Newspaper/Media Company Continues Its Innovation in Digital Services with Buzz360™ Marketing Platform to Support Its Small Business Community

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SourceMedia Group/Gazette Company to implement new technology for several sites, the first a bridal directory site.

With Buzz360, we're leveraging the traditional strength of our newspaper and television brands in the community for the benefit of our small business customers.

Newly launched Buzz360 LLC (http://www.buzz360.co) today announced its first major customer in the media/newspaper industry by signing an agreement with The Gazette Company. Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, it operates The Gazette, a daily newspaper, as well as KCRG TV-9, the ABC affiliate in eastern Iowa. The company revealed it has begun implementing the Buzz360™ automated marketing platform to help a key segment of its local customer community better market and sell its products and services.

Buzz360™ is a customizable, brandable marketing platform for media companies, franchisors, manufacturers, and other organizations that market to or through small businesses. The technology enables these organizations to help their customers and resellers sell more and become more profitable.

"With Buzz360, we're leveraging the traditional strength of our newspaper and television brands in the community for the benefit of our small business customers," said Chris Edwards, VP of Sales and Customer Care at The Gazette Company. "The automated marketing tools it provides for the small businesses in our region, coupled with its content marketing features, serve to draw more people from the community to our local online presence."

Helping Small Businesses Generate Business

SourceMedia's first implementation of the Buzz360™ platform is its Bridal Expo community (http://www.IowaBridalDirectory.com). This site already features 35 key suppliers, and eventually will expand to over 200 in the local market. It is published in conjunction with an annual bridal show called the Iowa Bridal Expo, held in January each year, the largest bridal show in eastern Iowa. In addition to enabling exhibiting companies to be discovered online, Buzz360™ allows them to use mobile tools during the event to register brides, forward their offerings to them, and stay in touch after the show.

The wedding market in eastern Iowa is sizable, as shown in these statistics for 2012:

  • Number of weddings: 1731
  • Average wedding cost: $20,338
  • Average number of guests: 185-195
  • Market value: $35 million
  • Online market value: $5 million
  • Number of wedding businesses: 294 - 327

The Gazette Company plans to implement the Buzz360™ automated marketing platform for other upcoming sites as well, in a variety of different industry niches such as home building, remodeling, and service industries.

A New and Valuable Revenue Driver
"Marketing services are the new play for many newspaper companies," said Lisa Schneegans, CEO and cofounder of Buzz360 LLC, "and The Gazette Company has been a leader in this area. We believe that selling digital services to small and mid-sized businesses will be a new vital new revenue source for these media companies, and that's why we developed the Buzz360™ platform." She added that The Gazette Company gets revenue by selling businesses a profile on the wedding site, and offering Buzz360™ automated marketing tools on a subscription basis to Bridal Expo exhibitors and other small businesses in the region.

The Buzz360™ platform creates an online community that attracts new customers, automates email marketing to get repeat business, automatically posts to Facebook, automatically generates social referral and feedback from existing customers, and creates and automatically updates a mobile sales tool and web sites that the customer specifies. Buzz360™is a customized, white-label solution that features and promotes the brand of the large companies that license it.

“The people of The Gazette Company pride themselves in being innovators, the company having been a leader in its community for more than a century," said Klaus Schneegans, CFO and cofounder of Buzz360 LLC. "It's an employee-owned company, just acquired from the family who founded the firm. It is clearly a leader in innovative thinking in the news business. Similar to other newspaper organizations, it has been looking for ways to generate revenue other than news and advertising related vehicles. Hence, it's been offering web design and marketing services to its small business customers for some time through its Fusionfarm division. With Buzz360™, The Gazette Company can now further leverage the strength of its online community for its customers, by having social content and reviews that drive the small businesses' customers back to The Gazette site and make it a place for the community to find useful information about local businesses.”

The benefits Buzz360™ provides to large firms marketing to small business include making marketing more manageable for their customers, removing complexity and automating the process for them, and solidifying the role of the larger firm as a business-generation partner. The platform adds value to the large firms' relationships with their small-business customers. Buzz360™ is reasonably priced, and easy to install and brand.

About Buzz360 LLC

Buzz360 (http://www.buzz360.co), based in suburban Minneapolis, has developed a brandable, white-label software platform that provides “Marketing Automation for Small Business.” It features social and automated marketing tools, plus the best of CRM (customer relationship management), to give large firms that serve or market through small businesses a powerful solution for their customer community. Buzz360™ kick-starts small business, leveling the playing field for them in today’s challenging new world of marketing and social business. By branding and implementing the platform, larger firms can sell and profit more by making their small-business customers more successful. Buzz360™ grew out of a site aimed at small businesses in the home renovation industry called ReferralBuzz (http://www.ReferralBuzz.com), founded by the same team more than a year ago. That site has grown to more than 100 customers and has proven the effectiveness of this business-generating technology – which resulted in the recent launch of the private–label version of the platform under the name Buzz360™.

About The Gazette Company
The Gazette Company (http://www.thegazettecompany.com), based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is a diverse local media enterprise, reaching more than 310,000 people in the eastern Iowa region every day through The Gazette daily newspaper, local ABC affiliate KCRG TV-9, and numerous websites including thegazette.com, KCRG.com, corridorcareers.com, and hooplanow.com. The company also is a leader in commercial offset and digital printing. As journalism evolves in the networked environment, the company does more than publish news and advertising in print, broadcast, and online. It creates an environment of open exchange, provides unparalleled content in personal ways that enrich lives, drives collaborative opportunities to strengthen communities, and discovers new and inventive ways to deliver credible information.

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Lisa Schneegans, CEO & Cofounder

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