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dunnhumby harnesses the power of the customer

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Tesco subsidiary dunnhumby has acknowledged the central role of customers – and what they say about their purchases – in today’s retail market through its acquisition of US social marketing company BzzAgent.

Dunnhumby built its name through its development of the Tesco Clubcard and has gone on to advise and manage loyalty schemes for a range of retailers. Through its analysis of shopper data it advises brands and retailers on how their customers think and behave – and how to react to that.

It described its acquisition of BzzAgent, announced yesterday, as “a marriage of one of the leaders in shopper marketing with a social marketing pioneer.” For dunnhumby, BzzAgent’s strategic importance is in the clients it works for to spread word-of-mouth product recommendations, as well as the way it measures the return on investment in, and the role of, social media. BzzAgent’s clients include Procter & Gamble, Unilever and L’Oreal.

Dunnhumby chief executive Simon Hay said: “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-moth are playing a key role for brands and retailers.

“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.”

BzzAgent’s chief executive and founder, Dave Balter, will continue in his role, joining the dunnhumby executive board. He said: “dunnhumby has built a stellar reputation in the retail and CPG space by focusing on customer attitudes and behaviors. 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.”

The value of the acquisition was not disclosed.

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