Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Anatomy of Buzz

Following are a pile of questions that I have been asking myself after reading a marketing book called The Anatomy of Buzz by Emanuel Rosen. I would recommend that you find this book and add it to your own personal library. Print this off and take some significant time to work through these questions with the people closest to your ministry. Some of the questions asked you may need to ask me for clarification on…ask! Lots of good brainstorm stuff here!

1. From who do our newcomers typically learn about youth/young adults?

2. What do people say when they recommend youth/young adults?

3. How fast does information about youth/young adults spread compared with other churches/young adults groups/organizations?

4. Who are our network hubs? Are there any mega-hubs? Which are social hubs and which are expert hubs? Are there any categories of people who might become network hubs for youth/young adults?

5. Where does information about young adults hit a roadblock? Do our hub people know what the heck is happening?

6. Which are the most important sources of information that our youth/young adults rely on to know who we are/what we are about?

7. What other kinds of information spread through the same networks?

8. Who are our inactive markets that our youth/young adults are not reaching? Are we listening for silence where we are not known?

9. Do we offer a quality event, program, and community?

10. Do we underpromise and overdeliver? Overpromise and underdeliver?

11. Does youth/young adults enhance the lives of the people who come?

12. Contagious products and ideas draw attention to themselves; how well does youth/young adults draw attention to itself?

13. Do we offer anything new? Buzz reflects excitement and excitement does not build around old ideas and predictable approaches.

14. Are we operating in a spirit of truth, honesty, and directness?

15. What are we willing to do to accelerate the contagiousness and word-of-mouth spread about youth/young adults?

16. What do students/young adults tell their friends about us? About other churches/youth groups/young adults?

17. What is the general church culture saying about young adult and youth ministry right now?

18. How receptive and responsive are we to our student and young adult concerns, comments, suggestions? How easy is it for people to talk to us?

19. Can we limit access to youth/young adults to create buzz? Scarcity build interest.

20. What sneak previews do we want to give to grade 12's for young adults and grade 8's to youth?

21. What can we do that will surprise people?

22. How outrageous can we be?

23. Who and how can we take people 'behind the scenes'?

24. What is the story and drama that we need to keep telling about our communities?

25. What events can we stage to get people talking about youth/young adults?

26. What kind of "pass it on" promotional material and mechanisms do we have?

27. How visible is youth/young adults to youth and young adults?

28. Are our youth talking to each other? The more that they interact, the more involved they will become with youth/young adults and the more likely they will tell other people. Can we find ways to help them talk to each other, socialize, and exchange comments?

29. Is there anything that we can do that makes youth/young adults more useful as more people use it? Example: email is more useful when more people use it; myspace is more useful when more people use myspace. People will spread the word more readily if they perceive some sort of personal benefit.

30. Is there anyway that we can offer any type of 'referrals reward program'?

31. Can our ads be clever enough to create buzz on their own?

32. How well can our youth/young adults articulate who we are and what we are about?

33. Are we supplying our networks with a constant flow of innovations that people can actually talk about?

34. Are we keeping people involved? If people join us but never think about it again, we can't expect them to talk about it too much. However, if we involve them, engage them, make it interesting for them, they will talk. Involvement translates to action, which in turn translates to buzz.

Identifying Network Hubs
"Whether you spread an idea, a product, or a service, you always have a choice. You can broadcast or you can connect. Broadcasting involves massive mailings or buying media time and packaging your message so that it can be transmitted simultaneously to all nodes in the network. Connecting involves starting a dialogue with certain individuals in the network that you are trying to influence." -Emanuel Rosen
How do we identify these certain people?
1. Let network hubs identify themselves. These are people who come to us for something they want more then anything else: information. Network hubs feed on information.

2. Identify Categories of Network Hubs. The way to look for a category is to look for people who, by virtue of their position, have a higher then average number of ties with people in the networks you are trying to reach.

3. Spotting Network Hubs in the Field. It's easy to find these hubs when you are apart of a community. In fact, when you are apart of a community don’t really have to search.

Seeding Ideas
Successful seeding is an active process. It goes beyond the Field of Dreams cliché "If you build it, they will come." Rather than waiting passively for people to come to you, you go out and plant seeds all around the forest.

1. Look Beyond the Usual Suspects. Think broadly. Who are the people outside of our normal networks that could be 'seeded' with new ideas about young adults?

2. Put Information/Product In Their Hands. What piece of young adult product can we put in people's hand that will 'germinate itself' into other people's hands?

3. Listen For Silence. Successful seeding requires that we pay attention to dead networks and go further in order to reach them.

4. What seeding efforts are we doing right now? What should we be doing in the near future?

Hope this can be some use to you! Let me know if you need clarification on certain ideas or questions...I'd love to help. If it helps you pass it on.

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Anonymous said...

that sounds like a good book, jer.

A book I recomend everyone read is TAKEN BY STORM. It shows the value of what your talking about.


Markimus said...

I think this is an interesting read... Its good that someone has taken the time and effort to articulate something that for some people comes intiutively. The danger of laying it out in a format as such is that it becomes a 'hitlist' or checklist rather than an intrinsic thought process.

Jeremy Postal said...

Yes - such a good point Mark. This is not meant to be a hit list for anyone but a spring board to hopefully get people thinking about some of this stuff.
Great caution.

Jeremy Postal said...

Ken, you are the second person this week to recommend this book to me...Thanks!

What is the correlation between the book and the post? It seems so different...?

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

Hey Mark,

Does that mean you READ this book?

M. A. Hawkins said...

Let's wait and see if Mark reads your comment PW!

Markimus said...

LOL - Thx for that note Paul [and yes hawk I do read comments]
Confession - I have been guilty of reading a book occassionally [I am so embarrassed].

M. A. Hawkins said...

It's ok Mark there is help out there!
It's nothing to be ashamed of.

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting. Christmas reading here I come.

Anonymous said...

There is no question that I need this book for Christmas.

Now have I been naughty or nice...hmmm