Digital MarketingStrategiesTesco to Buy Social Marketing Pioneer BzzAgent

Tesco to Buy Social Marketing Pioneer BzzAgent

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.

Whitepaper

US Mobile Streaming Behavior

Whitepaper | Mobile US Mobile Streaming Behavior

3w
Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics for Media Groups

Whitepaper | Actionable Analysis Winning the Data Game: Digital Analytics Tactics for Media Groups

3w
Giving a Voice to Your Brand

Whitepaper | AI Giving a Voice to Your Brand

4w
Mobile Messaging Masters

Whitepaper | Mobile Mobile Messaging Masters

4w

Related Articles

The middle: Where Nissan thinks IT and marketing should meet

Conference Coverage The middle: Where Nissan thinks IT and marketing should meet

3y Mike O'Brien
Vodafone's top three tips to improve your mobile marketing

Conference Coverage Vodafone's top three tips to improve your mobile marketing

3y Mike O'Brien
The U.K. Government's top five tips for dodging disruption

Conference Coverage The U.K. Government's top five tips for dodging disruption

3y Mike O'Brien
Sincerity: The secret of Chobani's social success

Conference Coverage Sincerity: The secret of Chobani's social success

3y Mike O'Brien
Three tips for becoming an experience-based brand

Conference Coverage Three tips for becoming an experience-based brand

3y Mike O'Brien
Throwback Thursday: It's all about "epic storytelling" for McCann NY's Nathy Aviram

Agency Spotlight Throwback Thursday: It's all about "epic storytelling" for McCann NY's Nathy Aviram

3y Mike O'Brien
Data for dummies: Four places to get started

Data-Driven Marketing Data for dummies: Four places to get started

3y Mike O'Brien
Throwback Thursday: DDB's Chris Brown recalls his fave campaigns of all time

Agency Spotlight Throwback Thursday: DDB's Chris Brown recalls his fave campaigns of all time

3y Mike O'Brien