Tuesday, September 18, 2007

create some buzz

How would you like to come home to a box full of the newest, hottest products on the market? You can, with BzzAgent.

Most people who know me know I'm a BzzAgent -- I participate in viral marketing for products that fit my lifestyle. I signed up with BzzAgent, the leading word-of-mouth media network, and then sat back and waited for the emails. Every month or so, I get an email that asks me to join a particular campaign. If I'm interested, I sign up. If it doesn't appeal to me, I do nothing.

Most campaigns come with free stuff for yourself and for you to share with friends, and coupons to buy more. It's really fun because you get to try new things (without paying for them) and share them with your family and friends. I've been a BzzAgent for over two years, and have done campaigns for Pledge Multi-Surface Wipes, Hershey Take 5, AquaPod water, Ziploc containers, Listerine Whitening Strips, Wrigley 5 gum, and Eucerin lotion.

What BzzAgent asks of its members is to try the products, share them, and then give them feedback. It doesn't have to be positive and it doesn't have to be an elaborate marketing scheme. It can be as simple as giving all your friends a sample, leaving a coupon in a strategic place in the grocery store, or mentioning the product in a conversation.

I used to think this was really weird (I first read about it in Pattern Recognition by William Gibson) because strategic word-of-mouth buzz seemed so, well, contrived. How fake is it to promote something to others that you might not really like or even care about? But the thing I like about BzzAgent is that I don't have to do anything. The more you buzz, the more campaigns you get to join, but you don't have to give false positive feedback or spend a lot of time or money to participate.

There are short surveys to fill out before, during and after campaigns, and then you submit BzzReports which are just detailed accounts of your buzzing. You are awarded points for these activities, which can be traded in for prizes.

I'm usually skeptical about this kind of thing, but it's actually pretty cool and fun. I've done the BzzAgent thing now for a while, and I totally recommend it!

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