Today, we’re speaking with Samuel Clemens, the director of network optimization at bzzagent. bzzagent has created a systematic, effecient, and effective way to leverage the most effective form of adverstising: word-of-mouth. sam answers a few questions and shares more about what bzzagent does and how it disruptively but positively contributes and how it is different from the traditional advertising model. thanks, sam, for spending time with us today.
Be sure to read our other interviews in our leadership series.
Please provide a short bio on yourself
Work experience in reverse chrono: BzzAgent, Greylock, Amazon, Elance, Booz-Allen Hamilton. Education: Yale for Applied Math, Harvard for MBA. In a nutshell, I’m an analytical product guy, all of my gigs have been about building something techish.
What is the business problem or market opportunity that bzzagent is addressing?
Traditional advertising today is broken. This is from the perspective of the advertisers, the consumer product companies. Consumers use tivo and satellite radio to filter out ads in the more traditional mediums, or are simply becoming more jaded. Also, if you ask professional advertisers at media agencies, the holy grail of marketing has always been word-of-mouth. The problem is how to generate word-of-mouth in a systematic way (staging street spectacles is not systematic).
How does bzzagent address the business problem?
Bzzagent solution: Marketers (either product companies or their ad agencies) tell us who they are targeting and give us samples of the new product. We send those samples to the slice of our user “agent” base that matches the target demographic. Our deal with the agents is that if they like the product and talk about it, they need to tell us in a report so we can pass the feedback to the advertiser. They also need to say that they got the product from us (we get a lot of new agents this way). The agent gets a cool new product to try, the advertiser gets measurable word-of-mouth distribution, and everyone’s happy.
How does a bzzagent campaign help your clients? measureable differences that you could share?
Go view our many case studies. But, here are some notable examples:
- Diminish the barriers to trial and adoption by placing java.com in the hands of new consumers
- Identify an effective media that can drive awareness to the next generation about Java technology at a grassroots level
- Determine the circumstances where people use java.com and discover which factors drive word of mouth about java.com
- Engaged 1,100 Agents in a 12 week Campaign
- Agents were between 18 and 29 years old
- Each Agent received two java.com ringtone cards, a java.com mouse pad and an official java.com BzzGuide
- Increased Engagement
- Agents in this campaign were more engaged and responded more positively than those who participated in the previous java.com campaign
- Gained Valuable Consumer/Market Insights
- Agents informed us that they found the java.com user experience to be more about browsing than downloading and purchasing
- Agents who returned to java.com to browse for new site content (looking for new ringtones, applications, games to demo, etc.) proved to be highly evangelistic
- Generated Reach
- Reached an estimated 33,745 individuals
- Drove Awareness to the Next Generation
- Since Agents had a better understanding of java, the technology seemed to be a deciding factor when purchasing devices that run or are built upon java technology
- Educate consumers about Latte Lite at a grassroots level to generate awareness, trial and evangelism
- Diminish the barriers to trial and adoption by placing the product in the hands of new consumers
- Gain insight into the consumers’ opinions and experiences with Latte Lite, and how people talk about the product
- Dunkin’ Donuts engaged 3,000 Agents in a 12 week Campaign
- Targeted Agents in New York, Detroit, Boston and Cleveland
- Each Agent received six “Be My Guest” cards for a complimentary Latte Lite and the official Latte Lite BzzGuide
- Generated Reach and Trial
- Reached 111,272 individuals
- 96% of Agents noted that at least one person with whom they conversed had tried a Latte Lite
- Gained Valuable Customer/Market Insights
- Consumers who were outside of Dunkin’ Donuts’ original ‘health conscious’ target market enjoyed the Latte Lite
- Lifted Sales
- Category sales increased by 26% in test markets while control markets experienced an 8% increase
- After the first eight weeks of the campaign, overall sales in the test markets were 5% higher than sales in control markets
- An increase of nearly 0.5% in test market gross sales from the product launch
What is the future of bzzagent?
Future: It’s a media model, just like TV or radio or anything else. Advertisers call up and say “we want to market our new style of jeans to women age 24-29 in Boston with 1 dog and who drink coffee on Wednesdays.” We tell them we have 11,000 such folks, but we’re sending them a new face cream product next week, so how about booking 5k in May?
Aside from word-of-mouth, what would bzzagent look like for blogs? is there work in this category?
Bzzing blogs. Sure, don’t see why you couldn’t do a campaign for a blog. In theory at least, word of mouth is one of the most effective means of marketing any type of consumer product. In practice, blogs are themselves naturally word-of-mouth animals, so they probably don’t need us.
Thanks for spending time with shmula.com, Sam!