OPI Nic's Sticks. To launch OPI Nic's Sticks -- a clever packaging idea that puts fast-drying nail polish in a pen that's perfect for your purse -- the manufacturer hired the firm SheSpeaks to drum up excitement. SheSpeaks sent the product to 9,000 of its women members, asking them to try it and share coupons with friends.
The results: SheSpeaks says 120,000 Nic's Sticks were sold based on the campaign, which is more than 13 times the original giveaway. As further proof of the program's success, SheSpeaks says the redemption rate for the coupons distributed by its marketers was 300 percent greater than the rate of redemptions for the same $1-off coupon inserted in magazines.
Venus Breeze. The firm VocalPoint, which is owned by Procter & Gamble, but creates campaigns for non-P&G product launches as well, sent new razors and six coupons to a whopping 450,000 moms in select markets around the country. In three months, VocalPoint says trial rates doubled in markets where this campaign took place, compared to markets where it didn't.
The coupons were redeemed at more than twice the rate of those in the newspapers, which marketers say speaks directly to the power of word-of-mouth marketing. Even though many women aren't quick to alter their method of shaving, plenty of them acted on the advice of a friend when told this new razor would provide soft skin without using lotion or shaving cream.
Click here for a list of buzz agencies where you can register today to get involved in their word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. You'll be prompted to complete a detailed profile on your areas of interest. This enables a company to decide which campaigns would be best suited for you.
If you don't like pets, you're not going to get dog food in the mail. If you love music, movies, make-up, etc., then you're likely to be included in such programs. Each of these companies runs anywhere from 10 to 20 campaigns a year, some nationwide, some limited by geography.
There are also companies that will reward you for completing opinion-based surveys -- sometimes for prizes, other times even for cash, which is minimal. The more comprehensive the survey, the greater the compensation. Online surveys that take minutes to complete may only pay a dollar or two; surveys that require you to respond over a month may pay up to $100.
You won't get rich, but you might end up with $1,000 or more in freebies in the course of a year, and the chance to influence the marketing and purchasing patterns of some of the biggest brands in the country.
Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America," and the CEO of Women For Hire. Connect with her at www.womenforhire.com.