Most businesses don’t use maps. Decisions like where to open new stores, place advertisements or expand services are made mainly using spreadsheets, charts and “magic” intuition.
I still remember an expansion director of a Bank saying: “I don’t need geomarketing to open new branches, I simply open near the competitors”. Although the logic is not necessarily wrong, it lacks a holistic perspective, missing out on big opportunities.
If this “strategy” could work in the last decade, nowadays businesses are much more complex and competitive. They are online, on the high street, in large shopping centers and small neighborhood shops. Today, people have a bank account in one bank, a credit card from another brand and an app to make payments. People have internet from one provider, mobile phone from another and rent TV channels from third.
This new world of online-offline and any-time-and-space purchases is making Maps even more necessary for businesses to strive and to gain a competitive edge. Location Analytics becomes a vital tool to take advantage of the massive amount of data produced in modern business.
Did you ever try to plot records from a database or a spreadsheet onto a Map? The value created by doing that is way bigger than just a nice picture. Because it allows to combine data from different sources, thanks to a unique feature common for both data sets: Location!
Imagine a spreadsheet with customer data: Name, Address, ZIP code and the average sum spent in your stores. You can sort this data by any of these attributes: by the average amount to see the top and bottom customers; by zip code or even create a pivot table to see how many customers you have by zip code.
Yet, if you put this data on a map, it will automatically speak a whole different language. It answers questions like “Are your customers concentrated in a certain part of town?”. Or “Are the customers in the north higher spenders than those in the south?”
Getting value from location data inside an organization may start by simply making it available to different stakeholders, that traditionally only focus on their own data.
If the Marketing Department of a telecom company can see a map with the amount of network problems that occurred in a certain time period, and the sales areas where they are planning a door to door campaign, they might tweak the message accordingly. This is a simple example of getting better results just by using the internal data of a company.
Dropped calls in a marketing door to door route
Consider a supermarket chain with a loyalty card program that plots its customers on the map. As a result, they could see areas where customers are concentrated and find spots where they are not reaching their target. Should they plot competitor stores, it can help to understand if there’s a direct relation between competitor’s locations and their consumer’s dimension.
Supermarkets competitors vs Income per city block
If a car dealership, when preparing the launch of a new model, plots its existing customers and crosses it with demographic data on a map, it can understand where they have a bigger market share and where they should market the new model. It’s better to spend half of the budget on a door-to-door action in a few areas with high potential than randomly across the city.
So, how can a company start using Location Analytics in their decisions?
Many experts say that it’s necessary to create a system with multiple data integrations, expensive software, Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning, and Big Data. If this conversation is looking like a buzzword wonderland, well…it is. But the only purpose is to get them out of the way and focus on what really matters: enable users and decision-makers – that currently don’t have an easy way to see their data on map.
A simple exercise to start getting real value from Location Analytics:
Step 1: Plot your store locations on a map
Step 2: Identify and plot your competitors
Step 3: Plot you current customers (by zip code or address)
Step 4: Take actionable conclusions.
Having said that, if you need help, just reach to anyone at Mapidea. It’s our goal to help every business to use Location Analytics and maps in their everyday decisions, just like we use Google Maps in our personal lives.