Home  › Marketing › Strategies
bzzagent-logo-1

Tesco to Buy Social Marketing Pioneer BzzAgent

  |  May 23, 2011   |  Comments

Social marketer was among first to use web to activate word of mouth.

bzzagent-logo-1Primordial social marketing firm BzzAgent will be acquired by Tesco subsidiary Dunnhumby for a reported $60 million, the companies said today.

BzzAgent will operate as a standalone subsidiary of London-based Dunnhumby, which provides consumer loyalty and personalization services to some of the world's largest retailers.

The BzzAgent system, first developed in 2001, provides free product to a network of "agents" who then talk them up - usually in a positive way. The Boston-based firm claims to have 800,000 word of mouth soldiers in its network. Over 10 years these volunteer endorsers, it says, have worked on more than 2,000 programs for 500 clients. Their advocacy often happens online, but can also include orchestrated social gatherings, in-store conversations, and chance encounters.

In 2004, a high-profile takedown (subscription required) in The New York Times accused BzzAgent of undermining the organic conversations about products that help people make everyday buying decisions. Partly in response to that article and similar complaints, including one by consumer watchdog Commercial Alerts, BzzAgent revised its code of conduct to hold its agents to a higher standard of disclosure.

Dave Balter, BzzAgent's CEO and founder, will continue in that role and will also join the Dunnhumby executive team.

"Together, the companies will use the power of peer influence and word-of-mouth to improve customer insights and product sales for consumer goods companies and retailers," the two firms said in a statement.

Dunnhumby parent Tesco is a mammoth supermarket and merchandise chain. With 2009 full-year revenues of $87.8 billion (£62.5 billion) in revenues for 2009, it is the third-largest retailer in the world in terms of revenues, behind only Wal-Mart and French Carrefour, according to Deloitte.

Its business is primarily in Europe and Asia. U.S. operations consist of 145 stores, compared to 2,482 in the U.K. alone.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Sept 5 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zachary Rodgers

Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects. 

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

Resources

Jobs

    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - ChicagoJob Title:  Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales   Position Overview: The Senior...
    • Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales
      Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales (Expedia, Inc.) - New YorkPosition Overview: The Senior Director US Agency Ad Sales is responsible for managing...
    • Digital Marketing Analyst
      Digital Marketing Analyst (GovLoop) - Washington D.C.Are you passionate about audience acquisition? Love effective copy and amazingly effective...