In Circulation: Catching up with Kathy Manilla, director of marketing and development, Chicago Tribune

In Circ: Catching up with Kathy Manilla, director of marketing and development, Chicago Tribune

 The Chicago Tribune has seen its share of ups and downs: It has found a new publisher, president and CEO in Tony Hunter (formerly SVP/circulation and operations), had a spat with Google and acquired a majority stake in — and that was only in September.

In its most recent news-making turn, the paper has redesigned and re-launched. Its “It’s a Whole New Day” campaign started on September 22, and the new paper came out on September 29.

DM: What’s the idea behind the “It’s a Whole New Day Campaign?”

KM: We wanted to create buzz around the new product and all the things we’re doing. We wanted to get current readers to pick up the new paper and give us feedback; if they are non-readers we wanted to get trials. We want to acquire brand new people as well as increase the frequency of those we have.

Part of the idea behind “Whole New Day” is that we were reinventing this newspaper.  We thought that tying it into how each day we reinvent the paper would play with consumers, advertisers and employees. It speaks to the future of our city, our paper, our employees and a little bit to the industry in general, so it’s our promise that every day we’ll continue to stay current.

DM: Did you work with any agencies on the campaign?

KM: Rosen and Brichta Advertising and Marketing helped with the creative, and Margie Korshak Inc. is helping execute PR and events.

DM: Why are you giving away free copies on Monday?

KM: We could claim all we want that we’re different and we’ve changed, but no one would really care. The best way to prove it to people is to get samples in their hands, so today is free and for the next week we’re handing out free copies. 

DM: What media are being used in the campaign?

KM: We’re including traditional media as well as nontraditional and a lot of outdoor. We’re using many of our own media assets to get the word out because the combined reach of our holdings is close to 80% of the market. We’re doing a huge campaign called “Take It to the Community,” where we’re going to twenty events now through mid-October and sampling and having editorial columnists attend.  We’re also doing a lot of viral marketing, a lot online on our own site as well as other sites.

We got input on the redesign from focus groups with readers and non-readers and have set up a virtual tour of the redesign on the Web site and sent out e-mails to all subscribers to take the virtual tour and give feedback.

DM: Are there specific markets that you’re trying to reach with this campaign?

KM: We have three targets: the “frenzied family;” the “carefree couple;” and the avid reader. The avid readers are very important to us because they are the core of our current reader base, so we didn’t want to do anything to alienate them. A very specific goal was to add new readers among the families and couples.

DM: What metrics will you use to measure success?

KM: We have a lot of metrics on the circ side that we’ll be using: awareness, trial, retention, frequency, subscriptions. 


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