's Marketing Buzz

Does Buzz Marketing really work?'s CEO says emphatically, "You better believe it’s working.”

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What does a human birth, a hundred burgers and a gynecology visit have to do with Web hosting? If you ask Ben Neumann, CEO and President of Globat, LLC, its a sure-fire way to attract attention and customers.

Los-Angeles-based Globat has provided Web hosting services since 2001, but as of January 2006, the company has broken away from the pack with, a website devoted to their recent off-the-wall media campaigns. Its an advertising style labeled in various ways throughout the marketing world as Buzz marketing, Evangelist Marketing or Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM), among others.

You need to invite attention. You need to be a water cooler conservation topic, and I think by creating Defying Gravity we have a vehicle to deliver these water cooler conservations, Neumann said.

The one Buzz Marketing event that got the most attention by far, according to Neumann, was the sponsored birth of Samiah Wynn Francis. Born on March 18, 2006, at six pounds, fifteen ounces, newborn Samiah Wynn Francis came into the world innocently enough. Immediately following though, the newborn was swaddled in a pink baby jumpsuit, surrounded by company flyers and posters for a cute photo opportunity. In the weeks leading up to the birth, Samiahs mother, Asia Francis, displayed a temporary tattoo on her pregnant belly and sported a company T-shirt for cameras and interviews.

Paying a mother to brand such a precious and momentous event with company logos and promos rubbed a few the wrong way Neumann said but, like all their Buzz stunts so far, it fulfilled its objective. It raised the company above the rest of the Web hosting industry in a unique way.

The Web hosting market is extremely crowded and highly competitive, and lets face it, Web hosting isnt the most exciting thing around, Neumann said. We wanted to stick out a bit more we wanted people to look at a product such as web hosting in a little more of an exciting light, and get people talking about us.

Neumann noted, with such a bombardment of advertising these days a company needs to look at different avenues if they are to get noticed. According to the numbers in a recent Union of Concerned Scientists study, Globat might be on to something. The average American is exposed to about 3,000 advertising messages a day (studies vary from 200-plus to several thousand messages daily) show and corporations, globally, spend over $620 billion each year to advertise their products. With so much competition and money going into marketing these days, Neumann thinks Buzz Marketing provides an edge.

In fact, a recent Marketing Magazine 5 Big Trends article, asserts that traditional mass-media advertising is on a real decline. Other forms of advertising, such as direct marketing, promotions, stunts, events, product placements and others are becoming more dominant. According to the article, companies are beginning to see the value of good PR and WOM over traditional, in-your-face advertising.

But does it work? Has Globats bold campaign helped the company? You better believe its working, Neumann said. Although he didnt get into specific numbers, he says compared to last year Globat has experienced a significantly larger number of calls, resulting in a significantly larger number of sign-ups for their hosting services.

On top of that, Neumann said Globats marketing budget has dropped slightly versus the continual marketing-budget increase theyve experienced in previous years.

Bringing up another aspect to WOM Marketing: it can be cheaper than traditional forms of advertising. By creating Buzz around a company a brand can like a virus piggyback from one conversational host to another and a company can simply enjoy the free multiplication of their spoken name, as Dr. Ralph F. Wilson from Web Marketing Today described it.

Neumann says he will continue to use traditional forms of advertising along side, but relying on just one is no longer an option. He says the unique advertising campaign is going strong, and as the Website itself pledges, Globat is looking for 50 people in 50 states to represent their state with a unique event that screams DefyingGravity!

So far, theyve successfully launched several attention-grabbing stunts, including the most recent family of three from Texas, paid by Globat to drive 400 miles to a St. Louis, Missouri White Castle to eat 100 hamburgers each. Globat even carried out a worlds first: a sponsored gynecological visit this past St. Patricks Day, promoting their hosting services and cancer prevention.

Neumann also let us in on the next big stunt. A woman from Alaska has agreed to get a tattoo anywhere on her body and an online public voting booth will be available for people to vote where they think that tattoo should go. Neumann said Globat will launch the voting booth soon, and that its bound to get people talking.

George DiFalco is a Contributing Editor at TopHosts.Com, where he monitors and writes about the Web hosting industry. Write to