Newspapers use "plot zoning" for more focused advertising
The problem with newspaper ad inserts, some marketers believe, is they're
too unfocused: the real prospects within a paper's readership are few and
far between. But that's changing as newspapers adopt "plot zoning"
breaking their distribution into very small segments that let advertisers
choose precisely which neighborhoods receive their preprints. The segments
are as small as the route covered by a single newspaper carrier, or even
According to an article in Inside Mediamagazine, plot zoning is
newspapers' attempt to fight direct mail, which is grabbing an ever bigger
share of advertising dollars. "By breaking out these discrete shopping
areas, we're able to attract smaller advertisers who are interested in very
distinct customers," a New York Timesexecutive told the magazine.
In Oklahoma City, The Daily Oklahomannow breaks its distribution
into 271 neighborhood plots, each about 1 square mile. This allows advertisers
such as the IGA grocery chain to send inserts to customers within range
of just one IGA store. ZIP code zoning was just too broad for this purpose.
The targeted store attributes its 11% sales increase in the past year in
part to its new ability to reach customers with surgical precision. In fact,
the store has stopped direct mail altogether.
Plot Zoning vs. Direct Mail
Some say plot zoning offers three distinct and valuable advantages over
- It's cheaper, at least in some cases.
- Advertisers know exactly when potential customers will receive their
messages an impossibility with direct mail.
- Newspaper inserts don't carry the stigma of "junk mail."
Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.