Seeding trials and how that process creates customer evangelism is something that I found to be very similar to our group project. We are evaluating a campaign done by BzzAgent, which is a word-of-mouth marketing company that prides itself on assembling opinion leaders. BzzAgent is quick to prove how these opinion leaders have a positive impact on the further sale of the brand. BzzAgent develops strong marketing relationships with them in order to seed products. This product seeding is done much like the cases looked at in Marsden’s article, such as asking for feedback on the product or suggestions for change. I don’t want to give too much away, but they also go to great lengths to weed out who they call “pests” or people who are not customer evangelists, but rather people looking to get in on a free deal.
It’s astounding to me how many people product seeding can reach through consumer generated media in comparison to the number of people companies affect through the traditional method of study (not to mention the huge budgets and amount of time spent.) The idea Marsden presents that the more traditional market research techniques are a whole lot of research and not a lot of marketing may be shortsighted. Although the initial phases are solely focused on the research, market researchers spend their time analyzing trends from that research and creating marketing efforts around those trends. I would argue that seeding trials is a more advanced form of market research in that is has the capability to span over many more people, is more pervasive in segments where the product is popular (or unpopular) and does so in a faster and more efficient way.
Seed to spread: how seeding trials ignite epidemics of demand. Marsden. 2006. Pages 3-23.
Tags: WOM word of mouth Word-of-Mouth Marketing buzz marketing viral marketing marketing communication Northeastern University