Marketing ideas to help your business grow.


Effective Branding

last updated February 28, 2014

I was digging through an old file and came across a Top 100 advertiser list from 1978. Thirty six years ago. These were our Top 100 advertisers in descending order by revenue they spent with the Star Tribune. I thought it would be fun to see how many of those top 100 were still advertising with us. How many do you think? I was shocked. We only have 16 of those top 100 still with us. That’s right, 84 good customers are long gone. It’s a cautionary tale for those businesses that think they are here to stay. It points out to me what competition (the better mousetrap), mergers and acquisitions can do to the business landscape in a short period of time. It also puts an exclamation point on Ted Turner’s old motto: “Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.”

You may think you have the hottest brand going in whatever business category you are in, but stop exposing that brand to your target market and you see how long you last. Our industry is a classic example of thinking our brand was forever. It probably was, until the internet dropped onto the scene and we had to wake up and reinvent our brand. Fortunately, Star Tribune woke up faster than most other major market newspapers and has been steadily improving our print products and distribution channels and has become what I would say is the best digital option for any advertiser in the Twin Cities and five state area. If you want to optimize your digital campaigns, we have the expertise to handle just about anything you are trying to do with search, social connections, better site presence, reputation management, email and text messaging, mobile access, you name it.  So remember Ted’s motto and don’t let your brand lose any of its sparkle and effectiveness.  We’re here to help you keep your brand polished and fresh.

Pearls of Wisdom: A Chinese proverb…”He who deliberates fully before taking a step will spend his entire life on one leg.”


All-Star Fever

last updated February 28, 2014

This summer, all eyes will be on Minnesota when the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hits town. Star Tribune is your ticket to reaching fans and linking your business to the power of MLB with red hot packages that will put your brand in play. With a sizzling roster of events and celebrations leading up to the game, more than 300,000 fans will enjoy this once-in-a-generation experience. We're offering a limited number of unique sponsorship opportunities that team-up your business with our extensive coverage, plus each package includes tickets to some of the week's most sought-after events. 

Our unprecedented print and online coverage kicks-off June 2 building momentum with behind-the-scenes stories, expanded coverage in Sports for the week leading up to the game, and a special print section on July 13, before we wrap it all up on July 16. From the MLB all-Star Fan Fest and the All-Star Concert to All-Star Sunday and the All-Star Game, Star Tribune will be there every step of the way. Act now. These packages will be scooped up faster than a grounder to third. 

Ready for your All-Star advertising opportunity? Contact: Tom Rainey, 612.673.4093


Digging into Digital

last updated February 28, 2014

As Star Tribune Manager of Optimization and Analytics, David Fleischman and his team evaluate digital campaign engagement and performance. Their deeper look into campaign metrics helps advertisers tailor campaigns to achieve their goals and objectives. In this Q&A, David discusses how the team does it. Dig in.

Q: Tell us about the digital campaign capabilities of Star Tribune.
DF: Most advertisers are pretty amazed by what we offer digitally, especially those who typically use us for print. When it comes to digital campaigns, Star Tribune offers it all. We can tightly integrate display, paid search, email marketing, content sponsorship and video, across the Star Tribune network and our Advantage network. 

Q: What are the essential components of an effective digital campaign in 2014?
DF: Like any effective campaign, it's really about hitting your audience through multiple channels with effective, yet consistent, messaging. For example, mixing in a paid search campaign with other channels like display and email helps drive brand awareness and site traffic.

Q: What key metrics does your team track for advertisers?
DF: We begin by evaluating a campaign's reach – the number of impressions and number of unique views it's getting. With Minnesota’s most-visited website, we can usually achieve reach that others can’t. But then we factor in a set of metrics that help us understand how our advertisers’ campaign is performing. Using things like heat mapping, which measures mouse-overs of an ad, my team produces brand and engagement analytics.

We love digging deeper into metrics that track exposure hours, interaction rates and times, in-view time, premium conversions and visitor profile information. A lot of these measures of effectiveness are only doable with digital, and not with, say, broadcast. But only if you have the right reporting and optimization environment.

Q: When it comes to analyzing a digital campaign, what do advertisers need to know?
DF: It really just starts by defining the campaign's goals, and I’m not talking about impressions or clicks. At a more fundamental level, is it direct response or brand messaging? The goals determine the KPIs we measure. The click through rate is not the only factor to consider for campaign success. Clicks don’t always send the most qualified traffic to an advertiser’s site and they are not always the point of running a display ad. For example, a branding campaign's effectiveness may be measured by a large quantity of impressions tied to share-of-voice, and interaction time.

Q: How does your team help advertisers optimize their digital campaigns?
DF: Because we do such a deep evaluation early in the campaign, we get a clear picture pretty quickly of an advertiser's campaign. We can identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of what's currently running. We take all factors into consideration including placement; mediums such as email, display or search; ad size; ad design/messaging; or, audience targeting to name a few. My team is constantly analyzing the performance of campaigns to find the perfect targeting parameters inside the scope of our inventory and audience. Once we've done an analysis, we outline our recommendations for the advertiser to capitalize on.

Q: What advice do you have for advertisers interested in getting more out of their digital campaigns?
DF: If you're new to digital, let our experienced account team guide you through the process. They can help you understand your attribution model and how digital components fit within your overall funnel. Plus, a big advantage of digital is that it allows you to extend your reach across various mediums with metrics to help fine tune your messaging, delivery, audience, and best of all, marketing budget. Let us help guide you. That’s what we’re here for.

Q: You’ve been doing this a long time. Any parting thoughts?
DF: We run thousands of campaigns. My team has seen it all, so we know what works and what doesn't work in this market and across our network. So get us involved in the campaign-planning phase. With our knowledge of metrics, inventory, and campaign delivery, we can recommend a digital solution that makes it easy for the advertiser to optimize across different media quickly.

Ready to dig into digital with a well-measured campaign? Contact: Ray Faust, 612.673.4899.


Ready, Set, ROI

last updated February 28, 2014

While technology has ramped up to the ability to analyze and track digital advertising with ever increasing sophistication, for traditional marketing efforts there are still many old-school ways and hi-tech methods to measure your return on investment.

With the ability to reach targeted customers for just pennies per households, Star Tribune's Print & Deliver inserts are a cost-effective means of distributing your marketing message to zip codes most important to you. Measuring the impact of your efforts is easily achieved by applying one of these strategies.

Unique Phone Number Featuring a unique phone number, allocated specifically for your Print & Deliver insert, is a tried and true solution for measuring response. When the line rings, you know exactly how the lead was generated.

Coupons & Discounts Offering an incentive that’s communicated only through the Print & Deliver channel lets you track customer interest and redemption. For brick and mortar operations, coupons are an easy, low-tech option. To drive online or mobile response, distinct discount codes can be entered on your website or texted back to you.

Variable Offers Take your coupon or discount strategy a step further by testing multiple offers at once. Segment the messages by ZIP codes or other audience parameters then measure which offers yield the greatest response.

Distinct URL Providing a specific URL that directs prospects to a distinct landing page on your website allows you to track engagement with your message through your website’s analytics.

QR Codes Like a distinct URL, a quick response code allows prospects to scan the printed image and link directly to a landing page that corresponds to your message. Since QR codes are accessed by smartphones, if you choose this strategy be certain your website is optimized for mobile devices to achieve the best results.

Asking the Customer The classic, “How did you hear about us?” is still a useful ploy for understanding a customer’s path to purchase. Whether asked in-person, over the phone or via an e-commerce website, this simple effort can provide valuable insight.

Interested in harnessing the measurable power of Print & Deliver inserts? Contact: Mike Maslow, 612.673.4106.


Four Digital Marketing Trends

last updated February 28, 2014

The digital marketing landscape is an ever-evolving playground where savvy marketers such as VISA launch Olympic skiers out of the confines of a 300 x 250 box. This kind of interactive experience is just one of four digital marketing trends we can expect to see more frequently in 2014. 

What else is on the horizon?


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