When Dave Neupert founded the word-of-mouth marketing firm M80 in 1998, he had a tough time selling his idea to music and television executives. His pitch was simple: For a fee, he would find superfans â€” people who already loved a company's shows or musicians â€” and train them how to woo new consumers via the Internet.
Neupert's idea ran counter to conventional "buzz marketing," which reaches out to people who have lots of diverse friends â€” newspaper columnists, for example, or early adopters of new technologies â€” to spread the word. Neupert believed that authentic enthusiasm would be more effective. So he set out to teach superfans how to sell. (LOS ANGELES TIMES)