Synopses & Reviews
For the last few years, marketers have been obsessed with creating word of mouth and buzz to compensate for the declining effectiveness of traditional advertising. There have been several books on this important subject (including The Tipping Point
), but none with the real-world insights that Dave Balter offers as todays leading practitioner of word-of-mouth marketing.
Balters company, BzzAgent, has grown exponentially in just a few years; it now coordinates an army of 75,000 volunteers who talk up products they genuinely love, ranging from books, beer, and jeans to perfumes, restaurants, and sausages. These agents are not asked to follow a script when talking with friends and acquaintances in everyday conversations, nor do they conceal that theyre agents. The honesty of their opinions is what make these agents believable.
The big lesson of BzzAgents success is that companies dont need to win over experts, influentials, cool hunters, or magic people to drive word of mouth. They just need to reach ordinary consumersfrom all age groups and income levelswho might be excited to try out new products before they hit the market. The person who sits next to you at work might have a bigger influence on what book youll read next than any critic, or even Oprah.
Grapevine features many real Bzz Agent campaigns (and transparently highlights both successes and failures) to show readers what strategies work best in driving word of mouth. Its both a practical book for business people and an enlightening read for anyone curious about why products take off or flop.
"Like most other marketing books, this intriguing but unconvincing volume dwells on botched ad campaigns, implying that those campaigns would have triumphed if only the advertiser had sought the authors' advice. In this case, all the reviled efforts overlooked 'the most powerful marketing force in the world': word-of-mouth. 'Everybody talks to everybody else about products every day,' writes Balter, founder of three-year-old BzzAgent Inc., which enlists earnest volunteers to spread the gospel about products that the firm is hired to promote. Balter argues that the fact that BzzAgents actually tell people, 'I'm a BzzAgent, and I'm pushing this product' aids the credibility of both the products and their advocates, with the result that Bzz campaigns succeed where shill campaigns (which employ paid actors) backfire. That may be true, but this volume doesn't adequately make the case that sincerity and product samples constitute a marketing revolution: the book's slapdash, 'admittedly nonscientific' analysis is backed by little more than enthusiasm, quotes from The Tipping Point and three years of BzzAgent anecdotes. Balter's gee-whiz, narcissistic writing voice won't help win converts, either. (Though Butman is a coauthor, Balter narrates the book in the first person.) While it aspires to reorient current thinking on consumerism and social interaction, it's clear that this book's true purpose is to serve as a 210-page BzzAgent ad." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Balter, the founder of BzzAgent, reveals how businesses can tap into the power of everyday conversation--otherwise known as word-of-mouth marketing.
Subtitled, "The New Art Of Word-Of-Mouth Marketing".
Word of mouth is an amazingly powerful force but how does it really work?
Businesses have become obsessed with stimulating word-of- mouth to counteract the declining effectiveness of advertising. But its easier said than done.
As the founder of BzzAgent, a community of more than 400,000 people who volunteer to talk to friends and acquaintances about products they genuinely love, Dave Balter is a successful practitioner, not a theorist. And hes figured out how to measure and harness word-of-mouth without corrupting it.
In Grapevine, Balter shows why honest feedback about books, restaurants, gadgets, or anything else is more believable than any paid endorser. And he answers some of the most elusive questions in marketing, such as what makes word-of-mouth very different from buzz” and viral marketing.”
About the Author
is the founder and CEO of BzzAgent (www.bzzagent.com), the ground-breaking word-of-mouth marketing firm that has been profiled in Forbes, Fast Company,
and a New York Times Magazine
John Butman is a veteran business writer.