Nordic Track Book Club Review: Beyond Buzz

Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word-of-Mouth Marketing by Lois Kelly picks up where the Cluetrain Manifesto left off. Beyond Buzz provides clear guidance on how to transform conversational marketing into buzz in a way that is both interesting and thought provoking. 5-out-of-5 [NordicTrack] Stars.


p.1 New marketing is about conversations. It’s about helping people get to know us in ways that build understanding, trust and feelings, that make them want to do business with our companies.

p.3 Moving into the talk world, have a point of view. Talk like you talk. Listen more. Give more advice. Invite more people in. Tap into what’s bubbling. Make people feel heard. Ask more questions. Be brave.

p.14 It’s a struggle for consumers to make sense out of so many choices and so much available information.

p.19 The headline on a website or tagline on a business card is not meant to explain the company’s entire value proposition. It is meant to get people thinking and talking.

p.21 To make sure the conversations help people understand your views and you theirs, the first step is to make sure conversations make meaning, not buzz.

p.23 The four ingredients of meaning-making are context, relevancy, pattern-making and emotion.

p.24 It’s not buzz or more information that people want. It’s meaning.

p.42 How a five-year-old learns and what that means to marketing practices. 1) Likes to argue and reason, 2) uses five to eight words in a sentence, 3) is interested in cause and effect, 4) understands and uses comparative terms, 5) enjoys creating and listening to interesting stories, 6) uses swear words for attention, others…

p.50 Customers want to talk about new ideas. More than anything people want a reason to believe in you.

p.51 An effective point of view should evoke the response, “That’s kind of interesting. Tell me more.”

p.65 So why don’t more companies have a point of view? No one is in charge of creating the views that help jump-start conversations.

p.67 Moving from transactional to conversational communications. Transactional communication like going into most banks lets you remain detached and unengaged. It doesn’t help build relationships or nurture understanding.

p.71 The secret is to reach deep into your soul to talk about what you believe in as it affects your audience.

p.72 You can’t lead other people unless you know what you stand for.

p.81 The communities help companies shut up and really listen to their customers. The insights from these communities are extraordinary.

p.89 In a recent study, being satisfied with the product accounted for only 21% of participants becoming advocates for a company, while identification accounted for 62% of the participants becoming advocates.

p.96 “What we believe in” questions. 1) I believe passionately that… 2) people in our industry are wasting too much time talking about… 3) the thing that our customers should be worrying about is… 4) original thinking says, but the real issue is… 5) solving this one problem will change the game, 6) we never want to be associated with, and 7 more.

p.153 Delete the adjectives. View marketing as a voice of customer service, not production. Empower customers like employees. Ongoing two-way conversation. Involving people is not a short-term tactic.

p.167 Excellent chart on new functions, new competencies. For instance, Traditional role to gain market insights: market research. New competencies: conversation monitoring and analysis, community consultation and involvement, trend and idea spotting.


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A long time developer, I was an early adopter of Linux in the mid-90's for a few years until I entered corporate environments and worked with Microsoft technologies like ASP, then .NET. In 2008 I released Sueetie, an Online Community Platform built in .NET. In late 2012 I returned to my Linux roots and locked in on Java development. Much of my work is available on GitHub.