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Tesco’s Clubcard Operator Buying Online Brand Advocacy Firm BzzAgent

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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.

2 Responses to “Tesco’s Clubcard Operator Buying Online Brand Advocacy Firm BzzAgent”

  1. Don;t Buy the Bzz

    I don’t understand how people who are receiving points and rewards,
    above and beyond the “samples” they’ve been given by BzzAgent’s clients –
    are true “brand advocates” as Balter loves to coo about. What would
    impress me are people who use products on a regular basis, and are loyal
    to their brands, telling me how they feel about said products. People
    who aren’t given incentives to “Bzz.” Not only very creepy, but I smell
    rotten fish. Don’t see how people can be “brand advocates” when they are
    being rewarded to talk about products.

  2. Good Lord, that video with the cute girl talking winsomely about BzzAgent set off major creepy bullshit alarms for me. That strikes me as the sort of clueless publicity that will turn off the very people they need to sign up for to BzzAgent. They need Mavens, Connectors and Persuaders not lovesick adolescents (or as is more likely to explain this example middle aged executives going through mid life crises).