Top 5 Reasons Your Boss is Wrong to Not Replace Microsoft MapPoint Now

I know, your boss is a great guy but he’s notoriously cheap. He skimps on expenses until the end of the year, then he spends what’s left in his budget on anything and everything during the month of December.  What an innovative manager.

I can hear him now, “I spent $350 on MapPoint in 2008. That’s enough to spend on a mapping application.”  Unfortunately, it’s not. Not if you believe that business mapping software has value for business visualization, territory design, and strategic analysis.

Perhaps your boss should explain to his boss why the company business maps are no longer accurate and, in many cases, no longer useful to your company’s planning processes? I’m sure the C-suite execs will love the fact that your boss saved the company $200.

For a decade MapPoint provided a wonderful business mapping software. But Microsoft grew weary of maintaining the software and paying the licensing fees for map data and demographic data. Now, if your company wants to conduct location-based business analysis or build sales territories, they’ll need to move forward with a new map provider with updated data and enhanced feature sets. Here’ why:

  1. MapPoint Map Data is Obsolete

Microsoft eliminated MapPoint in 2014. But it stopped upgrading the application five years prior to cancelation. So, any maps you created since 2009 using MapPoint are subject to ever-increasing errors. ZIP codes are old, addresses are old, demographic data is obsolete. No mapping application is perfect because data does change; streets change, numbering sequences get updated, ZIP codes get renamed. It’s a challenge to keep up. But that’s what business mapping applications do. If you build a territory using MapPoint today you are creating a problem.

  1. MapPoint Was Never Cloud-Based

Your boss paid a one-time fee for that MapPoint desktop version, as opposed to a subscription. But that means the chances are good that no software updates or data updates have been installed since. New business mapping applications are Cloud-based. Cloud services do not require intensive data uploads or software updates via CD’s or downloads.  Cloud service updates happen behind the scenes while you’re in bed (or asleep at your desk, as the case may be.) Cloud services also mean you can log in from any computer anywhere.

  1. Sales Territory Mapping

MapPoint was a great tool in its day. Features like territory mapping were wonderful. But about fifteen years ago, MapPoint sales territory map innovation stopped.  New Cloud-based mapping applications offer advanced sales territory mapping capabilities that enable easy territory creation and updates can be made on the fly.  Import spreadsheets that define sales territories. Balance sales territories using demographic data or imported sales activity.  Sales territory mapping defines goals and accountability for sales organizations. That’s too important a role to leave in the hands of ten-year-old software.

  1. Sales Planning Tools

MapPoint gave away a lot of routing functionality.  MapPoint users who built fleet tracking tools using the MapPoint API will require replacement software costing tens of thousands of dollars. But for most sales planners and traveling salespeople using MapPoint to plan daily or weekly routes, new cloud-based mapping services are the perfect replacement. Optimized routing with multi-point stop-off creation of up to 150 points is standard in most sales routing tools. These tools include time windows support, route avoids, and the ability to export route files in various formats.

  1. Business Analysis

Businesses use mapping software to supplement all sorts of business planning and analysis. There’s a growing understanding of the power of location-based analysis, especially when applied to strategic planning, sales analysis, market studies, and competitive analysis. It’s not acceptable to simply live without these map-based visualizations just because Microsoft decided it was out of the mapping game.

Cloud-based business mapping applications offer demographic overlays, potential market analysis, NAICS industry segment analysis, business listings, and many more versions of business analysis.

Business maps provide critical views of customers, opportunities, competitors, resources, and assets in the field. Don’t let your boss live another day without the aid of business mapping software.

Be the office hero and re-introduce your business to the power of business mapping, today.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

 

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Why Manufacturing Organizations Use Business Mapping

I have no idea how to make a widget. I haven’t a clue as to how to extrude plastic, stamp out metal parts, create a nonwoven web, or design and build mass quantities of consumer kitchen devices. But I know that manufacturing plants have a need for business mapping software.

I know this because here at Map Business Online we get the calls every day from managers and associates who work in manufacturing, within support departments such as sales, marketing, product planning, and executive management.

These support organizations are tasked with designing products, selling products, marketing products, and determining the direction of the overall company. Business maps help these folks turn spreadsheets of customer and product information into actionable business analysis that encourages forward thinking.

The Glory Boys & Girls in Sales

Those widgets you made last month have to be sold. While it’s tempting for production folks to think of salespeople as glad-handers who get to go out to dinner all the time, they actually have to plan their business activity to achieve their “astounding” results. Sales professionals use business mapping tools to:

  • Establish sales territories that define areas of sales accountability. Sales territories are a platform for sharing sales goals and clarifying who’s responsible for achieving those goals in specific areas. That sharing platform could be the place where your product features and benefits are drilled into the heads of hungry salespeople.
  • Create customer maps that overlay sales territories with customer locations, perhaps defining the type of customer and their required visit frequency.
  • View overlays of prospects, potential customers that could help expand sales achievements as time allows. Prospects are the new customers that blow away goals and objectives. Demographic data overlays create the profile of your best selling area and are used as the template for defining new markets.
  • Analyze product popularity by area of interest. Understanding where and why products sell is critical to expanding the coverage area of a business or product.
  • Replace obsolete and inaccurate Microsoft MapPoint. (Folks – this tool has been dead for four years. Move on.)

Choose Your Spatial Search Approach

Ineffable Marketing

Sales departments have a partner department called marketing.  While at times businesses are unable to accurately measure response rates to many marketing campaigns, should your executive team ever decide to eliminate your marketing group you may find the sales team on the roof of the factory ready to end-it-all.

Marketing is difficult to measure but necessary both for campaign generation and branding. In many ways, the modern business marketplace is all about marketing, not sales. If you sell a product using Google AdWords processes you know exactly what I mean. 90% of our sales occur with almost no interaction.   That’s the online world we live in.

Marketing departments apply business mapping to a variety of analysis:

  • Track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by ZIP code or county.
  • Explore market potential and define the addressable market by monitoring sales activity, demographic make-up, and customer responses by ZIP code and then extrapolating these results to similar ZIP codes around the nation.
  • Develop an optimum ZIP code demographic profile and mail or email marketing campaigns to those areas with the most potential.
  • Track marketing campaign results by geography and time to determine appropriate intervals between periodic campaigns.

The C-Suite

Change is constant and for that reason, executive teams are all about strategic vision and process measurement. They’ll be interested in all the sales and marketing business maps that track results. In addition to hiring and firing, company executives are thinking about the future. Execs use business maps to:

  • Present the results of vision planning against a geographic background. These vision maps are perfect for expansion planning or moving an operation from county to county or even country to country.
  • Develop resource planning maps in support of strategic planning. Critical resources laid out on a map offer instance validation for plans supporting a change in direction.
  • SWOT maps provide geographic resonance to strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis. Often these critical SWOT elements come with a built-in location component. SWOT maps can be built on top of resource map data to display a bigger picture.

In the grow or die reality of American manufacturing, your team needs every single edge it can muster to assure the business continues to expand at a healthy pace. Business mapping software is a tool that serves a multiplicity of purposes across the entire manufacturing business.

Your plant and product may be more or less location-based than other businesses, but you’ll be better off having a few key managers or associates capable of building basic business maps to dig deeper into your daily and long-term challenges.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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SpatialTEQ Inc. Releases Map Business Online 5.2 – Congressional District Layer & Map Layer Updates

Noted below is Tuesday’s press release announcing MBO 5.2.

CORNISH, ME (June 27, 2018) — SpatialTEQ Inc., publisher of North America’s most popular business mapping software, today announces the release of Map Business Online(MBO) 5.2, a variety of enhancements and updates including the addition of a congressional district map layer expanding the use of Map Business Online’s location-based business analysis capability into the realm of politics.

  • ZIP Code Layer Update – The Map Business Online 5.2 release includes an updated ZIP code map layer. ZIP codes now incorporate the most recent USPS releases. The 5.2 ZIP code update repairs anomalies in a previous release, attributable to source data.
  • New Zip Code Fillers – Also included in the 5.2 ZIP code update will be a new ZIP code filler process. MBO ZIP code fillers allow the creation of uniform color-shaded sales territories across state and federal lands, such as national parks, that are not associated with ZIP codes. The new filler system assigns a local ZIP code to any filled areas in a territory, replacing MBO’s previous filler naming convention for easier and faster territory color-shading of non-ZIP code areas.
  • Congressional District Map Layer – MBO users can now access Congressional Districts from the MBO premium layer options. The new political layer is available to team and annual subscribers of Map Business Online. The Congressional Districts map layer is intended for use in territory creation and area-of-interest analysis. Political maps, complete with demographic analysis, are now possible using MBO 5.2.

Congressional Districts by Median Income

  • Updated 2018 Demographic Projections – MBO 5.2 includes 2018 demographic data projections from Geolytics. 2017 and 2018 demographic categories are projection data, while previous years are direct Census derived categories.
  • Updated USA School District Layer – MBO 5.2 includes the latest updates to elementary, secondary, and consolidated school district map layers (a premium layer option.)
  • Single Sign-on Support – (Available in July) MBO 5.2 will provide alternative login options for MBO user groups. Single Sign-on (SSO) is now a login option for Map Business Online users, simplifying enterprise user access and offering a more streamlined IT Department set-up process. This new login technology also enables MBO login via Facebook and Google Plus social media accounts.
  • 4K Screen Resolution – With this latest product release Map Business Online will also support 4K horizontal screen resolution.

 

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Appending Data to Your Business Map

Often, when we build a business map, we create it from a location-based dataset describing our business in some way.  But even after our map is complete, we may want to add new data to our project – business data that didn’t exist when the map was created.

Here are a few suggestions around adding data to an already existing business map.

Append the New Data to a Label

If the additional data you’ve got has a location component – an address, a state, a ZIP code – it can be imported into MBO. From there you can append columns of that data to map layer labels and territory labels in your map.

A common example of this would be adding sales activity by street address to an existing sales territory map. All those sales records can be aggregated by county, state, ZIP code or even across an entire territory.

Expanded label functionality related to map layers will allow up to five columns of data to be reflected in a label.  In other words, your label can be expanded to reflect five fields of additional data. It could be a phone number, sales figures, a sales rep, or a product name.

Import a Point Layer

Sometimes the additional imported data has a location component, but the data isn’t appropriate for a map layer label. You can always import the new data to your map and leave the point visible and the labels associated with those points turned off. Then a map viewer can hover over or click on the point to get more information.

There are a few ways to do this subtly. You could make your point layer symbols very small so that the data points have minimal impact on the map view but are still barely visible. The data is still there to click on, but it is only utilized when that particular data is needed. You’re always able to select a point and view the associated data in the Data Window. Try it – click a point on the map and notice that data is now highlighted in the data window view. Ultimately this lets the user reference more than just five field options of a label – if you select the point you’ve got the Data Window record highlighted. This means all the data in your imported spreadsheet is there for viewing – up to 64 columns of it.

Above and beyond simple labeling options and Data Window views, by importing additional data layers you can pull columns of the new data into your Territory Analysis and data Summarizations by geography.

Remember: imported data is always accessible in Map Business Online for analysis. You’ll see it in data drop-downs in the following places:

  • The Data Window – view your entire imported data file within MBO
  • Color Code Map Layers and Points – Color shade a map layer based on data you’ve imported
  • Territory Analysis – That’s the Data Window view of your territory. This would be a place to use sales numbers to balance territories
  • Summary Buttons – Whenever you see that sideways W that’s a summary option, and your imported data is one option for summarizing, which creates an exportable spreadsheet
  • Market Analysis – Compare two different imported data layers or a query result. Derive distances between locations or appended demographic data to imported data. Define an addressable market.
  • Calculate Data Columns – Combine data columns or multiply and divide data columns. Create ratios between your imported data and MBO demographic data, then access the results in all the above places

Use the Unique ID Feature

You can be proactive about future data if the data you add is simply more of what you originally imported. Map Business Online offers a Unique ID field in the import process. If you provide a Unique ID field in your imported data that field enables a data update function. In this way, you’ll be able to semi-automate data updates. Simply follow the update path to update your MBO imported data layer. See this blog.

If you do decide to use the Unique ID process for updates, consider adding a few extra columns to your initial dataset. This will give you the flexibility to add columns to future updates. Just a suggestion.

Business mapping is all about your location data. Even if your map is complete or months old,  it can still be updated and improved.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Know Your Map Audience

Color Shading Your Subjective Map – The Webinar

Last week I gave a Map Business Online webinar. Putting on a webinar is not the easiest thing in the world to do. There’s a lot of technology that comes together to create a webinar. I struggle with it. Maybe it’s the realm of people younger than thirty?

For a person who grew up with the Three Stooges on Sunday morning TV and Captain Kangaroo being harangued by Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose on weekday mornings, webinars are difficult.

At any rate, this time I shared my “browser window” instead of my second monitor. This meant my additional browser views were a blank screen for most viewers.  So, I re-recorded the Webinar with the appropriate views and I have it attached above.

Thank you for your patience as I learn by trial and error. Hopefully, we’re all learning something about business mapping despite my Circa 1965 grasp on technology. Somebody is going to drop a box of ping-pong balls on my head.

But let’s talk about our map audience. We all have them…

Your Map Audience

Who is going to be viewing and working with your business map?  This is a critical factor to keep in mind as you create map-based business models. Creating an effective business map entails knowing the answers to these three critical questions:

  • Why are you creating this business map? What is the map’s purpose?
  • Who is going to be viewing and using your map?
  • How are the map viewers going to be applying your map?

By understanding these three aspects of your business mapping audience you will become a better map creator and more of an asset to your organization.

What is the map’s purpose?

The reason for a business map could be simple or it could be complex. It could be a basic map, displaying a basic coverage area for field-work. Perhaps your map is a selection of ZIP codes that are color shaded. Or it could be a complex sales territory map that combines a coverage area map with of regions of accountability and sets up company goals and objectives for monthly results meetings.

The two maps I described above could cover the same set of ZIP codes, but their purpose and use are completely different. The complex map will require more mapping skills to build an effective map. it is likely the more complex map will require more map layers. You’ll need to be clear in territory assignments and you’ll want to include goal definitions in labeling. Map Business Online will help you do all of that.

The purpose of the first map is simply to display a coverage area to a random map viewer. Pretty basic.  For the second, the more sophisticated map audience requires more information. The map needs to be informative with more detail but with no distracting messages and minimal clutter. Text labels must be succinct. The map should be easy-on-the-eyes.

Who Will Be viewing the Map?

At times understanding the exact person viewing your map could help, like if it’s the president of the company, but for the most part, think of your map audience as a group. Examples of map viewing audiences might be:

  • The executive team – These people are short on time and will want to get to the point quickly. They appreciate well thought out proposals but will sour on inaccurate data or pointless and long presentations.
  • A sales team – These guys will want to see sales and customers. Sales goals may or may not be critical to the map. They will use your map as a platform for sales discussions. Encourage team-building through your map statements unless the company culture prefers competition between participants.
  • Customer purchase decision makers – This group will be wary of a sales pitch. Keep map statements honest and fact-based. Do not bash the competition. Be crystal clear with any price discussions – no approximations. If you can’t be clear and concise on a map, don’t put it on the map.
  • Engineers – These people think they can create a better solution than you. Make sure your data is accurate. Stick to one or two main points. If you over complicate your map they will have fun poking holes in your presentation. (Don’t marry an engineer or a person with an engineer father unless you want a personal life filled with instructions.*)
  • Call center – Your maps should be helpful to their process. Call center reps are measured on performance; focus on making their lives easier and more productive.
  • A town meeting – Maps for this audience should be basic, with no room for interpretation. If you’ve been called in to present for a town meeting, refuse. If you accept, bring mace.

The above examples are audiences that could be reading your map or viewing your map as a presentation. I am sure there are many more types of audiences you could be catering to. Seek to understand a little about what motivates them before you build your map.

How Will the Audience Apply Your Business Map?

Ask questions about how a map will be used. Will the map be an online reference for a ZIP code lookup? This is a common call center application.  In the above ZIP code case, your map should minimize the presence of other map layers, keeping things focused on a ZIP code level.

Will the map be used for sales meetings and account discussions? This could mean that a presenter is using the business mapping application itself to display a shared map. Here your map should contain pertinent data layers that can be turned off but still remain at the ready in case they come up in discussion.

By aggregating sales data in map layer labels and territory labels, progress towards goals can be easily shared and digested by your team. Don’t try to present too many details – let the account managers bring their own details to their discussion. Your job is to present an outline that will stimulate discussion.

Is your map providing business analysis for a strategic plan for a group of business decision makers? Once again, bring major themes to the map but don’t go too far into detail.  Import what supporting location-based data you can to address critical areas, leaving most layers turned off at presentation time.

In the subjective process of business mapping, apply your understanding of your audience and your business, to your map work. Make your business map a statement on your professionalism and your value to the organization you work for.

*With apologies to my wife’s family of engineers.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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How Your Business Map is Subjective

The Map Business Online Map Gallery

Business mapping software is used to solve problems, define business areas of interest, and to assign areas of responsibility. Business maps are also used to present strategic plans based on geography. A business map might also be used to describe competitors or to outline business expansions plans.

However you use business mapping software, the map you make is your creation. As such, it is a subjective work reflecting your style and approach to mapping the particular issue at hand. You will choose the look and feel of the business map based on your understanding of your business, the map’s intended purpose, and the company’s preferred presentation styles.

Map Business Online is your palette as well as your brush and paint source if you don’t mind the painting analogy. You will use this set of tools, included in your business mapping software, to create a map that meets your map objective. This means you will spend a good amount of time developing a map style as you go through your map process.  Keep this in mind as your work progresses.

Certain aspects of your map are what they are. You may have very little control over the data you import. And your boss may specify that she wants to see the map as a heat map. In these cases, you will do your best to meet their requirements, while keeping in mind that their guidance may, in fact, be contrary to the development of an effective map. You may need to take liberties with their direction but certainly explore their requirements first.

Your Business Data Imports

Consolidate like datasets where you can for map clarity. For instance, don’t import one dataset of customer locations and another dataset of customer-sales, also by location. Consolidate these two very similar datasets for map efficiency and, more importantly, for map viewer simplification.  Always seek KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simple beats complex in maps and in presentations.

Use the map application to rename odd-ball database names so the naming conventions add value to your map. Don’t confuse people with file names, enlighten them with succinct descriptive phrases.

Select symbols that are business-like and unobtrusive. Don’t distract from your business intention by trying to display clever symbols. However, do import logos or symbols that imply obvious data relationships – as long as that relationship or business is critical to your map’s business intent.  For example, don’t use an “organic” company logo to be hip or impress the new vegan guy, use it because the presentation you are giving demonstrates the proliferation of organic food suppliers over the last ten years.  Forget about the vegan guy.

Color Shading Map Layers

Use imported data or demographic data to color shade map layers. In general, map layer color shading, which some refer to as heat mapping, should underscore a major point your making in a map presentation.

I tend to use point layers or heat map layers to make major map statements. Color-coded ZIP codes or counties usually support my statement with relevant and accurate values driving the color fill.

However, I would use a map layer for my map statement if the map layer was part of that statement. For instance, if the map purpose was to show the increase of murder rates by ZIP code across an area, well then, use the ZIP code layer to describe your point.  Especially, if the murder rate is for vegan’s only. (More senseless vegan humor.)

Your Map’s Look and Feel

Business maps reflect your style and your company’s culture. When choosing symbols, an understated map stylist will choose circles and triangles, as opposed to icons. The less obtrusive symbols will not distract from your map statement. They may instead lend a sense of professionalism to your map work.

That said, using a building icon or an airplane icon to represent facilities on your map may be the most effective way to reference infrastructure on your business map. Know your audience. A team of sales executives may be up to their eye-balls in your company’s sales stats, requiring just a label to understand a sales map layer, but they may need a whack upside the head to comprehend “Airports.”

Sketch Map for Map Gallery

Pastel Colors vs. Bold & Bright

I prefer the Map Business Online National Geographic background map for its mellower colors. The satellite background map is also appropriate at times for its dark hues. These darker shades can sometimes highlight dot density maps better than a street-level detail map background might.  Try different background maps.

I believe color shading should not use bright colors unless the map is deliberately trying to get people’s attention. For general business maps, I seek pastel colors, softer shades that are easy-on-the-eyes.   For emergency meetings addressing surprise concerns, I might go with bright and bold colors, with sharp and thicker border colors.  All tweak-able within the Map Business Online Map & Data controls.

As always, these decisions are personal choices. My main point in bringing all this to your attention is to make you aware that with Map Business Online, you have a tool that gives you options for how you approach your map work.  Develop a style that suits your business, helps accentuate your map statement, and makes you look like a competent professional in the process. Regardless of your stance on veganism.

I’ll be digging into subjective mapping more on our webinar tomorrow, at 11:00 AM EST – webinar registration.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Say it with a Business Map

Business mapping doesn’t solve all problems, but it can sometimes lend a new perspective on that nasty problem your business has been trying to solve for a while, with no luck.

Problems come in all shapes and sizes. Business mapping software can’t claim to fix a leaky faucet in the upstairs bathroom, but business mapping could expose relationships surrounding an epidemic of leaky faucets across an entire city.

The applications for business mapping and GIS are very horizontal. That means almost all industries can apply online business mapping to their business challenges.

Law Enforcement Agency

A police department might use business mapping to plan the entire years’ list of driving-while-intoxicated check points. These DUI Checkpoints might be determined based on traffic patterns, a history of violations, and perhaps by choosing a new spot for a check-point to add the element of surprise.  I have no idea. But, those are all location data related factors that would help the authorities say it with a business map.

The process would include uploading a list of location addresses or coordinates to an accurate business map. With all those locations represented as points on the map, officers can view possible stop locations that make the most sense strategically.  They might view the street data and select traffic stop-points that avoid a major traffic jam, allow room for processing questionable drivers, and provide minimal escape routes.

The DUI map can be saved as a tracking document for past and future DUI check points. Business maps are fantastic record keeping devices. Imagine the feeling of contentment officers will feel viewing the past five years of drunk driving checkpoints map.

Insurance Company

Large and small insurance firms record their claims data around location-based events (hurricanes, fires) and the locations of insured assets using business maps. Problems described by a business map might include risk assessments by zone or tracking mitigation and remediation by disaster area.

We all know the USA Gulf Coast residential housing stock has had some serious risk assessment insurance analysis applied over the last decade. Insurance companies are way ahead of the current Federal government when it comes to climate change assessment because rising sea levels are a major factor in their business future. Forget the current Environmental Protection Agency, real science is being conducted and appreciated in the insurance business. They are saying it with insurance business maps.

Insurance assessments include reviews of risks based on weather, crime and other hazards to home values.  Business maps are an excellent way to visualize actual property values and risks by claim or asset, and then roll those risks up into area-based risk portfolios. Use business maps to explore insurance risks by area, demographic category, and human activity.

In addition to risk analysis, insurance business apply MBO territory alignment tools towards field claims management. Claims territory mapping helps balance adjuster workloads and track progress overall.

Further, insurance companies use aerial imagery, including drone collected imagery, to monitor site work and remediation contractor activity. Drones can come pretty close to providing real-time awareness to busy claims adjusting organizations. Map Business Online can be used to track those drone collected portfolios. Contact us to explore how your insurance company can say it with a business map.

Chemical Company

Speaking of risk, if you run a chemical company it will help you sleep at night if your company has a pretty good idea of where all their chemicals are stored and an accurate awareness of what dangerous chemicals are on the road at any point in time.

Business mapping is used to create facility maps that track product by warehouse. Regularly updated inventory levels can display allowable levels of chem-storage supporting seasonal or market-driven chemical requirements by region.  Color-coded symbolizations on a business map depict where dangerously high levels of chemical storage may be occurring.

Being aware that an overabundance of any dangerous chemical by area will help mitigate risks across a storage network. Awareness is half the battle, enabling supplies to be regulated and sales efforts to be ramped up, as storage levels are equalized. Chemical managers say it with business mapping.

Using Drive Time Visualizations to Analyze Shipping

Government Agency

Sure, any decent size Government Agency may have access to a full-on GIS department dedicated to creating in-depth maps of agency doings. But they probably won’t prioritize your piddly business maps. It is a fact of life that GIS departments have a waiting list of maps to contend with and like many waiting lists, low-priority requirements get shuffled to the side.

So, Government Agencies, just like regular businesses turn to affordable and easy-to-use business mapping software to get the maps they need in short order.

In our experience, Government mapping requirements include a variety of challenges:

  • Identifying municipal waste management drop-off and pick-up locations, both for public awareness and for operational review.
  • Managing travel arrangements for Federal Employees. This is a big job and territory maps help to organize who purchases travel for what employees. Favored and approved hotels and restaurants are color-coded on business maps for easy reference. Maps are shared to keep all constituents updated on travel status.
  • Education departments use business mapping to visualize student participation levels by school system and school buildings. Demographic analysis is included to help project future faculty and facility requirement by town or administrative district. And don’t forget bus routes. No school system map analysis is complete without a bus operation route, complete with pick-up and drop-off locations for all the kids in the district.

Government customers of Map Business Online are some of the most dedicated workers we speak with. Career employees with an eye on efficiency, they ride below the political radar keeping the business of government moving forward, in part by saying it with a business map.

Call Center Business

Whether you’re outbound calling to survey populations for political parties or simply picking up the phone to take orders for ShamWow!, your call center probably tracks your work on a business map.

Call Centers like to break incoming or outbound calling into territory segments.  The geographic segmentation units or map layers will vary based on project or sell-type. Often call centers apply ZIP code maps. Each territory is assessed for demographic sales potential which helps to allocate appropriate people-power or call center reps to the project.

Call centers often set-up call assignment shared business maps.  These maps can ingest an inbound or outbound call’s ZIP code for map placement and territory assignment, helping to track call representative progress as they move through a list of targets.  Shared business maps can also be used to balance incoming call response loads by area of responsibility.

 

The Traveling Salesperson

Salespeople work for companies, and sometimes the company decides which mapping tools or territory management software will be applied. Map Business Online is a great fit for a top-down, company driven sales territory tool, but it also works for lone-wolf traveling salespeople looking to better organize their days and weeks.

A typical lone-wolf traveling salesperson will use business mapping to do the following:

  • Import and visualize all existing customers by location. In some cases, salespeople will adjust color coding based on visit recency. They can also track visits by date. Typically, salespeople will want to keep a running tally of sales dollars achieved by account, on a business map.
  • Create and track their specific area of company responsibility on an accessible map view. This process allows the remote traveling salesperson to synch-up their understanding of territory accountability with their boss.
  • Import and view all prospective accounts. Prospects are where your stretch goal achievement is going to come from. These future customers will be the accounts a salesperson will turn to when planned visits get canceled during your trip.
  • Generate multi-stop routes that match call schedule requirements. Salespeople can route sales calls for travel efficiency or in an order that matches their unique in-the-field requirements.

No matter what industry you hail from you’ll find importing your location data into a business map will help you solve problems, improve efficiencies, or track progress. Join the crowd saying it with a rubber biscuit.

Just checking to see if you’re still reading. Say it with a business map!

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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What is an Area of Interest?

In Map Business Online, we treat areas of interest and territories the same. By that I mean, you use the exact same tools to create an “area of interest” as you would a “territory.”  So, what is the difference between these two area concepts in business mapping?

An Area of Interest

I look at an area of interest in the same way a cop looks at a suspect as a person of interest. I’m not married to the idea of permanently declaring that area as a territory, any more than a cop might consider a suspect to be the perpetrator, until the case is iron clad.

In marketing, an area of interest is a roughly defined area that may be a significant source of future business. But that area needs to be fully vetted to determine its real potential and its real extent. Until we know more, it’s simply an area and we have some interest in it.

That interest could have been generated by a sale of a product or service that suddenly occurred from an untapped area for no reason. This happens in business. It could have been the result of a series of inquiries, a few sales calls, or perhaps a change in business ownership caused a stir in an area. Who knows?

A Territory

A territory, or as often is the case, a sales territory, is a specific geography used to define an area of responsibility. By defining a territory, a business has determined that particular area will be subject to marketing and sales efforts, or perhaps some sort of field support, on a regular basis.

A territory usually includes defined accountability.  A specific set of people are responsible for making sure the company conducts a set of activities that lead to inquiries or sales from the territory.

While a territory is distinct from an area of interest as discussed above, Map Business Online handles both  area concepts in the same way.

Both area entities are created either by:

  • Importing a spreadsheet of geographies (ZIP codes, counties, etc.) and an associated area name
  • Selecting an incremental list of geographies until the area is built, and naming it
  • Selecting a group of geographies with a polygon of some sort, and naming it

An Area of Interest vs. A Territory Map

Data Analysis Related to an Area

Once created, your area of interest becomes a repository for associated location-based data. Map Business Online provides a Data Window view of any territory.  You’ll notice the data we automatically provide. By clicking More Data, the user may remove or add data at will. This dataset is associated with the territory at hand and becomes the model for all other territories created in that map, using the same base map layer.

In this way, a Map Business Online area of interest becomes a template for new market development across the map field. Usually the same products, activities or marketing approaches work for all areas of interest, meaning your data analysis can be applied anywhere. Share those map views with other marketing and sales associates to explore growth strategies or to solicit feedback.

Territory data analysis gets down to brass tacks. Use imported or demographic data to establish what constitutes a valid territory in your business.  Is it existing sales? Or does population by ZIP code hold more weight in your definition of a territory?  A lot may depend on whether your business is B2B or B2C.

Once your territories are established, imported sales data and prospect data will be used to monitor progress and establish new goals and objectives by territory.

Remember, in Map Business Online these area views can become a data analysis tool that over lays a wide variety of location-based data:

  • Customer data, prospect data or any address based dataset
  • Calculated data columns (accessed in Map and Data) that reflect compilations of datasets or ratios between and sums of two datasets
  • Demographic data categories included with MBO
  • NAICS industry segment data available for MBO through RealDatasets
  • Any other location-based data set pertinent to your business

So whether your need is a simple visualization, the development of an area of interest, this years version of a long-standing nationwide territory scheme, Map Business Online will provide the tools to get your area into focus.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

 

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What is Location-Based Business Data?

The terms location-based data, geodata, business data are interchangeable, in my opinion. For newbies to business mapping these terms may be intimidating. Like asking a person to attend the prom with you or having to present a third grade oral book report. No? Well, trust me. For some, location-based business data is intimidating.

Usually Map Business Online customers import location data related to customers or sales. That typically means a business’s geodata represents a customer’s address or ZIP code. Sales dollars are often included in a separate column for color coding. But those extra data columns could be all sorts of stuff – products, costs of goods, contact information, or even birthdays. With the data imported, a business can visualize customers and the associated sales dollars, perhaps aggregating data by ZIP code or territory for display of numeric totals on the map.

Location data can mean many things depending upon your business. Someone new to business mapping might ask themselves, what aspects of my business constitutes location-based data? Here are some examples:

Sports Team Marketing Data
A marketing manager of an NFL franchise might be very interested in viewing their business as a marketing map visualization. In their case, the location datasets could be:

  • All the NFL affiliated stadium locations across the country. These locations could be the center point for market area definition. Once imported into the business map, drive time analysis could be applied to further define realistic marketing areas.
  • Actual NFL ticket subscribers by address could be another location-based dataset. However, these could total millions of customers making imports more difficult and visualizations overwhelming. Perhaps an analysis based on known demographics would be just as enlightening. Extend that thought – there maybe NFL specific demographics, like the number of Americans with active 401K’s who attend games, by ZIP code that could be imported for color shaded views. Who knows?
  • Ticket buyer surveys may help define the average drive time buyers are willing to drive to take in an NFL game. Flyers in local newspapers and media advertising can be directed to those specific drive time areas, covering a broad section of the population well, but limiting marketing spend to likely buyers.
  • Trusted hotel locations around the nation with associated key transportation points could be very helpful in logistical planning for traveling teams.

Vending Statistics
Vending machines are carefully monitored to assess what candy moves and what items sit unsold. Machines are likely tracked by latitude and longitude coordinates or even GPS.

  • Machine location data can be uploaded into a map for demographic analysis or analysis by facility type. Which candy items sell the best in a school location? How about in a hospital? Assisted living centers tend to sell a lot of Rolaids and hard candies but not so many Milky Ways due to denture loss (maybe?).
  • Refrigeration statistics can be monitored to assure proper cooling is applied to certain soda and juice selections.
  • Machine triggers can be established to monitor trouble areas for vandalism and theft by location.
  • Business map users can create optimized multi-stop vehicle routes to organize vending machine systems checks.

Construction Site Monitoring

Monitoring construction sites is a critical process for construction companies or businesses that cater to construction. Location-based data helps construction managers organize their monitoring by location.

  • Address or lat/lon coordinate site locations can be visualized on a map and color coded to reflect job status or label data enhanced with last visit date.
  • Material delivery drop-off location data can be compiled into an on map check-list of material availability for work assignments.  Color coded statuses can be used to indicate go or no-go status for work to be done.
  • Use job site location data to create optimized routes by day or week, organizing site inspections. Share route maps with constituents.

Retail Store Business Data

Retail store chains may find a variety of location-based datasets within their business systems. Certainly, customer and related sales data would be applied regularly. But retail does not live by customers alone.

  • A list of all store and warehouse locations is a baseline dataset for any business map used for logistics planning. Facility location data will be used to generate routes between each warehouse and each store to assess delivery times and help define special delivery costs.
  • Each store location should be required to generate drive time maps that analyze the surrounding demographics (income, age ranges, gender, and ethnicities) by drive time area. Drive time zones of 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes would be basic areas of interest for marketing campaign management
  • A simple coupon flyer placed in the local paper to track the ZIP codes for popular products on sale, can be tracked by ZIP code? In this way, a dot density map of active ZIP codes could be developed. Tracked over time, this analysis will inform planners which ZIP codes feed the most customers for specific products or product types, impacting product selection and future outlet plans.

Service Businesses

MBO caters to multiple service industries. Especially popular are landscaping companies, pool maintenance businesses, and fuel delivery services. Once again, customer address data is a primary location-based dataset.

  • Customer location scheduling may warrant the creation of territories or delivery zones. By organizing customers locations into Zones, service technicians are better able to plan for service activities and support materials. Home locations could be color coded based on unique requirements or maintenance status.
  • Service organizations often turn into Franchise businesses. Use business mapping to develop franchise territories. Tracking franchisees by location will allow your business to grow responsibly, organizing which areas are available, which areas are committed, and what the most lucrative new areas are for growth.
  • Service companies should consider encouraging field technicians to collect address locations of potential customers for sales follow-up.

The chances are that your business has location-based data just waiting to be harvested and plotted on a map. Make your location information sing by putting business mapping to work. Supplement your analysis with third-party SIC code industry segment data available through RealDataset.com which can help define your best new market potential by industry or geography.

For a healthier business, make business mapping with your location-based data a habit.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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Updating and Editing Your Data in Map Business Online

Map Business Online users love to import location data. It’s easy and fast and people love to see how their business locations appear on a business map. That’s the whole beauty of business mapping – exposing patterns, visualizing customers, – yada, yada, yada. You’ve heard me say it over and over. Updating data that you may have already imported is a little trickier. So, let’s go over those processes.

Use a Unique ID in Your Data
If you’re a planner and you know you’ll be regularly importing data and updates to that data, make sure you include a unique ID column in your spreadsheet. You can assign that unique ID yourself (100, 101, 102 etc.) or let your business systems do it by including a column for customer number, record ID – whatever unique number assignments your system might apply.

To apply your Unique ID column to the data import process simply match your column of Unique ID data to where the labeling dialogue box asks for Unique ID. That happens on the second MBO import dialogue page. By using this process, MBO will be ready to assess which records in your data have changes when you update – which records have been added, deleted, or edited.

Apply your data updates by hovering over your imported data layer in Map & Data – choose the Edit Gear and select the Update Dataset from File button.  You’ll receive an update report upon completion telling you how many records changed – 3 where added, 1 was deleted.

But many of us may have imported some records or plotted a few addresses manually, without importing data or using the Unique ID option, and you just want to add a few more records manually to them same dataset. There is an MBO process for these incremental updates.

Add a Few Points Manually
Plot your new point on the map by entering it into an address in the address bar. Remember the format – Address, City, State, ZIP code. We use commas. You’ll see a mini toolbar just below your newly plotted point. Click the Save Location button – a red map pin icon on the mini tool bar.

That brings up a process for selecting a dataset or starting a new one. If you’re adding data to an already plotted group of points, choose the data layer in the left side drop down. If you want to start a new layer – click New.

Once your data layer is selected click Add Location to formally record the location to a place on the map. A data update page will pop-up to allow the user to input data records for a new point as necessary. Please note, you still have the option to add a new layer or update your selected layer. When done click Save.

In MBO, if you have created or imported an address-based dataset you can add address-based points to that dataset. Likewise, if you’ve imported or created a latitude/longitude-based dataset you can add dropped lat/lon points to that dataset. But those formats must match.

You’ll need to have columns for latitude and longitude if you want to add lat/lon records to a dataset.  Dropping manually plotted points with a draw tool (Add Location…) will only work if the dataset you’re adding to has latitude and longitude columns in it. Manually plotted points on the map are not plotted as addresses but instead are plotted as location coordinates.

Editing Marketing Lists
In MBO when you search a dataset and save the results in the Data Window the saved results is called a Marketing List. Marketing lists can be created from geographic searches like a radius search or by filtering your data in the Data Window.

Once created, you can edit a marketing list. In the Data Window, hover your mouse over the left side colored dots column (these colored dots indicate how well your addresses geocoded.) Click the pencil icon that appears to change the location or edit your data.

The Data Window includes two buttons along its toolbar for creating and adding to a marketing list. One button is a Page icon with a yellow Asterix on the top right corner. The other marketing list button is to its right with a green and a red arrow pointing in opposite directions. Use these two buttons to create and edit marketing lists using data you’ve gathered in the data window. These marketing lists tools come in handy every so often.

For example, you can filter an imported dataset down to a selected set of records, and then save that list as a marketing list. The new list can be used in Market Analysis or in Territory Mapping. Or just export the list out for use in other applications.

Planning Maps for Business

Summarizing from the Data Window
Did you know you could also Summarize from the Data Window? Well you can. Down in the lower right-hand corner you will see a ∑ symbol – that stands for Summarize. This button will allow you to extract columns from your imported data and create quick spreadsheets for export.

Right next to the summary button is the copy button. You can filter data in the data window and copy for pasting into other applications. You can even resize the data window itself and copy just those records that are visible. Which is totally cool.

The more you use these data manipulation tools the more value you will be getting out of your location-based data.  Use Map Business Online as a filtering tool to focus on elements of your data related to geography, demographics, or selected ranges of your data.

Business mapping software is a platform for segmenting and exporting key elements of your data.

Win a $20 Gift Card! Refer a business associate to Map Business Online in exchange for a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Find out why over 25,000 business users log into www.MapBusinessOnline.com for their business mapping software and advanced sales territory mapping solution. The best replacement for Microsoft MapPoint happens to be the most affordable.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com or Jason Henderson jhenderson@spatialteq.com

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