"What we see as strategically interesting to our clients is taking a more traditional CRM approach and really understanding on an ongoing basis your interaction history with each of your fans, ideally across multiple social platforms," he said.
The deal is noteworthy because typically U.S. and European marketing companies buy their way into Asia, not the other way around. BlueFocus's new footprint in cities like London, New York, Sao Paolo and Milan may bring it new recognition as a global competitor to holding companies such as Havas and Interpublic Group (IPG).
With a market cap of $3.7 billion on the Shenzen stock exchange, its valuation is already competitive with those firms. (IPG is worth an estimated $6.9 billion; Havas, $2.3 billion.) But all three are runty in comparison to WPP Group (estimated at $17.9 billion) or the soon-to-merge Publicis Groupe ($12.4 billion) and Omnicom Group ($18 billion).
BlueFocus began as a PR firm in the mid-'90s, and has added Bojie (film and TV media agency), Eyes Media (out-of-home), SNK (gaming-focused agency) and Jingo (focused on the real estate vertical). It claims 50% of revenue comes from digital channels and has a stated goal of growing all revenue 10x over the next 10 years.
To pull that off it will need a strong grasp of data and technology, and that's something Grant said We Are Social can help with. Technology integration, he said, is getting easier.
"The social media technology space has matured over the last few years," he said. "Social media listening has condensed down, and there are some good choices out there. You can say the same about the social ad platforms."
While consolidation among social media technology players would seem to favor large companies like Salesforce.com, Grant said the pure plays are winning the day – for now.
"Salesforce seems to be struggling to pull off that vision to incubate [listening and media execution] together into one megasuite of social tools," he said. "The players that stay true to vision of doing one thing well seem to be doing well in terms of functionality and the tools we find effective."