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Word Of Mouth Advertising — Can It Be Forced?

I’m a big believer in word-of-mouth marketing (indeed, a large share of our clients come in through referrals); I’m also deeply interested in new online advertising methods; and I’m a longtime fan of Seth Godin since Permission Marketing in 1999.

Through Godin’s interesting new book, Small Is The New Big, I found my way to BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth marketing agency.

Intriguing! Can marketers “drive” word-of-mouth consumer awareness?
I joined up to learn more. A sharp well-printed well-written welcome kit soon arrived in the mail (though the kit mentioned enclosed stickers, which my kit lacked). I particularly liked the BzzAgent code of conduct: “word-of-mouth isn’t shill marketing”, “word-of-mouth is real – honest – powerful”, etc. Good stuff.

There’s a gray area, however, between natural word-of-mouth and incented conversation. BzzAgent awards participants points for making product testimonials and taking surveys. These points can be redeemed for gifts and prizes. (By taking a few surveys, I’m at 18 points.)

Anyway, today’s email brought these instructions from “Central Hive”:

Greetings BzzAgent aprk,

By now you’ve probably had a chance to Bzz about Small Is the New Big to the people you see every day: your friends, coworkers, boss or anyone who needs some fireworks.

Now we need your help with spreading the word beyond your neck of the woods. That’s right, we need you to amp up the Bzz around the World Wide Web, the blogosphere and to all corners of the Internet.

Why not write about Small Is the New Big on your personal or company’s blog? Or how about using the handy “email this chapter to a friend” feature on the Campaign Homepage to send an excerpt to your friend across the world? Or, may we suggest logging on to Amazon.com or B&N.com and posting a Small Is the New Big review? The possibilities are endless!

Hmm. Of all authors, I find it ironic that Godin opted for this get-points-for-testimonials campaign. His stuff is so good he shouldn’t need it.

Update: Just realized this post itself is buzz for Small Is The New Big… perhaps I’ll submit it to BzzAgent. <g>

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  • Alan Rimm-Kaufman
    Alan Rimm-Kaufman founded the Rimm-Kaufman Group...
  • Comments
    2 Responses to “Word Of Mouth Advertising — Can It Be Forced?”
    1. BzzGirl says:

      BzzAgent aprk,

      My welcome kit was also missing the enclosed stickers, hmph…

      I have been a BzzAgent for a little over a month now and am having a lot of fun with it, I recently started a blog to talk about my campaigns: bzzgirl.blogspot.com

      It would be great to stay in touch – I’d love to hear your opinions on products/services that we are both bzzing.

    2. Alan Rimm-Kaufman Alan says:

      So they mail me again today (Sept 13):

      = = = =

      Greetings BzzAgent aprk,
      We read Seth Godin’s BLOG post today, 9/13 , and thought long and hard about whether to send you this email. We decided to send it because we have something we really and truly want to say: We’ve just posted two more chapters from Small Is the New Big and we won’t be posting any more. The campaign ends next week and if you haven’t had a chance to read all twenty chapters that we made available throughout the Campaign, you can find them on Seth’s Small Is the New Big Squidoo lens. Seth also has other content on his lens that you can download and share with others. It makes for inspiring reading!

      We have something else we’d really and truly like to say. Thank you for all the great Bzz! If you have Bzz that you haven’t told us about, we hope you’ll take a few minutes now and head over to the Campaign Homepage and submit a BzzReport.

      = = = =

      Amusing!