Building on a model created for the Chicago Tribune, the parent company has raised its sights.
The newspaper's database system is being expanded nationally with the hope of luring advertisers to other Tribune Co. products, ranging from radio and TV stations to the Chicago Cubs.
"We are putting together a corporate information network so we can share database information across all our business units," said Cathy Jaros, VP-marketing for the Tribune Co.'s Direct Marketing Resource Center.
The Tribune Co. sees the resource center as an added value to offer advertisers, which will be given the same ability to target customers that the Chicago Tribune uses to tailor circulation appeals to specific interests of target consumers, Ms. Jaros said.
"We will never sell a name, but what we can do is help our customers understand their customers better," she said.
In one instance, the company took a customer list file and ran it against the Tribune's database to identify clusters that marketers could use-seniors, families with children, singles or sports enthusiasts.
Though the Tribune Co. said it won't give out names, it will offer the use of another company division to mail out advertisers' appeals to target groups.
Ms. Jaros said the Tribune Co. doesn't expect to compete with the major names in direct marketing. Indeed, the national expansion will be gradual, with the first targets being Florida and New York, where the company could use the data for its own media.
She said the Tribune Co. believes media must offer more services to advertisers, adding, "We want to be able to add targeted vehicles ... to be real partners in key vehicles."