The buzz masters

It is no good saying you have a better mousetrap. You have to squeak and get all the cats miaowing.




I’m just back from the fourth AGSE International Entrepreneurship Exchange in Brisbane, attended by business professors, research students, academics, an occasional practical start-up manager and a few venture capitalists. They all went on the dubious assumption that they had more to learn than to demonstrate from their own experience.


Innovation rated lower but a couple of standout papers were worth a more detailed review.


It’s well worth asking Jason Fitzsimmons to send you a great paper entitled Marketing buzz: a framework for entrepreneurs.


Jason and his colleagues from QUT and Brisbane Graduate School of Business develop guidelines for entrepreneurs wanting to leverage scarce resources by pursuing more innovative marketing techniques including viral marketing, word-of-mouth networks, guerrilla marketing and blog-linking.


They look first at the uniqueness of the product (looks, ease of use, functionality, etc) and then at the visibility of the product on offer, in terms of “promotion” and “place”.


Together they combine to produce a “buzz” that gets things moving in a way that is not possible with traditional marketing or advertising launches.


For viral marketing like this to be effective you need to find markets that have a lot of hot customers (who listen to radio, word of mouth, interact on the internet) rather than passive people (who watch television).


You also need to demonstrate your hot product. It’s no good saying you have a better mousetrap. There are so many products in the marketplace you have to squeak and get all the cats miaowing.


But how to come up with the product in the first place? There were a number of references to Darryl Bubner’s Australian Business Innovations at the conference, which suggests he may have at last generated interest in his innovation assessments here; he is already successful in Europe.


Australian Business Innovations has developed a model of six factors that must be in place for innovation to thrive. These are:


1. Leadership that understands the need for innovation and is prepared to walk the talk when promoting innovation across the organisation.


2. A Strategy for innovation that clearly lays out where and why innovation is required, and gives clear direction to the innovation process.


3. Innovation via the external environment that uses external links and networks to scan the latest trends, patterns and discoveries taking place around the globe.


4. An internal environment conducive to innovation and has a suitable set of structures, policies, and processes to support people undertaking innovation activities.


5. Measurement & maintenance processes that indicates how well innovation is being managed and ensures that new ways of doing things really stick.


6. An innovation design and management process that picks up the focus from the innovation strategy, applies Deliberate Cre8ive Thinking™ to generate “good” ideas, and then guides those ideas through an effective design and evaluation process to ensure that good ideas are successfully turned into innovative new products, services or processes.


Readers may be interested to go to the mindwerx website for details of this work and look at some good material on innovation in action.


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