Tribune Direct : The Magic of Technology

Tribune Direct execs, from left: Tim Street, director of operations; Lou Tazioli, president and general manager; and Tim Klunder, vice president sales and client relations. (Photos: Randy Belice/Tribune Media Group)

Tribune Direct Supervisor Larry Gresham and Support Services Manager Donna Caldarulo examine a job printed on the firm’s Kodak Prosper 5000XL inkjet web press.

Tribune Direct relies on a near-line solution to finish the digital output from its Prosper 5000XL inkjet web press.

Tribune Direct’s Kodak NexPress 2500 digital color press is reloaded with paper.

Tribune Direct prides itself on addressing the needs of local and national clients, the largest vertical of which is retail—grocery, pharmacy, apparel, department stores and automotive. Telecom and financial customers have also enabled Tribune Direct to boost its 2011 revenues to nearly $100 million.

One of its cornerstone offerings is shared mail, “Trib Local Values,” a twice-a-week saturation program in the Chicagoland area that is delivered to non-subscribers of the Tribune newspaper. The advertising vehicle features promotions from local grocery stores, retailers and service firms, and reaches 3.2 million homes during the week and 2.1 million on the weekend. In 2008, Valassis Communications merged its RedPlum ad mail program with Trib Local Values to create a co-branded mail package.

Of all the adjectives that could be used to describe Tribune Direct, “structured” is certainly accurate. It has in place a number of programs designed to make life easier for the client, as well as tools to monitor campaign effectiveness and increase response rates. As Tazioli alluded to, Tribune Direct’s value proposition is a three-pronged attack: direct mail strategy, program management and creative development. Here’s a sample of its wares:

• Gift card marketing program. A card-and-carrier marketing piece that bolsters response rates and ROI. The cards are wallet-friendly, personalized and produce trackable information.

• Check Tracker. The proprietary response system enables marketers to capture, process, warehouse and analyze direct mail responses via the Value Check. It is a coupon consumers use to redeem offers in-store, but it goes through the federal banking system to capture responders’ information.

• On the analytics side, Tribune provides the Execulytics tool that enables clients to locate and target their most responsive prospects. It provides geographic, psychographic and lifestyle traits of consumers.

Be it small or large campaigns—Tribune Direct gets its share of both—full-color, variable data pieces have proven to be a boon for clients and have ratcheted response rates to another level.

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