SRC produces cluster maps for Thomson buys p.16

By: Ken Liebeskind The central Wisconsin newspapers, a Thomson Newspapers cluster or Strategic Marketing Group (SMG), is using a new Internet tool to help it plan a new Sunday edition.
The three-paper SMG, which includes the Stevens Point Journal, Marshfield News-Herald, and Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, is using AccessConnections/Live (ACL), a geographic information mapping program recently developed for Thomson by Spatial Re-engineering Consultants (SRC), an Orange, Calif., firm.
The Wisconsin group is using the program to find subscribers and advertisers for the Sunday edition, which will be called Central Wisconsin Sunday. Scott Skinner, vice president of marketing, says he's using ACL to identify nonsubscribers who will become targets of Sunday subscription efforts. They'll be offered four Sundays free, he says.
ACL is also being used to generate demographic information about families outside the SMG. "We'll only take Sundays out there and expand into those areas," he says.
ACL will also be used to provide market information for advertisers to lure them into the Sunday paper.
One such advertiser is Best Buy, the electronics chain. After it opened a store in Wausau last year, Skinner used ACL to generate data to help the company understand the market. "We showed how our market compared to the national averages for electronics buying," Skinner says. The information was so attractive Best Buy bought preprint advertising in all three papers, Skinner notes.
All 55 U.S. papers in the Thomson chain are using ACL, and the company's Canadian papers will begin this June, according to Warwick Brindle, senior vice president.
The program merges data from in-house files, outside lists from Claritas and the U.S. Census Bureau to create full-color maps that can be used for 50 different applications, Brindle says, from advertising and circulation drives to the introduction of new products.
"If we want to launch a new entertainment magazine, we can analyze the market quickly and establish whether there is an opportunity in terms of advertisers and readers," Brindle says.
There are 10 to 15 new products now being tested, including entertainment, automotive, and millennium, which are computer- and technology-based. The products may be printed for the papers or niche products like magazines or content for the papers' Web sites.
For advertising purposes, the maps show businesses that can be targeted or ones to be avoided, because of their past advertising history.
"We can identify non-advertisers by SIC code and concentrate on a type, like restaurants," Brindle says. "They appear on a map and we can overlay sales territories to identify the potential for each salesperson's marketplace." For circulation drives, contact lists can be created by selecting individual households. "We can click on a household and it gives us all the data, including the name of the family, how big the house is, and whether they're likely to have children," Brindle says. "It enables us to identify households in primary areas where we want circulation growth."
The papers use direct-mail or telemarketing campaigns to reach these audiences after identifying them with the maps, Brindle says.
Thomson is the first newspaper company to use a program like ACL, according to Dean Stoecker, SRC's president. While there are plenty of mapping programs on the market today, ACL is novel because it's available on the Internet.

?(Warwick Brindle, senior v.p., Thomson) [Caption]
?(Example of Spatial Re-engineering Consultants' mapping system) [Caption]
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: [caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher February 6,) [caption]


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