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Tesco Makes a Social Media Move With BzzAgent Acquisition

Written on
May 23, 2011 
Author
Gavin Dunaway  |

ADOTAS – Boston social media marketer BzzAgent has been acquired by Dunnhumby, the wholly-owned marketing subsidiary of the supermarket chain Tesco. The retailer is the third-largest in the world in terms of revenue following WalMart and Carrefour.

The reported $60 million price tag is a lot less than the $300 million that WalMart spent last month on Kosmix. Also unlike the WalMart acquisition, BzzAgent will continue to operate as a standalone business; Kosmix is being integrated into the new social and mobile strategy group @WalMart Labs.

While it’s interesting to see two of the world’s biggest retailers inorganically boost their social media efforts, the acquired companies offer quite different services: Kosmix aggregates and curates content across the web and social networks while BzzAgent’s claim to fame is ramping up word-of-mouth campaigns on blogs and other social media — the company even released a field guide to spotting social marketing influencers.

In its 10 years of action, BzzAgent reports running running 2,000 social media campaigns for more than 500 companies — including CPG giants Procter & Gamble, Unilever and SC Johnson among others — that have employed 800,000 brand advocates. In addition, the company uses third-party ROI modeling such as Nielsen’s market mix modeling to answer the riddle that is social media ROI. BzzAgent cofounder and CEO Dave Balter will remain in charge of the business, bringing along his 60-person staff.

Dunnhumby uses Tesco data to provide brands with consumer insight and assist in marketing and building loyalty programs. Obviously having a go-to network of social media influencers could enhance said programs exponentially.

“dunnhumby has built a stellar reputation in the retail and CPG space by focusing on customer attitudes and behaviors,” Balter said in the release. “BzzAgent shares that focus and we are excited to leverage dunnhumby’s unmatched targeting and analytic capabilities to provide our programs greater scale and proof of impact. Together we think we have a huge opportunity to connect the dots between shopper marketing and social media.”





Gavin Dunaway is Editor, U.S. at AdMonsters, a leading trade publication, event producer and service provider for the online advertising industry. Previously, he had been Senior Editor of Adotas, where he arrived after years of ping-ponging around various industry publications. This Washington, D.C. native and George Mason University graduate also enjoys playing electric guitar so loud that the walls shake.

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