Dunnhumby acquisition 'joins the dots' between marketing and social mediaby
Tesco subsidiary Dunnhumby has acquired social marketing company BzzAgent for a reported $60 million in a bid to "join the dots" between shopper marketing and social media.
BzzAgent will become a subsidiary of Dunnhumby and operate as a standalone business, with Dave Balter, its current founder and chief executive, remaining at the helm. Balter will join the Dunnhumby executive team and report into Simon Hay, its chief executive.
Hay said that customers were now as influential as marketing gurus were a decade ago and that social media and word-of-mouth were becoming increasingly important channels for brands and retailers.
"Not only does BzzAgent leverage a base of 800,000 influential customers in the word-of-mouth space, it is focused on measuring return on investment and the role of social media," he said.
Because the company's focus was on building loyalty in the retail and consumer packaged goods space, Hay believed that the BzzAgent purchase would enable it to help customers "understand advocacy and use this knowledge to earn more loyal customers for retailers and brands".
Balter, on the other hand, felt the move provided the two firms with a "huge opportunity to connect the dots between shopper marketing and social media".
BzzAgent was set up in 2001. It provides its network of 800,000 consumers or 'agents' with free products and services and encourages them to talk the offerings up and endorse them. Customers include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L'Oreal and Michelin.