Saturday, May 27, 2006

BzzAgent Reflection

The recent WOM marketing project our class completed allowed my group to learn alot from BzzAgent and their WOM campaign for Radica Game's 20Q. For those who read this that are not familiar with either company, BzzAgent is a media company (as they label themselves) that create and run WOM campaigns where they use a sample of their 160,000 volunteers to try out a product and report back about the number of WOM conversations they have, how many people they talk to, and the content of these conversations. Radica Games specializes in creating hand-held games and the 20Q is a particular game that asks the player 20 questions to try to guess an object the player thinks about. It is almost impossible to stump and is based off of the website (i encourage all to go and try it...its a good time).

Our group talked to Matt McGlinn, Director of Research at Bzz, and he provided us with insights we found extremely valuable for this project. It was interesting to see how they approach a campaign compared to "traditional" marketing campaigns and even more that they consider their company under the genre of media. They do not label themselves as a WOM marketing company because they see WOM as another form of media like TV, the Internet, magazines, etc.

One of the main things we learned from this project were the methods and metrics that Bzz used to measure the success of a campaign. Even over the two year span since the Radica campaign ran, Bzz has greatly increased the ways they can measure the success of a campaign. Still, most of these measures of success still do not hold much value since there are no standards set. In 2004, Bzz was able to compare campaigns based on the number of conversations that occurred, how many people were reached, and how many volunteers out of the entire sample that were participating in the campaign actually submitted BzzReports detailing their WOM activities. As it turns out, the Radica Games out performed all other Bzz campaigns at the time. Now, Bzz can compare the cost of a campaign to the number of conversations that occurred to see how much each conversation cost. This is an interesting statistic, though its value is very little because Bzz has not been able to find a standard in which to base these results yet.

A large portion of our paper was dedicated to providing our own insight to what we think the company should have done differently with the campaign. This was a little difficult for us because we viewed the program as a success, as did Bzz and Radica. Our main recommendations were to apply the metrics and methods of measurement available presently to the campaign two years ago. We all felt that Bzz did a great job of running a successful campaign with all the resources they had available to them at the time and it is hard to make recommendations about a campaign when its main limitation was the time in which it ran. We did feel that the results could have been more valid if the campaign did not run during the toy industry's main season, the holidays. We had asked how much of the game's sales can be attributed to the campaign and this was difficult to answer because of the holiday season and the PR campaign that was running as well.

The main lesson we learned was that WOM is extremely powerful and though is gaining momentum as a form of marketing, is still a largely untapped resource. We have been told over and over in this course that WOM has a large pull on the marketplace, but the 600% sales increase that Radica Games saw during the campaign really can prove this point. -->


Sapphiregurl said...

Another thing that we learned is that it is important to keep in mind all demographics, not just the target market.
For example, Radica orginally was only going to target 16-24 year olds. However BzzAgent suggested that they also include mothers in their campaign since mothers would also be buying the product. By doing this, as mentioned in the post, Radica outperforomed expected outcomes simply by adding a small percentage of a different type of demographic. Who in turn helped to make the campaigh a very profitable one.

kenw said...

I am so jealous of Dave Balter. The BzzAgent model just goes to show how this seemingly rudimentary concept (WOM) has such amazing business potential. I am personally very inspired by the fact that the company has been so successful--and I love the concept. They have the ability to target any demographic a company seeks to market a product to--it's going to become an invaluable tool for a lot of companies as WOM meetrics are improved and the biz world begins to catch on.