Building Buzz to Beat the Big Boys
Word of Mouth Marketing for Small Businesses
by Steve O'Leary and Kim Sheehan
March 2008, 200pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-34598-2
$75, £58, 66€, A103
eBook Available: 978-0-313-34599-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

By putting the information in this book to use, small retail stores and service providers can beat back Big Chain competition and prosper.

Thousands of small, retail stores open every year, but 70 to 80 percent of them close within five years. Many are done in by the big box and Internet retailers who crush competition with low prices and convenience. But smaller retail stores and service providers have distinct competitive advantages: They are local. They can connect on a personal level with customers in a way the big guys can’t. And they can add immense value to the customer experience. To capitalize on these advantages, marketing experts Steve O’Leary and Kim Sheehan offer dozens of inexpensive Word of Mouth marketing methods small businesses can use right away. Done well, these efforts will help smaller merchants do more than survive—they’ll prosper.

For independent retailers to succeed, it is no longer enough to create a loyal customer base. Local store marketers need to put their loyal customers to work, encouraging them to talk about the store to their friends, family members, and others in their social networks. When they do, the result is Word of Mouth (or Buzz) marketing, a powerful tool that creates an army of advocates who become even more loyal and help attract new customers. Besides learning how to leverage the power of word of mouth marketing, readers will learn: -How to understand their customers better. -How to increase customer loyalty to their store. -How to communicate with customers to maintain loyalty. -How to encourage loyal customers to talk to others about their store. -How to create a customer community, both in the store and on line. -How to measure results. The book also includes numerous examples from current businesses, as well as thought-provoking ideas and templates to help readers generate their own successful buzz marketing plans. Most resources available today on buzz marketing focus on techniques for large companies and online retailers. This book offers something priceless for the little guy by showing ways to increase loyalty and gain new customers.


"The Web has caused a redefinition of business systems and how they interact and dialogue with consumers. This is especially true for small businesses, which face challenges marketing their products and services and competing with large, often global competitors. O'Leary (CEO, advertising agency) and Sheehan (Univ. of Oregon) successfully take on the challenge of addressing these important how-to issues for small businesses. They establish a basic road map--customers-conversations-community-commitment--as the organizational framework for this useful work. The objective is to help small businesses use customers to talk about their stores and services with others to help build a growing community of customers and increase sales. As a method, this is word-of-mouth on steroids. This well-organized, lucid book sets forth this operating approach with practical marketing suggestions, and ideas that make budget sense and can be quickly implemented and measured. A how-to book doesn't get much better than this....Highly recommended."—Choice, September 1, 2008

"This book gives the small business owner the personal touch tools that a small business needs. It is the perfect solution to the problem of how to compete with the Big Boys."—Glen Adams, Owner of Hair Care Salons, Louisville, Kentucky

"A must-have handbook for local retailers in their everyday David vs. Goliath battle with the Big Boys. Each chapter lays out step-by-step how to enhance the shopping experience of your core customers and how to enlist them to attract even more shoppers to your store. Building Buzz shows you how to leverage your natural competitive strength, your closeness to your customers. Level the playing field with the Big Boys and gain the competitive edge."—Arthur R. Tauder, Former Vice-Chairman of McCann WorldGroup, Founder-ThunderHouse Enterprises

"Nothing like great advice from experts who combine experience with passion. This book is jammed with everything from smart strategies to common sense action. In the current marketplace, if you're not using buzz, you are missing out. Read this and start the buzz working for your business."—Rich Jernstedt, PR Executive, Chicago, Illinois
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