Balter, Dave

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Balter, Dave

PERSONAL: Male. Education: Graduate of Skidmore College.

ADDRESSES: Office—BzzAgent, Inc., 273 Summer St., 4th Fl., Boston, MA 02210.

CAREER: Writer and marketing executive. Kessler Financial Services, direct marketing and affinity program implementations manager; Webb & Co., circulation and fulfillment operations analyst. Founder and operator of promotional marketing agencies. BzzAgent, Boston, MA, word-of-mouth marketing and media agency, founder and chief executive officer. Word-of-Mouth Marketing Association, founding member. Public speaker. Board of Advisors of Cos-micHat, LLC, member.

AWARDS, HONORS: Inclusion, "Top 40 under 40," Advertising Specialty Institute, 2001; named among top seven individuals changing the face of beauty, Women's Wear Daily, 2004.

WRITINGS:

(With John Butman) Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Portfolio (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Dave Balter is founder and chief executive officer of BzzAgent, a word-of-mouth marketing and media firm that allows consumers to experience new products and share their opinions. BzzAgent invites men and women who spread the word of a product in the old-fashioned way, by talking to other people about it. They identify themselves as representatives of BzzAgent, and thus there is no subterfuge in such a technique. In his 2005 book, Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, Balter worked with writer John Butman to present his theories on marketing.

Balter, who narrates the book in the first person, employs anecdotes of his years as operator of BzzAgent, as well as a fictionalized account of how his marketing technique works. This account presents Bardo, who is the intended customer for the new product, SparklyPerfect, which is to be introduced by the marketer, Annie. This fictional technique "spoils the effect" of Balter's emphasis on the "credibility" of word-of-mouth marketing, according to Booklist contributor Barbara Jacobs. Much better, as Jacobs further noted, would have been inclusion of actual case histories. A contributor for Publishers Weekly found the book "intriguing," but also "unconvincing." Observing that Balter's book "aspires to reorient current thinking on consumerism and social interaction," the Publishers Weekly contributor felt that it was also an extended advertisement for BzzAgent.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 1, 2005, Barbara Jacobs, review of Grapevine: The New Art of Word-of-Mouth Marketing, p. 8.

Publishers Weekly, September 19, 2005, review of Grapevine, p. 56.

ONLINE

BzzAgent, http://www.bzzagent.com (February 21, 2006), information on author.

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Balter, Dave

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