Data analytics and modeling drives revenue diversification for local media companies

Presented on the Revenue Stage at the Mega-Conference


Newsmedia companies are discovering practical ways to apply data analytics, modeling and segmentation tools to drive not only audience growth and engagement, but to support advertising revenue growth through targeted marketing services provided on behalf of local businesses. 

This approach represents an attractive opportunity for newsmedia companies of any size to diversify revenue streams by leveraging the vast amounts of audience data they possess, while underscoring their strategic advantages by virtue of their unique ability to connect buyers and sellers in their local marketplaces.

But in order to effectively use data analytics to sell audience, it is crucial that a local sales force be able to credibly answer these key questions for its advertisers:

  • Who are your targets?
  • What are they like?
  • Where can you find them?
  • What do they think?
  • How can you most effectively reach them?

When we introduced LEAP Dimensions last year, the objective was to provide answers to these questions, and deliver media companies a solution that identifies and delivers a qualified, high-value prospect universe that can be reached through a multi-channel, managed services approach.

The Erie Times-News is one such company that is successfully leveraging an array of audience insights to deliver a complete marketing strategy for many of its key accounts, resulting in more than $2 million in incremental advertising revenue since 2012. Bill Dietz, business development manager at the Erie (Penn.) Times-News demonstrated this needs assessment / needs fulfillment approach at this year's Key Executive Mega-Conference in Orlando (view presentation here).

This approach incorporates LEAP's Targeted Growth Model™ methodology where high opportunity segments can be identified and targeted based on a variety of meaningful criteria including geography, demography, transactional and psychographic behavior, channel preferences and contact history.   Resource investments can then be specifically allocated to those segments demonstrating maximum potential for growth and profitability.

Using a five-step process (see below), media companies can produce and deliver a customer profile report directly into the hands of its client.  This target market analysis opens a dialogue on the myriad ways they can identify and reach the right customers.

LEAP TGM process (click here for full-size image)

The key ingredient is the first-party customer data and third-party household-level demographics and lifestyle data that can be appended to any customer record that contains a valid physical address.  Using the TGM™ process transforms this raw customer data into powerful strategic assets.

Depending on the demographic characteristics, interests and purchase propensities that are appended to the advertiser's customer file, Erie works to devise a custom, multichannel media plan to most effectively allocate marketing investments toward the right audiences, using the right channels.  In many cases, these insights have been used to reinforce the value of its traditional print (as one of several) vehicles to reach the desired audience.  In other cases, Erie has deployed an array of data-driven and digital marketing solutions to extend the audience reach for its advertisers beyond print.

Among the recent success stories:

  • A mid-sized daily publisher in Colorado analyzed a non-profit foundation's donor file to identify approximately 50,000 high-value potential donors who have the means to donate, as well as the propensity to support charitable organizations.
  • A large daily publisher in eastern Pennsylvania analyzed a department store chain's credit card customer file to identify key characteristics, then built a pre-print insert distribution and a digital marketing strategy to optimize the advertiser's media investments to boost store traffic.
  • A small daily publisher in Connecticut analyzed past buyers and loyalty club members of a fine food and wine retailer to build a targeted direct marketing list for an ongoing promotional campaign using email, social media and direct mail marketing.
  • A mid-sized daily publisher in western Pennsylvania analyzed an auto repair and tire store's customer file to understand consumer behaviors and characteristics, then built a multi-channel advertising strategy that included print, digital, SEO, direct marketing and social reputation management.

To enable a data-driven approach to consumer monetization, publishers need a database. That audience database enables them to develop detailed knowledge including product usage, demographics, behaviors, interests and channel preferences. The ability to then integrate an advertiser's customer data with its own audience data is allowing Erie and other newsmedia companies like them to provide comprehensive insight into the advertiser's opportunities. Understanding the diverse ways that the publisher touches the consumer – as well as detailed knowledge of the consumer's characteristics and preferences – leads to the development and implementation of relevant, highly effective marketing initiatives that deliver customers to the advertiser, and revenue to the publisher.

For more information on LEAP Dimensions contact us at

Dan Williams began his newsmedia career in 1999 and has held management roles with McClatchy, Gannett, the New York Times Regional Media Group and The Day Publishing Company.  As the co-founder and CEO of LEAP Media Solutions, his company supports audience and advertising revenue growth and engagement through data management, analytics, modeling, strategy consulting and end-to-end marketing execution.  He is based in Cary, N.C., and can be reached at or (860) 710-5942.