NEWS20 August 2009

Trendsta hopes to make waves with WOM/MR fusion

North America

US— How do you sell to a generation of kids that have mastered the art of tuning out marketing messages? Newly-launched agency Trendsta has come up with a way that fuses word-of-mouth marketing, buzz tracking and consumer research.

The process starts with the recruitment of teen trendspotters, explains co-founder Becki Heller. The sign-up process allows the firm a peek inside the potential recruits’ social network to see the number of friends they have, what their interests are and their general interactions with their community.

All this information helps build a profile of the budding ‘trendsta’, and if they qualify to take part, these profiles are then used to help companies select the right people to sample their products or services.

Product in hand, the recruit is encouraged to write a review and share it with their social network. Sentiment analysis is carried out on the review, says Heller, and the firm then tracks mentions of the brand, product or service throughout the trendsta’s network to see how buzz spreads.

While the information the company collects can already be used to help companies understand what works and what doesn’t in pitching products at particular teen segments, Heller says Trendsta eventually hopes to add a back-end to its website where clients can log in and run their own queries to generate their own data on how their brands are performing, and how they rank against competitors.

The business was launched two months ago by Heller, CFO Matthew Myers and coder Burak Kanber with support from early-stage investment firm DreamIt Ventures, and the company is now meeting with other venture capitalists to discuss a new funding round.