For those into PR in Vermont, if you are not already a member of the Vermont Public Relations Google Group, you most certainly should be! Check it - http://groups.google.com/group/vtpr.
The group is informally headed by Claudia Renchy Morton, the Director of PR at Kelliher Samets Volk (KSV), which is one Vermont's leading full service marketing agencies.
Claudia has done a great job gathering PR professionals in Vermont and getting us together time and again for PR sharing and learning - something I could certainly use more of as meetings with my cats get a little uninspiring at times.
Most recently we enjoyed a luncheon meeting at KSV's retro lunch room and heard from the folks at Boston based company, Bzz Agent. Bzz Agent has created a corporate strategy for word-of-mouth marketing. Of course, unless you are Green Mountain Coffee Roasters or Seventh Generation, hiring Bzz Agent would be a bit out of the budget as the smallest contract is around $79,000 for six months. But, the client's for Bzz Agent are big companies, but that doesn't mean the ideas can't be put to use on a smaller, Green Mountain scale...
The concept is simple - people believe their friends and folks they chat with about products and activities way more than any form of advertising or public relations for that matter. So, Bzz Agent has thousands of volunteer "agents" who share info with the people they know - openly letting them know they are indeed a "bzz agent." This means - no sneakiness - yay!!
So, my Vermont business owner friends - you should do the same! Get a group of your supporters together, build that group through your networks, and get them to talk about you! Share with them - in a consistent way - the info you want to get out and ask them to help you spread the word with the people they communicate with! Provide them with the tools, wording, message, etc. and ask them to help share when appropriate! (this does not mean you ask them to spam people via email - that is NOT the point!)
I would also love to hear some success stories if you do indeed try this put - please share and happy bzzing!!!