This morning as I was applying my L’Oreal Revitalift which I received in the mail free (more about this later) I was struck by the brilliant use of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing that the company I got it from has capitalized on.
I’m a BzzAgent. BzzAgents simply sign up, fill out a survey about themselves and then begin receiving free products that they’re encouraged to try and “buzz” about. BzzAgent was way ahead of the FTC and its recently published rules requiring bloggers to explicitly disclose if they are being compensated by a manufacturer, advertiser, or service provider when they review an item.
I learned about BzzAgent from a woman who had just received a free Sonicare toothbrush to review. Not bad.
BzzAgents are encouraged – in fact required – from the get-go to be forthcoming about their role as an agent. BzzAgent’s site says: “…it’s up to you decide what to tell people. The good, the not-so-good, whatever. Word of mouth needs to be honest to be worth a darn thing.”
So true – and so clever.
Marketers know that WOM is the best way to influence consumers to try – and buy. BzzAgent creates a platform for companies to extend the try across (I’m guessing) thousands of agents.
I have no idea what it costs those who want to promote their brands to work through BzzAgent, but the takeaway for me is that the same principle could be used by any marketer – find a group of people whose demographics match the demographics for your product/service, qualify them, and offer them a free sample in exchange for spreading the word (good or bad) about that product or service.
In fact, for those companies that have previously been plying bloggers with free stuff and even money to covertly promote their products and services, the up-front approach is probably infinitely more effective.
Sure, there’s a risk that they won’t like your product (I didn’t like a recent product I received as a BzzAgent and I did share that information), but for most marketers who have a strong product that they believe in, the upside probably far outweighs the downside.
In the meantime, I’ll keep using the wrinkle creams (not sure why they think I fall into this demographic – okay, I am sure why…) and learning about the power of promotion through word-of-mouth.