Campaign Quality

Posted by Dave Balter on October 13th, 2007 in

With the right people and the right process, word-of-mouth programs can be tremendously fun to sell.

What’s hard is identifying which programs are the right ones to sell, and how to help our sales team focus on selling them – and ignore everything else.

We’ve sold some pretty terrible programs over the years, mainly because we weren’t paying attention to the products that made sense for our system. Maybe it was a product that didn’t deliver on expectations. Or we weren’t able to create the right experience for Agents. There are a number of critical factors which go into creating a worthwhile program which is where the hidden complexity of our system lies.

In order to combat the issue, we’ve analyzed and identified a number of metrics that make for a “good” campaign. For one that creates reaction. Virality. Success.

For Agents. For Clients. For Us.

We call these ‘A’ Campaigns and set a goal this year to ensure at least 70% of our programs fit the criteria. ‘B’ campaigns have less likelihood of success, and ‘C’ campaigns…well, we should just stay away from those. Every other week, we track our ratios as part of our overall company dashboard.

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The team has been busting ass. Maybe you’ve gotten into an ‘A’ program recently? Grey Poupon, Wrigley’s 5, Pledge, Plantronics, Leap Frog’s Fly Fusion Pen, to name a few…And just wait till you see the mix we have in store for November.

What makes a campaign an ‘A’ for you?

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31 Responses to “Campaign Quality”

  1. nyssa11 says:

    Dave, this is a very interesting blog entry that really helps us Agents get into the heads of the Central Hive population and see how things work. Thanks for posting it!

    I think I and many of my fellow Agents look at campaigns in much the same way, only from the other side of the “sale.” When offered a new campaign, the first thing I look at is will it be a bzzable product for *me*. As we know, bzzing must come as naturally as possible when approaching a perspective bzzee. Thinking of ways and occassions to bzz when reading over campaign and product information is sort of like writing an outline of a report. If you can’t come up with a few ideas or scenarios right out of the gate, you’re going to have a tough time bzzing.

    If the product is something that I wouldn’t use myself, such as Wrigley’s 5 (I don’t chew gum) or Hornitos Tequila (I don’t drink), that’s a non-starter. Next I look at whether I would feel awkward approaching someone with the product as I felt I would with the Listerine Whitestrips. It would just be too personal a topic except to a very few close friends. Those I would classify as my personal “C” campaigns.

    The Power of Nice campaign was a “B” campaign for me. The book was fine as were the concepts in it, but it is more difficult to bring up a business-type book in everyday conversations. I did a fair amount of bzzing, but it usually took longer to get a person’s interest and keep it. The only thing that saved the campaign for me were those business cards with the smiley face. Congratulations to the CHer who came up with those for the BzzKit. They were real ice-breakers.

    My “A” campaigns are those like Grey Poupon and now Mrs. Dash. Both are excellent products from companies with good reputations. Plus there are so many places where bringing up food products are natural opening up all kinds of bzz potential with strangers or aquaintances. Other personal “A” campaigns would be for products that I’m just plain enthusiastic about, which would have covered the Plantronics campaign if I had been fast enough to get into it. I’m a techie, so anything new having to do with electronics or computer-oriented would get me bzzing like crazy. (Hint, hint) lol

    So this has been a long way of saying “I agree” or “me too.”

    I can’t wait to see the what the new campaigns are, and I hope that at least two of them qualify for my personal “A” score. Waiting for ‘em is almost as bad as waiting for Santa!

  2. Nattan says:

    What makes a campaign an “A” for me? Getting an invitation LOL. Reading that November will be incredible makes me eager to see what the campaigns are, and hopeful that I get invitations {hint, hint, wink, wink}

    Though getting invited does mean a lot {wink} an “A” campaign for me is one that provides a quality product and an ample amount of said product to know enough about it to bzz effectively. Case in point: the Listerine Whitening Strips. I am not part of this current campaign, but was part of the one that recently ended. Though I cannot comment on what other agents received, I myself only received a handful of strips to use personally, not a full size package. The strips, for me, were not enough to honestly comment on the whitening ability of the product. A key factor in bzzing whitening strips, in my opinion, is being able to comment honestly on the whitening — and I prefer not to do so based soley on hearsay or company claims. I ended up purchasing a box on my own, which I would have preferred not to do. I explained the expense away as being something I would have possibly used anyway, but to be honest if I was not part of the campaign I would have likely chosen a less expensive option. However I was part of the campaign and reasoned it could help me bzz more effectively {by being able to share the whitening experiences I personally had}. The campaign would have been an “A” had I been able to personally share the whitening effects without having to buy a full size box of strips on my own.

    The Fly Fusion is an incredible product, however I would put it in the A- or B category personally. Why? Simply because there was a surcharge to join the campaign. I am fully aware that the savings off of the retail price is substantial, however had I not been offered the campaign, I would not have purchased the item on my own, so I fee like I had to pay to bzz, which doesn’t make sense to me in hindsight. Though the product is great, and it is a breeze to bzz, I simply don’t feel it is an “A” in that it cost me to bzz it. {shrug}. I am aware that there are some agents selling their items and that is likely the reason as to why we were charged, yet I in a way feel as though we honest agents are having to pay for the transgressions of the dishonest minority. {sidenote, a surcharge to join a campaign to discourage selling of the items doesn’t make much sense to me. It simply seems to encourage the dishonest ones to increase their starting bid to make up for the money they initially put out {{shrug}, at least it doesn’t make sense to me} If it was infact bzzagent’s effort to dissuade dishonest agents from selling their kits, it didn’t work, because even here on the BeeLog I read of people commenting on the FLY being sold on eBay}

    Rewards are also a factor in rating a campaign as an A, B, or C. Part of the fun is having some reward for my efforts {I love bzzing, however I do not love it enough to spread the word and in theory add to the profit margin of a major corporation out of the goodness of my heart LOL}. Rewards, while not the sole reason to bzz of course, inspire one to get out there bzz and also give a feeling that our efforts are appreciated. I would like to add that though I am a fan of charity, seeing that the majority of rewards are for charitable donations is a bit discouraging. I am a giving person, however, after paying for an item either because enough was not in the kit (ie: my Listerine kit) or there was a surcharge to join (ie: FLY Fusion), bzzing whenever I can, and submitting what I feel are good reports with a lot of details providing bzz with good data for the companies, and seeing that the rewards are donating to assorted charities, I start to wonder, “Is bzz supposed to be a work of charity for me? First I pay to join {or pay to supplement what was not included in the kit} and then as a reward for m efforts I get to donate?” I am fully aware that I may be the only agent not looking to bzzagent as an outlet to express my charitable side, LOL, but I would like to see rewards that 1) don’t disappear after one day {how in the world are those peope getting their reports reviewed so quickly, by the way?} and 2) do not primarily entail donating my points.

    Overall, being invited, not having to pay out of pocket for items for which I am to bzz, receiving timely replies to questions and reviews for reports, and non-charitable or quickly disappearing rewards all contribute to making an A,B, or C campaign.

    I am glad I could offer my input {smiles}
    {and hoping said input doesn’t preclude me from the great campaigns coming up in November, LOL}

  3. ia2ca says:

    While I understand that some campaigns are A’s, B’s or C’s based on each individual agent, there are certainly some campaigns that are C’s no matter what. Although the allergy medicine campaign may have contained an excellent product, it’s not something you can test or provide samples of with any consistency. I, for one, declined it because I knew I would not be able to judge whether weather/allergy conditions would be favorable for me to Bzz it. The only thing I knew for certain is that I would not be able to provide the number of BzzEncounters that I like for a campaign. Had it been a BzzBlast, I might (big MIGHT) have put more consideration into selecting it. In my opinion, the only way a campaign that is seasonal and dependant on factors outside our control can be successful is for it to be a long campaign that doesn’t follow the typical rules. It’s a waste of energy for agents; provides little return on investment for the client and potentially damages some good will for BzzAgent. In other words, don’t pursue those kinds of campaigns… please.

    Now – To answer your question “What makes a campaign an “A” for you?” Personally, for a campaign to be successful for me, it needs to be layered – providing various options for Bzz. If it contains samples as opposed to just coupons, I am much more likely to be able to Bzz it. When we received our Ziploc Zip ‘n Steam BzzKits, I immediately opened “my” personal samples. I kept some with me whenever I felt I would have the opportunity to Bzz and I gave “my” samples away. Mostly friends, family or acquaintances that I saw on a regular basis got those so I could follow up for their actual opinion. I also had coupons with me and gave those to people whom I wasn’t sure I would see again. I had a more positive experience with people who actually received the sample as opposed to those who just received a coupon. I’m doing the same with the gum – giving samples from “my” packs to people who are trying it on the spot while giving the wrapped samples to people who want to try it later. When you have a client who is cross-promoting or doing a mass advertising blitz while the BzzCampaign is running makes it even easier. Case in point – both Ziploc and Listerine were offering free samples via Wal-Mart’s website. For family or friends that might be interested but where too far to receive my samples, I sent them the link for the Wal-Mart sample. The more tools available to us, the better. IMO, that is. Personally, I hate it when the coupon and sample are connected. It limits how many people I can talk to. I like being able to provide people the option of one thing or another. “Which flavor of ‘5’ would you like to try?” I wish the Mrs. Dash campaign had just given us a stack of each sample kind and an additional stack of coupons. Maybe even a third stack of recipe cards. I would feel guilty breaking up the prepackaged uber-samples that were provided in the BzzKit. I hated that Aveeno affixed the (very small) sample to the coupon card. I had so many people ask for another coupon because they threw away theirs when they used the sample. I had to explain that I just didn’t have that many coupons, “Sorry.” One of my magazines had an Aveeno card/sample in it and I even tore it out to use as an additional handout. Heaven forbid that our kit arrive sans coupons (like my Coppertone kit) and the CH not manage to ship out replacements. My Coppertone Quality Totals were much lower than my average as a result. Maybe campaigns could be more successful if we had the option to request additional coupons or samples. You could easily send additional coupons out after someone had submitted enough BzzReports to justify that they were out of samples/coupons.
    *Samples – lots of them (separate from the coupons, please)
    *Coupons – with the option to possibly request more
    *Personal Supply – To adequately test/try the product ourselves.
    *Cross marketing notifications – “Watch for samples in this month’s ABC Magazine” or “Send a BzzTarget to StartSampling.com or WalMart.com for additional samples”

    I think I’ve said more than an earful. Thanks for reading! Totally looking forward to all the great November campaigns you have in store for us!

  4. Melissa says:

    An A Campaign for me is one that is viably stimulating not just to stir excitement among agents, but those who we bzz. It could be a campaign that others don’t like but I might, and then I go at it with gusto and in doing that I find I have piqued some interest for potential buyers. An A campaign is one I believe in and know it will have more than a smidgen of success, like the recent Mrs. Dash campaign.

    An A campaign appeals more than just to the general public, it is one that any bracket of people regardless of income or status in life could benefit from. It is one that could almost sell itself, but just needs a small voice to help it along.

    Also as an agent who still resides in tier one, I believe an A campaign is one that touches all the levels of tiers and thus allows the newer ones or less frequent agents the ability and availability to establish excitement and more creative ways in bzzing.

  5. Nattan says:

    I wish I had a seasonal campaign, especially the allergy medicine campaign ia2ca mentioned. In my area, allergy season hits with a vengeance each and every year {often year round}. Plus, with so many people having year round allergies, it would have plenty of opportunities to be bzzed regardless of the seasonal allergy levels in any given area {in my situation, I understand that isn’t the case for everyone as ia2ca pointed out.}

    I have to ask regarding a point that stuck out for me: quoting the above post:
    [I]It’s a waste of energy for agents; provides little return on investment for the client and potentially damages some good will for BzzAgent[/I]

    As an agent, I don’t feel that any campaign I have been offered or bzz is a waste of time. Each situation provides some amount of feedback, and I personally feel that all feedback is useful {even someone saying “I hate it” can offer a great deal of feedback if the agent gives a lot of details about the situation, the type of person who was bzzed, facial expressions,anything else that was said before and after that not so helpful comment, etc.}. I also don’t see a campaign damaging any good will on the behalf of an agent unless s/he received horrendous reviews from BzzAgent regarding their bzzing efforts.

    As for the “return on investment for the client,” I have to ask {hopefully BzzAgent will answer, though I have noticed they do not seem to either read the questions posed within the blog, or just don’t feel like sharing, LOL} just what that return is expected to be? They are paying to get word of mouth advertising and feedback, are they not? As long as they receive that, they are getting what they paid for. Or, are they expecting to see a surge in sales? A set amount of bzz reports? A predetermined amount of wom?

    The cross marketing notifications is a wonderful idea that I wish bzz would implement {thanks for bringing it up, ia2ca, it’s a great idea} For example, I have the FLY Fusion campaign, and most of the people I bzz note it’s high price tag of the FLY as well as the notebooks, etc. I stumbled across and instant win game for which the main prize is a FLY Fusion {they are giving a considerable amount away, actually} I started mentioning the chance to win a FLY Fusion by visiting the instant win website, and interest really picked up! People who thought it was a wonderful item but who cannot afford the hefty price tag are thrilled to have a chance to win something they cannot otherwise afford {but would love to have!} Had bzz shared this with agents, I am sure others could have used that as a supplement to their bzz, and I could have bzzed that angle earlier {apologies if Bzz did share that and I missed it, however I sincerely recall no mention of the promotion prior to my finding it myself}.

  6. ia2ca says:

    Nattan – I agree with your points but want to clarify what I was specifically referring to. I wasn’t referencing a product that agents or BzzTargets disliked, I was referring to offering something untimely. Kind of like if they had offered “Off” during the winter months. While you explained well about the allergy medicine being a great campaign year-round for some people, I thought allergy medicines targeted seasonal allergies and the campaign didn’t coincide with that (in my opinion.) I agree that even negative feedback is useful and agree with your other points as well. My references to waste of time, ROI and ill will for BzzAgent were directed specifically toward a product that we were not able to Bzz. Hope that helps it make more sense (for you and for the CH).

    As for the Fly campaign – I’m not in it as I don’t have kids in the targeted age. But I was aware of the campaign when we purchased a box of cereal (I believe Cap’n Crunch) with a Fly Fusion advertisement on it. (Yes, a contest thing.) I quickly made mention of it on the BzzAgent thread on my freebie board so agents could use it as a Bzz tool also. When I’m in a campaign, I use any and all resources I can to stir the honey.

    Thanks for your well-written defense to my post. :)

  7. Jennifer says:

    An A campaign to me is one that I can honestly bzz. Almost all of the campaigns that I have fortunatly been involved in have started the bzz themselves. For example I bring a product to work and I am either asked about it or someone will say “Hey I know that product”andit’s off from there. I have also noticed that everyone of the campaigns that I have bzzed are not expensive. I mean anyone can afford them. I am not showing my friends and family things that they could never dream of owning.

  8. Keith says:

    Holy cow, this is some awesomely detailed and informative feedback! So far, feedback seems to shine a light on just how personal BzzCampaigns are. Not speaking for anyone else here at the Hive, I tend to first think of campaigns as appealing to broad, generalized segments of people (like year round allergy sufferers) and then specific people (my friend Miguel). This is a great reminder for me to remember that everything is relative.

    ia2ca, for instance, didn’t think the allergy medication campaign was entirely appropriate, yet I was just thinking how I’d Bzz like crazy if we ran another campaign for it now since I’ve started using Claritin to prevent cat allergies. Just got a kitten (girlfriend found one on the street), and Claritin has been a lifesaver. It’s cool getting to actually, you know, live in my apartment. =) Maybe it’s about relevancy in the moment, not just in general – because I definitely wouldn’t have been particularly interested before the cat, since I only get allergies a few days a year in the spring or summer.

    Nattan, you raise an interesting point about there being a fee to join the FLY Fusion campaign. It wasn’t something you would have purchased anyway, so why buy it at a reduced price to participate in the campaign. Maybe it’s not the idea of a pay to participate campaign that you disagree with, necessarily. Maybe it just needs to be the right product – one that’s relevant to you? I mean, I wouldn’t be interested in the fly fusion campaign either since I’m not a student nor do I know any students who’d find it useful. But I’d love an HD LCD tv campaign, even if I had to pay a discounted price to participate. Apologies if I’m assuming too much – I’m just curious if there’s something that you would be interested in paying a small fee to Bzz about.

  9. Nattan says:

    It wasn’t something you would have purchased anyway, so why buy it at a reduced price to participate in the campaign. Maybe it’s not the idea of a pay to participate campaign that you disagree with, necessarily.

    ******

    I bought it at the reduced price to both participate and mostly to have the FLY for my son. No, I would not have went out and paid $79.99 for it along with the $8-ish per notebook and the subscription, however with the surcharge it was more inline with what I was willing to pay to try it out. I didn’t join just to participate {I am not that desperate to feel included, LOL} and it isn’t a campaign that I ‘disagree’ with or that I have no interest in. However, I would not have gone out and bought it if it wasn’t offered at a reduced price via the campaign.

    Sorry I didn’t convey my point very well {shrug}

  10. nyssa11 says:

    Nice go get the feedback on our feedback, Keith.

    To answer your question about a small fee for a product to be bzzed, I would have no problem paying a *small* fee in order to get a product, especially if it is something I’ve been wishing for, have an existing need for, or is an especially nifty bleeding edge whizbang of a product. Small being the operative word. Either a very deep discount or a shipping fee on something large such as the HD TV you used as an example. A very, very good example I might add, and something I’d be all over in a nanosecond!

    I was offered the FLY Fusion campaign as a Golden Key, but passed on it, not because of the fee, but because I don’t have a lot of contact with children in the target age group and the gadget itself was incompatible with my operating system. It looked like a good deal to me otherwise, and I’m happy for all of the Agents who managed to get into that campaign and could put it to good use both bzzing and for their kids’ benefit.

  11. Keith says:

    Nattan – thanks for the clarification! I think you conveyed your point well, I just didn’t understand things on my end. No surprise, there, seeing as how I’d just eaten a giant box of chicken, fries and biscuits from Popeyes… can you say food coma? =) I don’t think what I was trying to say/ask was clear, actually. Either that, or I wasn’t asking the question that I really wanted to ask: would a pay to participate campaign be an A campaign to you if it were for something that you WOULD want to go out and buy at full price? The idea of a pay to participate campaign is a new thing for us since this is only the second time we’ve done it, and I (as well as many others, I’m sure!) are curious about how Agents feel about them. When confronted with a fee to join a campaign, I’m guessing Agents will fall into one of four groups:

    1) they already were interested in the product (or would have been if they’d known about it beforehand) and a reduced price is just a bonus since they would have strongly considered purchasing at full price on their own anyway;
    2) they were on the fence and the idea of a significant discount convinces them to give it a go;
    3) they were on the fence and the idea of having to pay anything is still a barrier;
    4) they aren’t interested in the product – or having to pay a fee at all

    That’s certainly not an expert opinion, which is why I was hoping to get some real-world feedback from you, an enthusiastic and honest Agent.

    nyssa11, thanks for the additional feedback! I agree that small is the operative – and rather subjective – word. Does small mean how close it is to zero, or how much of a percentage off it is from the actual general public price point? Continuing the HD TV example, we’d probably be hard pressed to find a company who could afford to offer flat panel high def TVs for twenty dollars, but what about a company that could offer Agents TVs for $300, 70% off a 1k pricetag? $300 is a lot of sandwiches for sure, but a 37″ flat panel high def TV for $300 is a pretty sweet deal!

    Hahahaha, I’m guessing it’s pretty obvious that I’m considering upgrading to a high def LCD TV. I’ve been doing a lot of online research, but nyssa11 if you (or anyone else for that matter) have any recommendations, well I think it’s obvious I’m open to word of mouth. =)

  12. Karen says:

    Interesting thoughts. Well, I think that A,B, and C grading is a great idea, but as clearly shown here, everyone has a different idea as to how to grade. Personally, the campaign I’d rate lowest was the Al Fresco Sausage, which we were provided coupons for, but couldn’t find in the stores.

    If the campaign is seasonal we should have the whole season to work on it. I was in the Off! campaign and I loved the product, but didn’t get to use it as much as I normally would have because of a drought. (No rain, no mosquitos.) If the campaign had run a few weeks longer, I would have reported on sending it to camp with my kids. So, I’d give that one a B.

    I also love the FLY Fusion, though I would have preferred getting it for free. I would never have paid full price for this, and many people I bzz will not be able to afford it. On the other hand, if BzzAgent hadn’t offered it to me at the reduced price, I wouldn’t have it at all, and my kids currently think I’m the coolest mom ever for getting it. What made it work for me as a campaign is that the product works for me as a product. I wouldn’t have bought it, that’s true. But I would have used it. I have kids the right age, a teacher husband, and I love new tech. It fits my life. So an A-, only because of the surcharge.

    I’ve also turned down opportunities for campaigns. I turned down Mrs. Dash and the Grey Poupon campaigns because I have food allergies to some of the ingredients. So those are automatic C campaigns. And I turned down the gum campaign because it would require me to use a golden key. I like gum, but I didn’t know if I wanted to give up my chance for another campaign for it.

    TV Guide was a perfect fit because I have to get weekly allergy shots. Waiting rooms are better with magazines. They just are. So an easy A for that one.

    Listerine was a B for me. I loved the product, and I didn’t feel odd talking about it. But I agree that there weren’t enough strips for me to really try them out without using the give-away samples or buying more. The product was a good fit to my life, the BzzKit needed work.

    What would I look for in the future? Well, I have four kids. The products I use with them are easy to talk about because people ask my opinion about kid related things, and because my kids talk about the products as well. In most of my FLY bzz my kids were chiming in with details, or even bzzing on their own. Also, parents spend a lot of time together waiting for their kids. We wait to pick them up at school, at the Dr’s office, at sporting events, etc. So those become great times to Bzz. Even product that aren’t kid products but go hand in hand with having kids would be nice. For example, I take a lot of pictures of my kids. I print a lot of pictures of my kids. Cameras, printers, photo paper, and even ink — they don’t seem kid related, but my kids drive my use of them.

    I also love tech stuff. I’d bet most BzzAgents do, since we all came to this via the net. Maybe a nice video camera so we could make those video reports? Or a new cell phone with video capabilities? I wouldn’t spend a lot for a premium item because I don’t have a lot to spend, but I’d be willing to kick in a little for a better product.

    What I’d avoid? Food, because of my allergies. Products I wouldn’t normally use, like the book Power of Nice. It looks OK, but it’s not something I’d read for fun and since I’m a stay at home mom, not something I’d get much chance to Bzz. And I’d stay away from items that I can’t honestly support. It’s not that I think that I can’t tell someone that I hate a product and submit a report about that. It’s just that it’s not fun to talk about what you hate, and I do this for fun as much as for any other reason.

    Finally, about the rewards. Charities are OK, though if I was to pick a charity it would be Heifer International or UNICEF. And if the points buy a donation, I’d like to be able to print a card that says I made a donation in someone’s name. I’ve given charitable donations as gifts in the past and the people I gave them to loved them. I’d do it again, but I’d like a card to give the recipient. I also would like more rewards that weren’t charities. I’ve only gotten a few rewards, and I love the ones I got. I’ve been saving up points hoping something good will come along. Since Christmas is around the corner, I’m counting on you guys to find some good Santa stuff for me!

  13. nyssa11 says:

    Keith, to answer your specific question, yes, I’d go for your hypothetical HD TV at that type of a discount. Ditto on something like a laptop. The $300 you used as an example price would be about my *maximum* outlay I’d consider too.

    It would be a big hit on my budget and take some shuffling to cover it, but for a really good deal on something I need/want and have a continuing use for, I’d be all over it. PB&J for a few months vs. a new supergadget? I’d vote for the sacrifice.

    And a WOM to pass along: I’ve heard good things about the Sharp LCD HDTV, specifically the 26 inch model, but I would imagine the larger ones would be comparable. Some friends are happy with another brand they recently bought for their new home, but I can’t remember off hand which brand or model. I’ll check with them and email you the info off-blog.

  14. Nattan says:

    would a pay to participate campaign be an A campaign to you if it were for something that you WOULD want to go out and buy at full price? The idea of a pay to participate campaign is a new thing for us since this is only the second time we’ve done it, and I (as well as many others, I’m sure!) are curious about how Agents feel about them. When confronted with a fee to join a campaign, I’m guessing Agents will fall into one of four groups:

    1) they already were interested in the product (or would have been if they’d known about it beforehand) and a reduced price is just a bonus since they would have strongly considered purchasing at full price on their own anyway;
    2) they were on the fence and the idea of a significant discount convinces them to give it a go;
    3) they were on the fence and the idea of having to pay anything is still a barrier;
    4) they aren’t interested in the product – or having to pay a fee at all

    ******************

    To be honest, I would prefer not to pay to join a campaign, but yes, a campaign that I had to pay to join could certainly be an A campaign if it was for an item that I was considering buying at full price. In that situation, I would probably rate it an A if it was a significant savings and I really wanted the item and could afford the surcharge.

    Along that thinking: though I probably wouldn’t mind a surcharge on a bigger ticket item I was looking to purchase anyway, I would certainly not consider a surcharge on a campaign such as Barilla {wink}. If BzzAgent were to impose a surcharge on the smaller items, I would not choose to participate regardless of the discount, because then I would be inclined to think Bzz was losing it’s mind {grin} and I could most likely get the item on my own at a lesser price if I were to find a sale and use a coupon {which is my usual grocery/sundry purchase practice}. Too, if Bzz were to impose a surcharge on the majority of its campaigns, I would probably not have the same opinion.

    I would echo nyssa11′s comments and say that there is a limit to what I would be willing to pay. I am not sure as to the demographics of your other agents, but I am a stay-at-home mom {making us a single income family} and though I myself may be willing to make a sacrifice for an item, being a mom I have a husband and child’s wants/needs to put before mine {we would most certainly have a rebellion if I were to try and pass of pb&j for any length of time LOL}. Of course that price point cap would vary as to the item, but I would say in general 25% or less {Stress the ‘less’ please, LOL} of the average selling price would be my cap. Why? Because any savings less than that can be possibly found elsewhere {sales, using coupons, waiting until the price naturally drops after time, etc} and to be frank, I do not turn to Bzz as a shopping source. If Bzz were to impose a surcharge on the majority of the campaigns there would be a considerable amount I would not choose, whether I wanted them or not, simply because my budget would not allow it {I enjoy bzzing a great deal, however I do not love it enough to incur debt lol} .

  15. migirlfriday says:

    I agree with pretty much everything ia2ca said.

    An “A” campaign to me is something that is used often enough to come up in conversation. Which of course will be different for different people. Aquapod bzz came easy as well as the 5 gum and pretty much all of the food related campaigns.

    I also want to point out that my bzz keeps happening long after the campaign has ended. Just because I can’t submit a report anymore doesn’t mean that I am not going to recommend a product that I like. I am sure other agents have mentioned that as well in the past. So, just because I submit only 5 reports on a campaign, that does not mean it is a “B” or “C” campaign, it only means that I did not find the opportunity as often as maybe a different campaign where I might have submitted 15 reports. I guess what I mean is don’t judge that a campaign is an “A” just because there were more than the normal amount of reports submitted.

    One thought about the cross marketing. I didn’t see anything above yet from an employee of bzzagent, but I am sure there may be some legal reasons that more cross marketing is not used. Is that true? Would you have to have permission from a website (other than the product mfg or supplier) if say, they were having a contest that happened to coincide with a campaign?

    Last thought, if we are going to have campaigns where you need to pay shipping or a surcharge, can you offer other methods of payment as some of us do not have credit cards.

  16. ia2ca says:

    Keith – To get the important stuff out of the way first. We have a Samsung DLP and love it. Hubby recommends if you’re serious about getting an LCD, wait 6-9 months until the LED LCD TVs start to become more prevalent and come down in price. He also suggested you check out the LCD DLPs. Hope that helps in your pursuit.
    Now, for the BzzAgent stuff. :) First, (since BzzAgent has this transparency thing going) I’m interested in hearing the initial reason for adding the fee in the first place. Was it an attempt to dissuade the people who were in it for the free product but not the WOM efforts? Was it because some clients felt putting their product on the market at no charge devalued it? Maybe that putting (high value) free products out there wouldn’t provide genuine positive Bzz? Is it strictly an economic thing for some clients? Maybe that BzzAgent is trying to plan for future sales efforts for attracting more/new clients with a higher valued product? Just curious what you could share because I believe the underlying reasoning matters and might make it easier for an Agent to swallow a fee.
    Aside from that, here are some thoughts: You can’t put it into 4 categories because you’ve left out the fact that some people will pay any vastly discounted price (without interest in the actual campaign) because they can resell it for more. As others have mentioned, for some it’s a budget thing. Any campaign starting BEFORE Christmas that has a buy-in cost is going to be snatched up as Christmas gifts. Any campaign started AFTER Christmas is going to be impacted by the post-Christmas/OMG Credit card/budget frenzy. You may have perfectly good agents who could Bzz it like crazy (and genuinely have a need for it) but find it cost prohibitive.
    When hubby and I were chatting about it, we decided that it isn’t about a one price for all kind of thing. You really need to develop some formulas where different people pay different prices. Now, before everyone goes haywire on that, let me finish. If it is spelled out LOUD AND CLEAR ahead of any mention of the campaign, then people will know that it’s coming and not taken back by it. For example, I may have to pay $20 for the Fly Fusion while someone else is only paying $10. I’ll be disappointed, but know that it’s all just about a formula and not about who BzzAgent favors. The formula would need to have many factors – Not just what Tier you are, either. It would need to be that people who have been steady BzzAgents for (x) years and have completed (x) campaigns with a quality score of at least (x) and are Tier (x). The Agents who meet the strictest standards for the formula pay (example) nothing for the product. The next ‘batch’ of qualifiers pay 5-10% of wholesale/retail, the next 20% and so on. People who JUST joined BzzAgent, most likely because of an uber campaign product would pay 50% of the retail value. This would reward the people who not only regularly participate, but also who provide quality participation. I don’t know if I conveyed that well, but I just want to show that you can find some alternative ways to achieve the same goal.
    One last thing to pursue – as mentioned several times in “Putting Money Where our Mouth Is” on June 15th(http://blog.bzzagent.com/?p=249) – I would entertain the idea of ‘spending’ my BzzPoints to buy into a campaign.
    migirlfriday – Amen on the idea that some Bzzing goes on long after – I’m STILL Bzzing Fantastik OxyPower (A campaign from 2005 that I only submitted 3 reports on!)

  17. ia2ca says:

    Oops – forgot to correct my typo:
    “He also suggested you check out the LCD DLPs. Hope that helps in your pursuit.” should have been LED DLPs. :)

  18. Nattan says:

    In my opinion {for what it’s worth, which may not be much, LOL} if Bzz charged different people different prices, I think you would have a lot of upset Agents across the board. Just because someone may be tier 4 doesn’t make them better than a tier 1 agent who just doesn’t have the time to dedicate to bzzing non-stop. If bzz started treating agents differently {more so than now with the different tiers} I could really see a lot of Agents being upset, and could see ia2ca’s previous comments about disheartened agents would be a reality, LOL. {a big time reality} Is there really a need to make some complicated formula? It seems to me as though the hive has enough to do {has anyone noticed how long it takes for reports to be reviewed?} without developing some program to charge agetns different amounts. If such a program was implemented, I can say without hesitation, I would NOT pay any amount for any campaign regardless of the item or price {out of principle}.

    Like ia2ca, I would love to know what the reasoning behind BzzAgent starting the surcharge is. I think that would be an interesting thing to know, and may possibly impact willingness to pay it {ie: companies being unwilling to offer the items for free).

  19. Keith says:

    To Nattan and anyone else who is wondering why Agents had to pay a small fee to participate in the FLY Fusion campaign (and why it may happen for other campaigns):

    That’s a really good and fair question. We explained why during the campaign join process and (I think) on the campaign homepage, but perhaps we didn’t make the explanations conspicuous enough?

    Basically, the client wouldn’t have been able to afford to completely give away the FLY Fusions, since they’re expensive to build. As you can imagine, all the research, materials, technology and assembly adds up in cost. Obviously, we’d love to provide a free way to experience the product/service everytime, but sometimes that’s just not possible. So rather than turn our backs on what we thought would be a very relevant, enjoyable and Bzz-worthy campaign, we wanted to give Agents the option of at least seeing if they’d want to pay a small fee to participate. Neither we nor the client made a profit on the $22.50 fee to join the campaign. The small fee helped recover some of the product costs for the client, as well as cover extra fees incurred by us here at BzzAgent (handling, taxes, etc.).

    As always, Agents were free to decide for themselves if they wanted to join the campaign. Our thinking was: people who joined got to participate in a (hopefully) fun campaign for an interesting product. A campaign they wouldn’t have had the chance to participate in otherwise. And people who didn’t want to join, for whatever reason(s), could simply decide it wasn’t for them and go on their merry way.

    I hope that helps explains why that campaign required a small fee to participate! It’s also good to know that even though you joined the campaign that you missed the explanation as to WHY there was a fee. If we run this type of campaign again, we’ll need to make sure the explanation is more noticeable. =)

  20. Nattan says:

    Thanks for the explanation :) I guess it was hidden in plain site, LOL {which wouldn’t surprise me, lol, it wouldn’t be the first thing I didn’t see that was right infront of me :) }

  21. Karen says:

    If the charge for joining a campaign has to do with defraying the cost to the company, then it wouldn’t work to charge agents based on a formula. For example, if LeapFrog said that they could only offer the FLY pen for $22.50 instead of free, then BzzAgent would need to charge $22.50 to all agents, not free to some, $8 to others, and $36 to another group. If they did that, there may not be enough of the $36 group sign up to cover the costs of the free or $8 group. I paid to join that campaign, and I didn’t resent it because I was free to turn it down. But I don’t know how many campaigns of that type I’d be interested in because in general Bzz products are new products, and I would hesitate to use my meager discretionary budget on a product that I wasn’t sure I’d love.

  22. Karen says:

    Oops, I forgot to add that I wouldn’t trade BzzPoints for campaigns. If they’re supposed to be my reward, then I want them as a reward. I like Bzzing, but doing the reports is time consuming and I’d like to get some sort of recognition for that besides more work.

  23. Melissa says:

    I agree Karen, I use my bzz points to make donations to the cancer society or other causes of my choosing. Being on a limited budget myself I use those points to contribute to what I wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

    My thought is on paying a small fee to join a campaign, if one was offered and it was something my friends or acquaintances would benefit from and something they would be interested in I would pay the fee as long as it wasn’t to big of a fee. With the cost of packaging and shipping to get these products out, I could understand the need for that.

    As far as the pen goes though, it seems like with the added WOM promoting going on that would increase sales and then would alleviate the loss of money by letting Bzzagent promote their product. Especially is this so around the holiday time which we are now entering into.

    I wonder with this what kind of campaigns will be going on with the Holidays approaching?

  24. nnnn says:

    clearly there should be a word limit on responses.

  25. Keith says:

    Love the way you think regarding using BzzPoints to make donations, Melissa. =)

  26. Susan says:

    I’d say ANY one that I get to participate in that involves an actual product. Years ago, I got to do several (Q2 comes to mind as a really fun one). For some reason, in a couple of years I haven’t been offered a single campaign. I don’t know why I’m suddenly so un-campaign-worthy!

  27. I’m upset because the Back to Nature Nuts and Trail Mix message wouldn’t allow me to leave a message saying I had to submit a report first, well I did, in fact possibly two reports. I just wanted to let everyone know how wonderful the main Back to Nature Nuts and Trail Mix website was and that it was filled with information which would be useful for all agents to read!
    Barbie
    wtr27513
    PS: and an upset Bzz Agent at this point and time, but I’ll get over it!

  28. My dearly departed Mother who was a Physician said if you are going to do something as a job or doing so free of charge (as we Bzz Agents do), always give it 100% and make sure you always like and enjoy what you are doing that way you are naurally going to give it your best and do a good job. So where is she while I’ve been in this 24/7 two years of constant pain and constant prescription pain medication. She’s probably watching all the fun I am having as a Bzz Agent and also while I’m online doing my Bzz Agent business I can almost forget about my pain! We (BzzAgent.com) had better never go out of business! I still have my police revolver from when I spent nearly 24 years with the State Police and I would be very upset if we went out of business! ….and in more pain too! So, who would I use the gun on? I recall threatening to use it on Chuch Norris when he got my 17 year old son drunk at our Country Club at his High School celebration dinner!!!!!!! …and I was serious a bullet is faster than his karate kick in real time but not on TV!

  29. We’ve have had a few decent campaigns but nothing in the way of decent and or enough rewards to go with them
    Barbie

  30. NYKaren says:

    Nothing in the way of decent rewards?? We’ve seen your list, Barbie. You’ve gotten a ton of nice rewards. And the problem is being fixed with a revamped system, or didn’t you read that?

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