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Getting an edge over direct mail.

An advertising, and company has devised a targeting system aimed at giving newspapers all edge over their fierce competitor, direct mad.

Overland Park, Kan.-based Sunflower Group has developed NewsRoute. which is designed to help newspapers deliver samples (or anything else) in a tighter, more focused fashion. Instead of targeting consumers by ZIP codes or zones, NewsRoute targets by carrier routes, using "Zip plus four" codes provided by the newspaper.

Dennis Garberg, CEO of the Sunflower Group, explained that on average, there are 5,000 to 10,000 households in each Zip code. But each carrier route has only 250 to 350 households. Within each carrier route, there may be several ZIP plus fours (meaning a household broken down by ZIP codes with four-digit extentions).

"By using data-processing horsepower that just five years ago was affordable only to NASA or the IRS, we can now analyze all 18 million residential ZIP plus fours and isolate the presence of a desired consumer profile," Garberg said.

"Our segmentation system and sample targeting experience enables us to sum up these ZIP fours, each containing just five to 10 households, and match them to newspaper carriers' routes," Garberg said.

A product or ad package targeted at a particular consumer profile can be delivered by each carrier.

Newspapers must provide Sunflower with a count of their subscribers aggregated by ZIP plus fours.

Microvision Plus, Sunflower's database, takes the ZIP plus fours and categorizes them into specific consumer buying habits and for demographics.

The information revealed is not person by person, but a general overview of those people in the cluster.

"If an obscure group has the qualifications an advertiser is looking for, we can target that," Garberg said.

For NewsRoute to work, Sunflower also needs to know the carrier that delivers to each particular ZIP plus four, and the depot from which he or she operates.

From there, Sunflower provides an index directing the carrier to the homes that meet the parameters an advertiser wants to target.

"NewsRoute can improve the newspaper advertising revenue picture by making [their readers] more targetable and, therefore, more attractive to advertisers," Garberg said.

Joe Gess, general advertising manager at the Tampa Tribune, said his paper has signed on to participate in NewsRoute, but has not yet utilized the program.

But, he said, he's looking forward to giving it a whirl.

"Now we're able to compete, head-on, with direct mail. The most positive thing is that we [newspapers] can become more competitive on a national level if we all look at delivering product samples this way," said Gess.

Gess admitted that it takes a substantial amount of work for a newspaper to get information together to participate in NewsRoute.

"But newspapers should already have ZIP plus fours in their databases. And if they don't, they should," he said.


Fast Extra


The Tampa Tribune produced an eight-page extra within 90 minutes of the start of the Tampa Bay Lightning's game against the New York Rangers on Oct. 20. The game debuted Tampa's $160 million Ice Palace.

The extra, which was sponsored by Cadillac, was filled with facts and information about the Ice Palace, and led with a half-page, full-color shot of the opening face-off. Fifteen thousand sections were delivered to the Ice Palace and distributed free as patrons left the arena.

The paper also recently launched a half-million dollar media campaign, which included TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, and in-paper advertisements, for the GUSTO dining and entertainment card. The card offers consumers a 25% discount at more than 120 area restaurants.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Reina, Laura
Publication:Editor & Publisher
Date:Nov 30, 1996
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