Buzz Creation

Buzz Creation

Creating Buzz: Turn Your Attorneys and Staff Into a “Word-of-Mouth” Sales Force

The oldest, most effective marketing tactic is now being touted as the latest trend in business development–they’re calling it “buzz marketing” but it is really nothing more than a formalized, improved version of what we all know as “word of mouth” advertising.

What’s interesting about discussions surrounding buzz marketing is that it reveals most law firms could do a much better job of managing word of mouth. Frankly, I’ve never addressed “word of mouth” formally in a marketing plan, nor have we tried to measure its use and effect in our law firm marketing effectiveness surveys. Yet, it is the single most effective, least expensive and obvious marketing tactic any business can employ.

Simply put, buzz marketing is the hiring of compensated agents to talk up a product or service. The agents do this in public– on the bus, in line at the coffee shop– and to friends and co-workers, or on the Internet. Recently, it has become controversial because some agents have failed to disclose their economic relationship to a product or service provider. Buzz proponents actively discourage such practices and have dubbed such undisclosed promotion “shrill marketing.”

Of course, a law firm can’t ethically hire agents to perform this kind of activity. But every lawyer, every paralegal, every member of your professional staff can be asked to employ word of mouth within an ethical framework. In fact, it would make sense to organize your firm to have everyone pass along the same message for a specific period of time before changing over to a new message.

Ask yourself: Are most of the attorneys and staff aware of and talking up your firm’s next marketing seminar, the firm’s latest litigation win, an important regulatory or a most recent transaction?

Many firms have newsletters and bulletins addressing these issues. But hearing it from someone whose opinion you respect is a different matter — that’s what the buzz is all about.

Here’s an example what you might do. When your firm schedules a seminar, have the presenting lawyers explain at a firm luncheon held 60 days prior to the event why the topic is important, who is being invited and how the event will be promoted. A good seminar presents valuable information to its target audience, so no attorney or member of your staff should feel any hesitation about explaining its value to friends and those they meet socially.

Bringing the subject up in conversation will not be difficult. Not a day goes by where most of us do not have a conversation in which someone asks you “What’s new?” Most people reply “Oh, nothing really.” Change that answer to “I just learned something that’s important to every business in the city. Starting July 1, in order to avoid a hefty fine all businesses must… It’s so important that our firm is doing a seminar about this on…”

Buzz marketing can turn your attorneys and staff into a “word of mouth” sales force. Better yet, everyone will always have something meaningful to say at their next social event. [1]



  1. Bob Weiss is president of Alyn-Weiss and Associates, Inc., a Denver-based marketing consulting group which has worked with both corporate, transactional and defense firms and contingent fee practices nationwide for more than 20 years.

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