Yet another pathetic agency thinking it has invented a new tool in marketing. Apparently the US-based “WOM marketing agency” BzzAgent has signed up “nearly 12,000 British volunteers” for 7 campaigns in the UK. Such people will supposedly promote products to their friends in return for some freebies.
People who sign up to campaigns to promote products to their friends and family are sales people on the cheap. Using social contacts as agents is a long-standing direct sales strategy used by companies such as Avon, Tupperware and Ann Summers. This ain’t new.
The “volunteers” are simply sales people – seemingly working for free or on the cheap. They are not genuine brand advocates and if they are not open about their “marketing” role, their recommendations will pretty soon be recognised as worthless.
You cannot buy or bribe good word of mouth – it originates from delivering a truly remarkable service or product that people will honestly want to tell their friends about.
Real word of mouth works in the favour of good brands – and the credibility of such recommendations will be tainted by the exploitation by marketing agencies.
The word I’d like to mouth at such stupid marketers is “bogoff”.