Web maps can add tremendous value to direct marketing processes by providing fast geographic customer visualizations, territory management options, and route-planning. Web mapping software is a widely available and affordable cloud services solution that can improve marketing response rates and helps drive results.
Direct marketing is so intimately connected with addresses, streets, zip codes, and jurisdictions; it seems unbelievable that web map services are not used more by marketing professionals. If you don’t add web mapping software to your array of marketing tools then your business may be missing a competitive edge.
Common applications of web maps for direct marketing include the creation of marketing and sales territories, tracking deliveries by zip code, and the visualization of measured results by zip code or county. But there are many advanced direct marketing strategies that web mapping makes possible.
Testing your marketing approach is a proven strategy that improves overall direct marketing results. Web mapping software can add geographic categories to your campaign testing, helping to speed up the process and fine tune response rates. A good start is simply importing your complete prospect and/or customer lists and observing where the greatest densities of clients or potential clients are located. Visualization of target customer/prospect locations can quickly help determine an area of market focus. Perhaps testing in one or more rural and urban areas at the same time will reveal interesting response trends? Perhaps testing counties vs. zip codes is more effective?
A few years back, I worked for a consumer GPS company. We found, through testing, that response rates to consumer direct mail campaigns were higher in areas with more extreme topography. Not all geographic test results will be so directly related to mapping, but testing your product or service based on geographic categories will often reveal surprising outcomes, or perhaps confirm suspected ones.
Web maps can be an effective way to target your direct marketing activity to a specific segment of your audience. A full prospect list, imported and displayed on a web map, is a pool of potential recipients for your messages and calls to action. By segmenting a prospect list geographically you can fine tune your message to appeal to a regional audience – to regions as small as zip codes. Regional segmentation can be very effective for products with variations that may sell better in specific areas. For instance, certain flavors of chewing gum may sell better in Louisiana while others sell better in New England. A variable message matched to regional tastes may drive more effective response rates. Additionally, price discounting can be applied by region to encourage the sale of products outside of the areas where they traditionally dominate.
An example regional marketing need might be: which metropolitan areas outside of New England are more likely to purchase Boston Red Sox merchandise?
Web mapping software offers a variety of ways to segment purchased prospect lists or in house customer lists. Radius maps or radius searches are a basic tool offered by the best web mapping software solutions. A radius search is when you draw a circle, at varying radii, around a section of your imported data. The search results can be exported to third party applications.
Thinking baseball again use your business mapping application’s radius search tool or radius map to create zip code areas within fifty miles of six large baseball cities. Any prospect accounts that fall within these zip codes are targets for direct marketing test campaigns.
Another approach to list segmentation is to filter your prospect data by county, zip code, or state regions. Some web map applications will allow a filtered search of your total prospecting database. Returning to our Red Sox example again, in your map application select your prospecting database and filter the data by those target zip code areas around metropolitan centers. Now your test data will reflect only the zip codes you chose to review. Filtering your data by zip code, or county, can expose areas where response rates are particularly low, perhaps skewing results of the whole test.
Analysis of your direct marketing test areas can be expanded by adding Census data to your selected target areas. Census demographic data is specifically organized by zip code, county and state, making it extremely user friendly for web mapping users. A few clicks within your mapping application will reveal population densities and average house hold incomes for your most critical prospecting zip codes. Perhaps there are densely populated zip codes with higher average household incomes you haven’t tested yet?
Many mapping applications will analyze zip code and county demographic breakdowns. This provides a quick way to show the zip codes with the highest amount of expendable income – ripe for Red Sox paraphernalia. A quick query by county regarding the population density at a specific age bracket can provide an array of target markets for a new product. Will Blue Red Sox hats sell better in Maine or Florida? And will they do better with teens or octogenarians? A good web mapping application can help visualize the market targets and the results. You can save your marketing results as web maps for quick visual references. Name the file, “Red Sox Nation – True of False?”
Web mapping cloud services are common today. The term “Cloud Services” implies the application is easy-to-use, required IT support is minimal, and overall application costs are low. With a little shopping you can find all the functionality we’ve talked about in this white paper plus the security you require to protect your data.
So whether you’re a small, in-house direct marketing organization or a large consulting firm supporting many clients, there are web maps available to support your work flows and to help measure and improve your direct marketing results.
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