not even target customers of a product--celebrities, for example--and how rationing
supplies of a product can be used to create buzz.
Along with entertainment, toys, sporting goods, and fashion are all
heavily influenced by word-of-mouth, and the McKinsey report concludes in these areas buzz
isn't something that just happens but more often is the result of shrewd marketing.
The problem for marketers is that sometimes word-of-mouth is just
that, with the media not taking part in the transfer of information at all.
Godes and Mayzlins study may have found a fascinating new way
to figure out just what these webs of people are telling each other.
We found that for television, for anybody, they should look to
newsgroups or online communities for information on word-of-mouth, says Godes.