Fabrizio Perrone is the founder and CEO of Buzzoole, a media platform that helps people become influential online. The 33 year old digital entrepreneur and innovator has been a serial startupper since 2007 and was among the first people in Italy to establish a successful online-based business. Buzzoole operates as a vertical tool for the construction and management of digital PR campaigns. As an influence engine optimization platform, it helps in generating quick, easy and qualitative word of mouth. Buzzoole enables new and established brands plan buzz campaigns with the same ease and speed of an Adwords campaign or Facebook ad, all within a self-service model. Buzzoole main clients and partners include Redbull, Ferrero, MSC Cruises, Henkel, Fastweb, Sammontana, Mailup, Orphea, GroupM, Mec Global, Aegis Media and Be On.
Starting out in business
Fabrizio knew that he wanted to be in business immediately he left University. While in Ireland, he came across a lot of businesses that would work well in Italy, and one idea in particular stood out to him. In mid-2008, he started an offline events company, the first in Italy to have imported an armoured limousine for hire to different clients. With time, and applying the experience he gained from the offline events industry, he slowly changed the company into a digital PR agency with its first service being viral marketing. The company then evolved into offering other digital PR services. He later sold it to a public company in 2013. His experience with that company formed the basis for his Buzzoole idea.
Period in full-time business
Fabrizio has been in full-time business for the last 9 years. When he started Buzzoole in mid-2013, he raised his first investor funding at the end of that year. The business grew steadily through 2014 then got another round of funding in year 2015. The company has been growing rapidly and is now establishing offices in different countries.
Choosing entrepreneurship Vs. a 9 to 5 job
He choose to be an entrepreneur when he discovered from the job interviews he taken, that employment was not for him. The entry-level employment terms he used to get from the big companies he interviewed with were not appealing to him. He wanted to do something that would be more challenging and rewarding in the long run.
The Buzzoole idea
He came up with the idea for Buzzoole when he realised how difficult it was to conduct digital PR campaigns manually. It was too labour intensive to contact every blogger and influencer one needed for their campaign, and managing the campaigns was also very cumbersome. The manual processes were highly ineffective. Fabrizio therefore decided to develop an efficient digital PR campaign technology that would include influencer analytics, campaign management and real-time reporting. He partnered up with his current CTO (Chief Technology Officer), who developed the Buzzoole platform including its algorithm.
The need for brands to engage with influencers and celebrities
Companies know that it’s more important what people say about their brands and products; that people widely talk about their brands. That is what builds a brand’s positioning and penetration into its target market. Influential people and celebrities are the most ideal in creating and spreading positive sentiments (word of mouth) about a product/brand.
Viability of the Buzzoole concept
Fabrizio applied the widespread knowledge that word of mouth is the most effective method of marketing a product. Data he collected showed that more than 80% of user trust from reviews online and more than 50% of all purchasing decisions made were due to online review consultations. Therefore, companies knew that effective digital PR was important in order to develop their brands. In the process of their campaigns, companies needed to follow-up on every process in order to make sure the expected results were achieved. Buzzoole’s technology enabled the companies to achieve that in a timely, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Getting the first paying client
The first big client for Buzzoole was Ferrero. Fabrizio initially approached them and got an opportunity to pitch the concept to them after which within a few weeks they wanted to do a pilot test of the Buzzoole platform for their brand. The pilot was very successful which led to Ferrero becoming a long-term client to date.
Retaining Ferrero as a client
Ferrero’s use of Buzzoole platform has continuously proven to be cost-effective and efficient in achieving their digital PR goals. Buzzoole went beyond reaching the celebrities needed to promote Ferrero’s brand and also directly reached the overall target market which greatly developed the brand more than ever thought possible.
One Ferrero campaign, for example, where they were releasing a new product, Buzzoole sent the product to 100 influencers who then created posts on Facebook, Instagram, and blogs in order to announce the release of the new product. The campaign was so successful in terms of virality and engagement, that by the end, it had more than 2,000 people publishing content about the product.
Benefits to influencers
They get to try out the products first and Buzzoole exposes them to other work opportunities with multiple brands. They also get Amazon credits.
Growth strategy at the beginning and now
Fabrizio used to pitch the technology to more than 50 potential clients every month in Italy in order to get new clients.
Currently, Buzzoole has opened an office in the UK and is planning to open in other locations including France, Russia, Spain, US, and South America.
Growing the Buzzoole brand in the UK
Buzzoole is creating an influencer community that is using its platform for their activity analytics and growing their personal branding.
Buzzoole also has representatives engaging with top brands and they have so far acquired business from brands like Hilton, MasterCard, Audi, Volvo, and Unilever. Buzzoole has been recognized by Unilever as one of the best 12 tech start-ups worldwide and was also recognized by Intel and SAP as one of the best European ICT and big data start-ups for its technology.
Buzzoole is also aggressively spreading the word about influencer marketing since majority of big global brands are still not knowledgeable on its effectiveness and how to apply it.
Biggest breakthrough in business
Buzzoole has been growing steadily since it started with its 2014 revenues being $200,000 which grew to $1.2 Million in 2015. Fabrizio projects the revenues to reach $3Million in 2017.
Buzzoole also started off with 4 employees, then 10, then 20, and in the last six months the company has hired more people, raising the number to 45 employees.
Fabrizio says that Buzzoole’s revenues grew so rapidly because of the high quality of its platform in terms of guaranteeing effective digital PR. 82% of all Buzzoole clients have also been repeating their campaigns every six months and spending up to $250,000 a year on Buzzoole to conduct their campaigns.
A day in life before starting Buzzoole Vs. A day in life now
When starting the company, Fabrizio took up different roles in the process of running the company but now he concentrates solely on building the UK office. When at the head office in Naples, he gets very engaged in different projects.
He currently works from both the London and Naples offices on a week-by-week basis.
He is mostly mentored by his investors and shareholders.
Book recommendation for entrepreneurs:
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses – Eric Ries
- Technical articles (keep him updated on the tech world)
To be known as an entrepreneur who never gave up and persevered until he achieved his business goals – Fabrizio.
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