Photo Courtesy Buzzoole

New Strategy Provides Proven Effectiveness in Reaching Target Audiences and Increasing Engagement

Ayelet NoffThe days of classic marketing strategies are far behind us. While big companies still choose to spend big bucks on commercial ads online, on TV, on billboards, and in magazines, this method is losing its efficacy. Consumers are bombarded by so many ads daily that they have learned to completely tune them out.  Even worse, consumers are often experiencing “ad fatigue”, causing them to form negative perceptions of brands due to overexposure to their ads.

So what does this mean for brands? Clearly, companies have taken note of the changing field of marketing and are turning to alternatives. In the field of commercial advertising, this means persistently changing up content and images, as well as employing targeted advertising to gain users’ continuous attention.

Though these are sometimes effective methods to combat consumer’s fatigue, the cost of display advertising is so high, that frankly, for some companies it just isn’t worth it. In fact, many brands are changing their marketing strategies all-together to focus on other advertising methods.

Buzzoole, a self-service Influencer Marketing Platform, recently conducted a survey of the over 200 brands on their platform (full disclosure: Buzzoole is a Blonde 2.0 client). The results indicate that companies are planning to shift their marketing budget in the upcoming year, with a mere 6% of companies planning to focus their investment on display advertising. On the other hand, the standout marketing strategy that the majority of companies wish to focus on is influencer marketing (30%). Moreover, the survey revealed that a large majority (65%) of brands are planning on increasing their budget for influencer marketing.

So Why Are More Brands Using Influencer Marketing?

According to Fabrizio Perrone, the CEO and founder of Buzzoole, the reason more brands are using influencer marketing is because: “Companies see the value of influencer marketing as a more effective method of reaching their target audience at a far more affordable price.” Moreover he argues that: “The results of these surveys fall in line with an overarching trend, indicating that companies are shifting from old-fashioned advertisements to more modern techniques, such as influencer marketing.”

How effective is this method? Well, influencer marketing is a great way for brands to reach a target audience without burning them out in the way that display ads often do. Using “normal” people on social media to promote a brand is often viewed as more natural, genuine, and credible. Moreover, users tend to trust these social media experts because they view their opinion as unbiased and real.

A marketing platform like Buzzoole makes creating an influencer campaign extremely simple by automating the entire process of identifying, connecting, engaging, delivering, and measuring valuable influencer marketing campaigns. The Buzzoole team also developed a unique algorithm that analyzes online conversations and identifies how influential users are within specific topics, giving brands the tools to target their audience.

Consumers are becoming smarter and less naive when it comes to advertising, and brands are going to have to keep up. While online advertising, PR, and paid search are all still vital elements of a company’s marketing strategy, adopting new methods such as influencer marketing is a great way to reach their audience in a subtle yet effective way.Ayelet Noff is a partner in and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

Source: Social Media

Sharon Ryan was named president and publisher of the Bay Area News Group two years ago.

Sharon Ryan was named president and publisher of the Bay Area News Group two years ago.

JD LasicaIt’s been years since I’ve taken to my blog (which I began 15 years ago this week) to complain about a company or brand. But the San Jose Mercury News has left me little choice.

I’m an entrepreneur, as well as a former journalist, so the one thing I can’t afford is to fritter away time. But I’ve been on the phone almost nonstop with the San Jose Mercury News’ Circulation Department for the better part of two straight weeks.

As a young teenager growing up in North Jersey, my first job was as a newspaper “delivery boy,” as we were called then, and I made a point of knowing everybody on my route by heart, as I raced my bicycle to deliver the afternoon Bergen Record to everyone right after school. If I missed someone on my route, I would be horrified, and would rush out to get them a fresh paper.

Boy, are those days gone.

For the past two weeks, we’ve been subjected to the worst ongoing set of delivery problems of my lifetime. Of several lifetimes. And there appears to be no end in sight. Consider:

We did not receive our paper today, May 9.

We did not receive our paper on May 6.

We have not received our paper on May 5.

We did not receive our paper on May 4. We called and the customer service rep said they would have it redelivered. No one delivered the paper.

We did not receive a paper May 3.

We did not receive a paper Sunday May 2. We called and the person on the phone said the paper would be delivered later that day. It was not delivered.

The week before? The same thing.

No one is stealing our newspapers. For whatever reason, the contractors hired by the Merc are just not delivering the newspaper anymore. Which is pretty shocking, given that newspapers need to do everything they can to hang onto their existing readers to survive. (I get kidded by my friends about my habit of reading old media.)

I have stopped calling the Mercury News’ Circulation Dept. Every time I call, after “crediting” my account for a missed delivery, they swear up and down that the “Branch Manager” for our area would absolutely call me back the same day. He (or she) has never called. They won’t tell me his name, so we’re dealing with phantoms. They won’t tell me if there’s a circulation problem for this area.

No one at has ever responded to our emails. And no one at the Merc has answered my complaint on Twitter. This is maddening.

So I’m going straight to the top, Ms.Sharon Ryan. Perhaps a little public shaming will get the attention of someone at your newspaper group so that they can do their job and see to it that the newspaper gets delivered. Because if all your fine journalists are continuing to put out a paper day after day, what’s the point if the readers don’t see it?
JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Source: Social Media

Here’s my iPhone photo of the 2016 Chevrolet Volt.

A green smart car to help save the planet & have fun, but be aware of the tradeoffs

JD LasicaMore and more of us, directly or indirectly, are turning into brand advocates for the companies and products we love or admire. So I had no hesitation in saying yes when Chevrolet contacted me as part of a marketing outreach to “social media thought leaders” in California.

Would you like to try out the 2016 Chevy Volt for a week? they asked.

Sure, I said.

We’re fans of electric and hybrid cars, and bought a Toyota Prius a few years back. All I knew about the Volt was that it was hybrid-electric car with the emphasis on the electric. Soon I learned it was named 2016 Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal (which isn’t on my coffeetable but sounds like a credible authority).

The timing is interesting. The 2016 Volt will have a shortened model year, making way for the 2017 Volt’s arrival this coming right around now, according to published reports.

The Chevy Volt in my driveway.

So I gave the Volt a test run this week and came away impressed. Fortunately, the 2016 model (mine was new, with only 600 miles on the odometer) and 2017 models are nearly identical, so this review applies to either model year.

The new Chevy Volt goes for a base price of $33,220 MSRP, but a federal tax credit up to $7,500 can bring down the price to as low as $25,720. You’ll have to do the math, depending on your add-ons and eligibility for the tax credit.

While the Volt may not have the sexy styling of a Tesla, it costs less and has another upside: There are enough of them to go around.

Some numbers to keep in mind:

  • A range of up to 53 pure electric miles on a single charge
  • A range of up to 420 miles with a full charge and full tank of gas
  • You average 1,000 miles between gas fill-ups
Here's how the plug looks.

Here’s how the charging handle looks.

I wondered if I’d have to drive to a special station to get a recharge or a battery swap-out. That’s not the way it works. You simply plug into a 120 or 240 V outlet to regularly recharge the battery. More information on the Chevrolet Volt can be found at this link.

So the Volt’s positioning basically comes down to this: “The vehicle offers all the benefits of EV (electric vehicle) driving while allaying fears of range-anxiety,” says Fred Ligouri, Chevrolet Electric Car Communications. Yes, you’ll be running on battery power after you recharge, but the Volt won’t leave you high and dry on longer trips.

Unlike the Prius, though, Chevrolet made the decision to require the owners to recharge the car — and it takes a while. I plugged it in overnight and, after 14 hours, it charged only 60 percent. So, patience is a virtue with the Volt.

Handling was responsive and smooth throughout my rides, and the difference between it running on electric power and gas was barely perceptible from the driver’s POV.

All the digital doodads you’d want in a car

A look at the electronic dashboard on the Volt.

A look at the electronic dashboard on the Volt.

The electronic dashboard is certainly impressive and easy to use. Some standout features include:

Real-time traffic information

Real-time traffic information

  • Navigation (on driver’s dashboard and central monitor) that includes real-time traffic updates — de rigueur in modern cars, though I didn’t pit it against Waze to see how it stacks up in recommending the optimal route.
  • Blind spot monitoring: An alert light on driver’s side and passenger’s side mirrors flashes to notify you when there’s a car in your blind spot.
  • A sensor in the front of the car, great for forward collision warnings and for keeping your distance from shopping mall curbs. The Volt also comes with low-speed pre-collision braking.
  • A lane tracker (“lane keep assist”) that will nudge you gently back into your lane on highways with multiple lanes if you tire and begin to wander into another lane by mistake.
Options on the central control panel

Options on the central control panel

All that, plus the usual phalanx of digital features, including two USB ports (for your smartphone), satellite radio, a rearview camera, a six-speaker audio system (ditch it in favor of your own, or perhaps the Bose upgrade), automatic climate control, remote start and an option to subscribe to Chevy’s OnStar telematics system, which offers a 4G LTE data connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot in addition to theft prevention and accident reports.

One snafu came at 5 am when I removed the charging plug without reading the damn manual. A moment later the car alarm came on at an incredibly high pitch, which I’m sure woke up some of the neighbors. I rushed inside, found the car keys, clicked unlock and the blare came to an end, but not before the Volt jolted my nerves.

The Volt is selling at a clip of about 2,000 per month, but it should sell more with the 2017 model. That’s another upside: You won’t see tons of them on the road, at least not yet. Exclusivity is still a perk.JD Lasica, founder of, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

Source: Social Media