“Frank, maybe it’s the old-time salesman in me, but I’ve always had one conviction, and that’s this: when you’re trying to sell an idea, I don’t care how complicated or what it may be, you’ll never find a more effective instrument of persuasion than the living human voice.”
Richard Yates, “Revolutionary Road,” 1961
A few years ago, I was introduced to BzzAgent, an innovative Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing company that works to spread the word about new products by allowing users to try them.
As BzzAgents (My agent name is “Nandita”), we are essentially agents of “cool” within our various social networks. Using IM messages, e-mails, casual conversation, and other indirect and direct methods of communication, we are encouraged to “buzz” about the products that we try out. One of the cornerstones of the BzzAgent Code of Conduct is that they’ve always encouraged honesty and transparency among it’s users; that is, if it turns out that we don’t like a product or are not happy with aspects of it, we are encouraged to talk about that too. This level of honesty ultimately makes this type of marketing stronger, because it gives creedence to your word and allows others to trust your opinion.
BzzAgent was founded in 2001, and has since evolved into a powerful force in the marketing industry. In just 6 years, the company has recruited more than 250,000 “agents” (all volunteer), and worked on more than 250 WOM campaigns.
When I first joined, I was attracted by the idea of trying out free products. Over the years, however, I’ve become increasingly fascinated with the philosophy of WOM marketing, as well as the process itself. Their site is actually quite exciting, and I encourage you to check it out as a source of inspiration. It’s chock full of quotes, research, and case studies that demonstrate the power of marketing through conversation. It’s an interesting example of just what can happen when you harness the power of word of mouth.