Trying to create buzz? Don’t forget lesson 1 – Start with a superior user experience!

21 10 2009
Zipcar iPhone app customer reviews

Zipcar iPhone app customer reviews

I’ve been wanting to blog on this Zipcar iPhone App debacle, just hadn’t gotten the time this week. Anyhoos, I managed to sneak some time in now, so here goes.

This whole Zipcar incident reminds me of the company Momenta that released its “pen-based” computer back in the day (sometime in 1991 I think). The problem with Zipcar is very similar to that which Momenta experienced – you could have the greatest buzz campaigns, the coolest PR team and the sweetest gigs, but at the end it always boils down to the user experience.

If you look back on the early days of the Palm or even the iPod, you will find that buzz can essentially be described as “the word on the street”. It’s what people will say about your product based on their experience with it!

Yes, I know what you’re thinking…and I agree. A good, well executed PR and marketing campaign helps, but only when accompanied with a quality experience.

Another important lesson here is to not get so carried away with the desire to generate buzz that you end up creating excessively high expectations in the marketplace. Palm’s old philosophy of “under promising and over delivering” could work. I personally am a fan of setting the right expectations and then beating it by just a little.

PS: I had to revisit a cool book called “The Anatomy of Buzz” in order to write this post effectively. Just thought I’d share that with you in case you were interested in reading more about buzz marketing.




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