Washingtonpost.com Mailer Trumpets Online Demographics

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The Washington Post plans to begin its first business-to-business direct mail campaign to generate advertising for washingtonpost.com with mailings to 5,000 to 10,000 ad agencies.

"This is a time when advertisers are trying to figure out what to do with the Internet," said Don Marshall, director of communications at washingtonpost.com, Arlington, VA. "They want to be able to see results fast and know exactly what they are getting for their investment and that they are getting their money's worth."

Media planners are the main targets of the mailing. Marshall said it also will contact some advertisers it has relationships with in hopes of expanding those agreements.

"The list is made up of a lot more prospects than current clients," he said. "We purchased some of the names and compiled the others in-house."

The campaign uses the theme that its site not only gets a lot of traffic -- 5.4 million unique visitors a month, Marshall said -- but that the majority comes from outside the D.C. area.

"We probably could have come up with another way to say it and danced around the facts," he said. "But we felt it was best to just be upfront with the people we were targeting. We looked at the numbers and the audience of our site and felt we could make a good case for saying we are the No. 1 news site."

The front of the postcard mailer tells recipients to "Connect with their audience" and underneath that it provides three categories of people who visit the site: national audience, decision-makers and high-income earners.

The back of the mailer claims that washingtonpost.com is the top news site "for the national audience you want. Affluent. Educated. Influential." Statistics are provided on those visitors, such as 73 percent are college graduates and 39 percent make or influence business purchases.

The call to action is to set up a meeting with the recipient's local sales representative. They are provided with phone numbers for their region of the country as well as a Web address.

Marshall said this direct mail campaign and the print effort that began last month aim to lay the groundwork by identifying the site's audience for potential advertisers and their agencies.

"Subsequent mailings and print efforts will dig deeper and focus more on specific segments of our audience," he said.

Mailings and print efforts are to run through the fall.

Targeting new potential advertisers directly is not part of this campaign, Marshall said, but will be considered for the future.


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