Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company’s Data-intensive Applications

By MapInfo Staff

Ed. note: This article originally appeared on MapInfo's website and is reprinted here with permission.

For more than a century, Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company (ETPC) - a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper publisher serving more than 105,000 subscribing households North of Boston every day - based its recipe for business success on readers' strong community connections.

In the newspaper business, it's all about connection. And, to keep customers coming back for more, savvy publishers have always honed a keen understanding of what excites current and prospective readers.

"In tight-knit city neighborhoods and nearby rural towns, everybody knew everybody," explained Dan Griffin, ETPC's Vice President of Marketing, who grew up in the area. "And our newspapers grew and succeeded simply by reflecting and reporting on that closeness. Even now, when the paper regularly publishes news about your friends, neighbors and colleagues at work, you're going to come back for more."

"But establishing and maintaining that vital bond to readers is a greater challenge today - when families no longer have the kinds of traditional community connections we once took for granted," Griffin said. In a nutshell, we still value connection - but, more and more, we're connected differently: "Now," Griffin said. "It's not only who you know, but what you share."

To ensure current and prospective readers keep coming back for more, ETPC recognized the need to conduct a comprehensive study of its daily readership and potential to lure new customers in the increasingly dynamic North of Boston marketplace.

The study, initiated in 2003 under the direction of ETPC Research Director Forbes Durey, began after the purchase of basic MapInfo Professional software.

"Beforehand, we had a suspicion that this was a rapidly changing market - that a lot of people moving in weren't necessarily the same types of people who'd lived here for 30, 40 or 50 years," Durey said. "MapInfo enabled us to visualize the demographics of our market and to see how closely our overall readership was aligned to the market as a whole."

As the research initiative grew, ETPC strengthened its connections to MapInfo by adding TargetPro and the PSYTE segmentation system, along with business and consumer-expenditure data, to its arsenal of market-analysis tools.

Then, Durey united MapInfo with newspaper-industry research on the demographics of those most likely to subscribe. "Newspapers are no longer a mass medium," Durey said. "Increasingly, we find readers share common demographics. MapInfo helped us to search the whole North of Boston market and focus appeals on prospects who share those demographics."

TargetPro and PSYTE provided ETPC with key analytical tools necessary to profile existing subscribers, to target "new movers" and other prospects in neighborhoods most likely to be home to newspaper readers, and, ultimately, to maximize marketing returns. "We were able to use MapInfo tools to show how customers who we thought were similar were actually very different," Durey said.

"Essentially, MapInfo helped us to succeed by enabling us to develop a much sharper perspective," Griffin added. "We're still doing what our newspapers have done for 100 years or and more - finding out as much as we can about our customers and how to strengthen our connections to them.

"But, now, MapInfo gives us the power to visualize our customers and prospects in entirely new and deeper ways," he concluded. "When we know where and how they live, we not only do a better job of appealing to them, but also of creating local news products that keep them coming back for more, every day."

With a deeper understanding of the demographics of newspaper readers throughout the North of Boston market, ETPC has partnered with area retail businesses and nonprofit organizations to offer more enticing advertising and circulation appeals. Recent initiatives include:

• A marketing partnership with the trustees of reservations (TTOR), conservator of the area's most pristine beaches and wildlife sanctuaries, targeting likely newspaper readers with a strong preference for outdoor activity. The initiative added top-quality subscribers to ETPC's North of Boston readership and hundreds of families to TTOR's membership rolls. "MapInfo's targeting software made this campaign possible," Durey said. "By allowing us to screen the entire market and select only prospects with specific demographic attributes, MapInfo helped to cut postage and printing costs while increasing the prospects for a strong return."

• A circulation campaign targeting newspaper reading families most likely to shop at nearby Simons malls. ETPC's North of Boston marketplace is home to two Simon malls - including the largest mall in New England. A combined direct-mail and telemarketing campaign offered valuable and mall-specific premiums to mall shoppers who became new subscribers. "Once again, MapInfo enabled us to craft and send an appeal to families likeliest to be mall shoppers," Durey explained. "Now that 'Do Not Call' rules have greatly restricted our ability to telemarket prospects, the power of a focused appeal and a valuable offer is even more critical. MapInfo provided that power."

• An advertising-growth initiative focused on the region's growing creative economy. When Salem (Mass.) State College's Enterprise Center, a small-business incubator, sought ETPC's help in assessing the region's creative economy, the result was a comprehensive presentation to regional business leaders and government officials that positioned the company as the leading source for information on North of Boston economic and demographic trends. "Using MapInfo's products, we showed key decision makers where the area's creative-economy businesses are, how they're linked together in a web of new and undiscovered opportunity, and how ETPC's products and services could be used to open new doors," Durey explained.

MapInfo has enabled Eagle-Tribune Publishing Company to focus its marketing initiatives on prospects most likely to subscribe and advertise - as ETPC Publisher Richard M. Franks says, "to fish where the fish are."

Published Friday, April 13th, 2007

Written by MapInfo Staff

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