Innovative Advertising Solutions Blog

Innovative Advertising Solutions

Sacramento Bee makes “big data” available to small businesses

05 February 2013 · By Darrell Kunken

Partnership with local technology provider allows Sacramento Bee to offer important data insight to small-to-medium advertisers.

As demonstrated, the past few years have been a perfect storm, combining a deep recession with incredible advancements in technology and consumer adoption.

The result is a consumer that is more value/price sensitive and more technologically connected and savvy, and businesses that understand there is value in understanding their customers.

We know that small business operations may continue to change significantly as they learn how to take advantage of customer data and evolving consumer marketing channels.

Within the changing B2C world, the common denominator, the variable of greatest interest, remains the buying consumer. But, while every customer is important, not every customer has the same value.

Interest and requests are rising for insight on how to better understand and how to connect with consumers in today’s fragmented economy. We hear daily about the virtues and pitfalls of “big data,” the latest buzz phrase related to the vast amount of information being generated today.  

Small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) will take note if you can show them how to gain their own customer insights from their own data. These are insights that most think are only available to the big boys in retail.  

We can put real power behind our marketing proposals if we have done our homework by completing a thorough needs assessment and delivering a plan that connects consumers through channels that will build sales.

More and more local businesses are compiling basic information on their customers, like a U.S. Postal Service street address, zip code, and possibly volumetric amount spent data.  With this, we can offer an SMB an easy and fast way to quickly learn more about:

    • Who their most valuable customers are.


    • Where they can find more of them.


  • And how they can develop programmes and processes to keep bringing them back to buy more.

Through our relationship with CustomerLink, a local technology provider that has set up a co-branded site with The Sacramento Bee/, we are beginning to offer local businesses this opportunity. This free, self-serve, online customer analysis and reporting tool delivers powerful insights into who their best customers are.

Reports can aid the business in designing stronger marketing programmes that focus on consumer segments with the greatest return.

Jim Bonfield, vice president of product development and business strategy for CustomerLink (and former online business development manager for The Sacramento Bee) has developed this programme that is also featured in Small Business Marketing Kit for Dummies, by Barbara Findlay Schenck.

An SMB can establish their contact, business type, and upload your own customer file:

The business receives access to online dashboard reports from its CustomerLink analysis.  These simple reports illustrate where customers are coming from and what type of customers (segment) exist in the business’ file.

The current customer section of the report summarises the major lifestyle segments contained in the customer file and a more detailed description of each customer type.

Also, for those who do not yet collect this data or can’t be bothered to upload it, there is a “do it yourself” area that asks the owner what his best clients “look like” and then applies that data to the segments and makes a recommendation based on the educated guesswork of the SMB. Emotionally engaging, to be sure, and actionable from a purchase standpoint. 

What does The Sacramento Bee want out of this relationship?

The opportunity to have a conversation with the business decision-maker about how to connect the dots between the report on their most valuable customers and the local media channels that can be best leveraged to drive business.  We want to deliver a proposal, based on the results of the data.

For added conversation value, we have access to lifestyle segmentation through Scarborough Research, so we can tie the retailer’s segment of highest value back to Scarborough information to illustrate tendencies to use particular media channels (national study level for sample stability).

Key points:

  • This is a complimentary approach to the real successes we’ve realised with customer file segmentation analysis at The Bee with larger local accounts (see my November blog, “Sacramento Bee delivers to struggling advertiser”) But individual offline projects are time-intensive and, for that reason, cannot scale.
  • The CustomerLink/Sacramento Bee self-serve approach opens the door to more possibility to scale:
    • The business can very easily upload its file online (in Excel csv format).

    • Resulting reports present the opportunity for more SMBs to take advantage of easily and quickly learning from a great resource, their own customers.

    • By requiring less time from a Bee analyst to do the work, he or she can spend more time interpreting results for meaningful sale proposals. 
  • A conversation about different customer segments that use various media channels lends itself to why we have a diverse portfolio of market-leading digital and print options.

It’s the kind of conversation that can help build business, theirs and ours.

print article send to friend

blog comments powered by Disqus
About this blog

The Innovative Advertising Solutions Blog looks at not only integrated advertising sales for newsmedia companies but the full spectrum of agency-level marketing solutions for advertisers: print, digital, package, and event sales; social media marketing services on behalf of advertisers; and behavioural targeting across a range of digital products.

Meet the bloggers

Lynne Brennen
New Leaf Media Consulting
Montclair, New Jersey, USA
send message

Adam Burnham
Senior Vice President, Interactive Sales and Services
Affinity Express
Elgin, Illinois, USA
send message

Brooke Christofferson
Vice President of Client Strategy
USA Today Network
McClean, Virginia, USA
send message

Philippe Guay
Executive Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
New York, New York, USA
send message

Darrell Kunken
Director of Research/Market Analysis
The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento, California, USA
send message

Wayne Morgan
Digital Director
Norwich, United Kingdom
send message



Blog archives

August 2017 ( 1 )
June 2017 ( 2 )
April 2017 ( 1 )
February 2017 ( 1 )
January 2017 ( 1 )
December 2016 ( 3 )
November 2016 ( 1 )
October 2016 ( 1 )
September 2016 ( 2 )
August 2016 ( 3 )
July 2016 ( 3 )
June 2016 ( 2 )
May 2016 ( 3 )
April 2016 ( 2 )
March 2016 ( 4 )
February 2016 ( 4 )
January 2016 ( 4 )
December 2015 ( 4 )
November 2015 ( 4 )
October 2015 ( 2 )

Join INMA Today
Upcoming Events
INMA Latin American Media Conference
Lima, Peru
20-22 September 2017
INMA Media Viking Week
Oslo, Norway
25-29 September 2017
INMA Connect: Educate, Engage, Experience (E³)
Dallas, United States
26-27 October 2017
INMA Subscription Models Summit (E³)
Dallas, United States
26 October 2017
INMA Video Revenue Summit (E³)
Dallas, United States
27 October 2017
INMA Silicon Valley Study Tour
San Francisco, United States
13-17 November 2017
INMA Global Media Awards
Dallas, United States
26 January 2018

More Events

Member Profiles

  • Bruno Ricard

  • Greg Clay
    United States

  • Thomas Moroney
    United States

  • Rodrigo Prado

  • JoAnna Haugen
    United States

  • Pamela Laycock

©2017 INMA | Home | About | Contact | RSS | Privacy