Every so often a customer asks if MapBusinessOnline can create sales territories based on a range of ZIP codes. The answer is yes but the customer is often disappointed. They usually ask the ZIP code range questions because they want to create a set of complex territories quickly, with minimal effort. The trouble is, territory creation based on ZIP code ranges is an advanced operation for online business mapping. There are several questions that need to be answered. It’s a little bit more complicated than a basic ZIP code map.
One question to consider when considering filtering ZIP codes by ranges for territories is: Are your ranges numeric ranges or spatial ranges? Numeric would be from Zip Code 01900 to ZIP Code 01999. Numeric ranges are based on numbers. Spatial ranges would be a range of ZIP codes that are near to, if not adjoining each other. Numbering sequences in ZIP codes do not guarantee proximity (that ZIP codes near in number are nearby spatially.)
How a ZIP Code Range Territory is Created
In MapBusinessOnline, Zip Code ranges are filterable in the Data Window. Start by selecting the ZIP code layer in the Data Window drop down, which includes 33,461 ZIP codes with boundaries. Point ZIP codes are not considered in this exercise. Click the Filter Button, a funnel icon on the Data Window toolbar. Then, in the Filter Dialogue layer selector on the left side, select General for the Data Category and below that find ZIP5 Code (assuming we’re working with 5-digit, not 3-digit ZIP’s.)
You’re doing well. Take a breath and keep going.
To the right side of the filter panel, in the top modifier section, select the > (greater than) symbol and to the right, choose your starting range ZIP code number. You will note an AND/OR option between the two modifier sections on the right. Leave the AND/OR drop down at AND because this is an AND operation, not an OR operation. We’re exploring a range between Number X AND Number Y. Here’s a picture of the filter dialogue with labels.
Now move below and select < (less than) symbol and to the right insert your finish range ZIP code number. Click filter to run the query.
The Data Window will now display all of the ZIP codes filtered for the range you selected. At the bottom left corner you can see the number of ZIP codes offered in the display.
To create your first range-based territory click the button on the Data Window toolbar that says: Create New or Edit Existing Territory with Geographies from the Data Window. It’s a long name, I know. The icon is a green and red arrow overlapping a blue puzzle piece. Name your territory.
Review and Edit Your Territory
Once your territory is selected, you can view the territory layout on the map. This is when you can use your Search Tool by Polygon or a simple mouse click, to select missing ZIP codes or remove ZIP codes from your territory.
As a reminder, point ZIP codes do not make up the visible territory map object because they have no boundaries. More on Point ZIP Codes. But, any point ZIP codes imported into the map would be applied to the appropriate territory based on physical location. Remember, point ZIP codes represent mail delivery locations of military installations, huge apartment buildings, hospitals, and the like. (Notice I didn’t use the phrase “what not.” I hate the use of What Not. I mean, what is What Not any way? End What Not rant.)
Rinse and Repeat as Necessary
Once your first territory is complete reset the filter in MapBusinessOnline’s Data Window and set-up your next territory’s ZIP code range. Repeat this process as necessary to set up all your territories. Once you’ve gone through the process a few times you will find it moves fast.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when building general territories in Map Business Online (Any type of territory – regular or ZIP range-based territories):
- Overlap is Cool – In Map and Data click Settings and then Territory Options. Allow your territories to overlap and choose the color you would like associated with overlap, for easy identification
- Regions and Divisions – In MapBusinessOnline you build regions out of territory units manually with a polygon tool. Do the same for divisions using the regions as units. Learn more.
- Append Included Demographic Data – In Map and Data edit the properties of the territory layer. Choose Labels and then Format Labels. Make sure you’re editing the Auto Label tab. Select up to five demographic categories to display in the territory label.
Why ZIP Code Range Assignment?
Customers choose to create territories based on ZIP codes ranges primarily to save time in ZIP code assignment. Manual ZIP code selection could be a time-consuming process. MapBusinessOnline polygon selection of ZIP codes by area can make the process less time-consuming. But selecting in ranges, if you know the range start and end points, can be a relatively quick process.
Unfortunately, at this time Map Business Online doesn’t support automatic multiple territory ZIP code range assignments. Perhaps if there is more interest over time, we’d consider it.
Further Questions to Answer on ZIP Ranges
Are your ZIP codes ranges accurate? It’s easy to describe a range as 01000 to 01999. But you should understand where those numbers exist in real space before you start. The video above helps explain that process as Massachusetts is split into two numeric ranges.
Do the numbers you selected exist as ZIP codes exist at all?
Are there other spatial considerations to your territory scheme? For instance, are state or county boundaries a limit?
Using the filter button in the MapBusinessOnline Data Window is a powerful yet simple tool for generating marketing lists, territories, or specific areas of interest from your imported data, or geographic data layers. You may find many reasons to filter data to enhance your business intelligence.
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