Tesco’s Clubcard Operator Buying Online Brand Advocacy Firm BzzAgent

Another big deal in corporate adoption of social media marketing – Tesco’s majority-owned Dunnhumby consumer analyst is buying 10-year-old social marketing agency BzzAgent, in a deal that will turn 800,000 social media users in to online brand adovcates for the grocer chain.
Techcrunch puts the price for Boston-based Bzzagent at $60 million.
“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,” according to Dunnhumby’s announcement. “The customer today is as influential as the marketing gurus were a decade ago. Customers’ choices are influenced in many places and social media and word-of-mouth are playing a key role for brands and retailers.”
Dunnhumby devised Tesco Clubcard, one of the world’s most highly-regarded retail customer loyalty schemes for how it mines data on consumers’ weekly grocery shop to better target new products.
“Together, we think we have a huge opportunity to connect the dots between shopper marketing and social media,” says BzzAgent CEO Dave Balter. BzzAgent enlists “agents” to spread awareness of products amongst their peer groups. According to its website: “Wwe give them a full-brand experience that helps them fall in love with your product.” All sounds rather sinister.