dunnhumby to acquire social marketing company BzzAgent

dunnhumby Ltd is to acquire Boston-based social marketing company BzzAgent, Inc. Following completion of the deal, BzzAgent will become a subsidiary of dunnhumby and operate as a stand-alone business. Dave Balter, CEO and Founder of BzzAgent, will continue in his current role and will report directly to Simon Hay, CEO of dunnhumby Ltd. Balter will also join the dunnhumby executive team. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The acquisition is a marriage of one of the leaders in shopper marketing with a social marketing pioneer. dunnhumby analyzes shopper data that helps consumer goods companies and retailers better understand the behavior and motivation of their customers. BzzAgent helps marketers reach their customers, encouraging brand advocacy and product recommendations among them. 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 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,” said Simon Hay, CEO of dunnhumby Ltd. “Not only does BzzAgent leverage a base of 800,000 influential customers in the word-of-mouth space, it is focused on measuring return on investment and the role of social media. Our focus has always been on building loyalty. With BzzAgent, we believe we can now help our clients understand advocacy and use this knowledge to earn more loyal customers for retailers and brands,” Hay continued.

“dunnhumby has built a stellar reputation in the retail and CPG space by focusing on customer attitudes and behaviors,” said Balter. “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.”

BzzAgent, founded in 2001, a pioneer in the word-of-mouth marketing space, enlists “agents” to generate awareness for consumer goods and services among their peers. The company’s network of 800,000 consumers helps its clients create word-of-mouth endorsements of its products. Clients include some of the world’s largest marketers, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, L’Oreal and Michelin. BzzAgent has completed more than 2,000 programs for 500-plus companies since it was founded.

Cowen and Company is acting as exclusive financial advisor to BzzAgent, Inc. in connection with the transaction.

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