Creating Buzz with BzzAgent

Posted on March 3, 2006

Product marketing has seen many changes over the years because of technology but, as we all know, the best marketing any product can have is word of mouth referrals from its customers. A positive review from a friend, loved one or expert is always far more powerful than any ad could ever be because the element of trust is involved. Lately the word of mouth movement has really begun to take off and I think a lot of this has to do with the world becoming smaller because of the internet. The internet also happens to be a great platform for creating and administering word of mouth marketing campaigns and, of course, there is a company called BzzAgent that is helping marketers to do just that.

Now, I am not just talking about these guys because they are from my beloved Boston and because I really respect the guys at IDG Ventures that have invested in them. I really think they may be on to something. However, the only way to know was to try it out myself and I did so after getting a little kick from Jon Karlen at IDG.

Signing up for an account is incredibly simple. After you get in you can start answering surveys that will give BzzAgent the data they need to start funneling different opportunities your way. Each survey you fill out earns you points. These points can then be used for BzzCampaigns which means free product for you in turn for telling BzzAgent and everyone you know what you think of the product. There are also things in between surverys and BzzCampaigns called BzzBlasts. Since I am fairly new to BzzAgent (and since there are no BzzCampaigns for me yet…) I opted to try out a BzzBlast that was available to me. This particular blast was for the Hershey’s Take 5 candy bar. Needless to say I was very excited since I am a chocolate junkie. So, I took less than a minute to fill out the requisite information and then waited patiently for my free candy.

The candy arrived today, a little more than a week after applying to join the blast. I opened up the package and this was what I saw.

BzzBlast 1

BzzBlast 2

The package included 20 candy bars (look for those Monday in the kitchen fellow FeedBurners!), a note describing the blast for the head BzzAgent, a Take 5 postcard, a postcard describing what a BzzBlast is and my very own copy of the BzzAgent Code of Conduct. After reviewing the paperwork I tried one of the candy bars. Oh, who am I kidding? I was half way through my second bar by the time I started reading over the paperwork!

The Take 5 bar is interesting. It combines chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter, pretzels and caramel into one bar. I enjoyed it but I won’t go as far as saying it is the best candy bar I have ever had (that would probably go to Cadbury). It does satisfy the urge for salty and sweet things in one piece of candy though. Laura thinks that the pretzels need more salt. I am curious to see what my fellow FeedBurners have to say. Nonetheless, this is a very interesting way to do a promotion. Look, I am blogging it and will be sharing the bars with friends who, if they like them, will share their opinions with their friends and so on.

I think BzzAgent may run into some problems with campaign performance though. BzzAgents could come off salesy and may not give honest opinions because they feel tied to BzzAgent in some way. However, I think BzzAgent does a good job of discouraging this type of activity through the BzzAgent code of conduct and because they don’t penalize you for negaive opinions nor favor your for giving positive ones. Marketers also need to accept the fact that not all products are winners and even the best BzzCampaign can’t save everything.

I am currently awaiting my “please go fill out the survey e-mail” which is the next and last part of the blast. In the meantime, I get to share some free candy with friends. I have enjoyed my experience so far and I think that BzzAgent will have no problems recruiting BzzAgents. Whether you love being a trendsetter, having something to blog about or even just getting free stuff being a BzzAgent is for you. I urge you to try it out and let me know what you think of the service in the comments or via e-mail.

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