A Conversation With BuzzLogic

Yesterday I had the chance to speak with the leadership team at BuzzLogic, which has developed a platform for tracking buzz around any topic or company. The primary venue for this buzz is the blogosphere, where there has been a clear increase in activity and influence over the past 24 months.

As exhibited in WIRED magazine’s cover story this month, blogging has also become an important tool for companies to open the floodgates of transparency, in a new marketing strategy meant to foster trust among constituents. In the local space, Judy’s Book CEO Andy Sack has been the most recent example of this.

BuzzLogic has an application and service layer that target PR firms and brands of all sizes that wish to pinpoint where conversations are happening about them online. After being armed with this knowledge, the idea is to join the discussion (think blog comment threads) or position paid advertisements around the conversations or top “influencers” of relevant topics.

The product itself is a Web-based application that can be thought of as a sort of Nielsen BuzzMetrics that has been productized in a software license. The beta product is used by 164 clients and is currently being developed with new features aimed at different niches. One possibility in addition to the obvious enterprise applications, is selling into the entertainment industry for publicists, talent agencies or record companies to track the buzz surrounding their products (talent) and devise marketing campaigns accordingly.

There was a large and intricate feature set in the demo I was given, such as a graphical representation of all the inbound and outbound links to the top blog posts on a given subject. This allows marketers to get an overhead view of where conversations are happening and, correspondingly, where they should position themselves.

“This provides visual cues about what makes our algorithms tick,” says Todd Parsons, EVP of products and services. “It makes it easy to see the paths that are deriving the biggest reach for subjects of interest.”

What About Local?

Does this have applications on a local level? Possibly. Future versions of the product will bring IP targeting into the algorithms to have optional drill downs that indicate buzz around a topic within (or coming from) a given locale. This could help national brands better target individual geographies. Yahoo!’s Panama SEM platform allows this geographic targeting, but BuzzLogic can be seen as a supplement (or one step before) an SEM campaign to see where geographic targeting should take place.

In its own platform, BuzzLogic has tools built in to take various actions around an associated marketing strategy, which are more organic or guerrilla in nature (contacting a blogger, joining a discussion thread, etc.). But it could also offer supplementary strategic influence on geographic ad targeting in search engine marketing campaigns and could thus someday be integrated into SEM campaign workflows (my speculation). This would likely require a partnership or acquisition.

It could also be valuable for interactive marketing resellers that work on a local level, such as WebVisible. In online and offline marketing bundles, it could be additive to offer advertisers the ability to see (and react to) the places where their products or services are being talked about or influenced in the blogosphere. In the growing realm of social search (reviews and ratings), this form of “reputation management” on a local level could gain relevance over time.

With online local advertising and the relatively slow adoption rate of the majority of SMBs, it’s “one step at a time.” But there could be some interesting opportunities to push this type of buzz tracking out to the SMB marketplace to compound the value of the existing ad bundles of online marketing resellers. BuzzLogic is currently targeting larger clients, but the single point of entry into the local market  through an interactive marketing reseller  could represent an opportunity for the company. For now, consider it a very interesting company with some possible intersections with the local search world on its horizon.

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