Brand buzz using consumer advocates

Posted by Oliver Koll on Apr 26, 2019

Using everyday consumers to create online buzz for brands and products is common practice in the FMCG industry. Such customer advocates (or seed agents) have often gathered a community of 10,000 people or more who follow their word-of-mouth (WOM). Despite the hype, it is still unclear how seeded marketing campaigns (SMC) perform and how they interact with the traditional marketing mix. A recent study investigates SMCs for brands in three categories in three European countries and reports the following:

  • Overall, SMCs have an impact and are able to raise sales from 3-18% over the course of the campaign.
  • SMCs are less effective when combined with traditional advertising (TV, print and digital advertising).
  • In contrast, SMCs align well with promotional activities. Increasing sales promotions by 1% leads to an increase of 0.3% to 1.1% in WOM effects.

Therefore SMCs can be an effective communication strategy, especially to reach consumers that react less to traditional campaigns. However, marketing managers should refrain from coupling SMCs too strongly with their advertising activities. It is wiser to look for synergies with promotional activities.

Source: Dost, F., Phieler, U., Haenlein, M., & Libai, B. (2019). Seeding as Part of the Marketing Mix: Word-of-Mouth Program Interactions for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods. Journal of Marketing, 83(2), 62-81.