Undercover marketing (also known as buzz marketing, stealth marketing, or by its detractors roach baiting) is a subset of guerrilla marketing where consumers do not realize theyare being marketed to. For example, a marketing company might pay an actor or socially adept person to use a certain product visibly and convincingly in locations where target consumers congregate.While there, the actor will also talk up their product to people they befriend in that location, even handing out samples if it is economically feasible. The actor will often be able to sell consumerson their product without those consumers even realizing that they are being marketed to.
Reasons for undercover marketing
An undercover campaign which aims to generate buzz, is economical, andonce sufficient buzz has been generated, is almost free, as consumers "market" the product to others, through a network of referrals which grows and grows. Buzz campaigns can reach consumers isolatedfrom all other media, and unlike conventional media, consumers tend to trust it. Marketers find it very hard to predict buzz let alone generate it on demand. However,when it works, undercover marketing does exactly that: an ideal consumer from the example above will not only begin using that product themselves, but will also tell their friends about it, inciting aplanned viral marketing campaign that looks spontaneous. Financial risk here is relatively small because such marketing approach requires fewer expenses and is usually more cost-effective as well.Undercover marketing is used when traditional marketing techniques have been exhausted and investors are looking for a new effective solution for their marketing needs.
It is theconsumer's sense that this recommendation was spontaneous and unsolicited, and the resulting feeling that "one good turn deserves another", that drives the buzz. So, the "bought and paid for" aspect of...