All sales and marketing professionals today understand that we must access a variety of software tools to get our jobs done effectively. It is hoped that the combined application of a few of the thousands of the marketing programs available will lead to improved marketing results and measurable sales growth for the companies we work for. That’s why they pay us the big bucks.
A key step for marketing professionals, along the way to the perfect marketing message and blowing away the sales goal, is defining and developing the markets themselves, a process better known as market analysis.
A robust and productive market analysis should take location-based analysis into account. Markets almost always have location components that connect them to points or areas on the Earth. Geographic analysis in the form of business mapping software provides an effective way to organize location-based marketing data to expose trends and patterns in the way customers respond to advertisements and calls-to-action. Location data and analysis augment general business intelligence gathering and enhance marketing and sales results.
The Benefits of Maps for Market Analysis
Map-based market analysis, or market mapping, provides critical and new perspectives, boosts and informs core market analysis and provides measurable increases in sales based on the power of location intelligence.
The application of market mapping, an eminently affordable cloud-based software solution, will increase sales revenue for the organization through the application of location intelligence towards defining the addressable market.
Map-based market analysis helps to define marketing messages and prove which ones work most effectively. These tools are critical to identifying core market areas and building market profiles that point to the most lucrative areas for expansion.
1. Harness Location Intelligence for Your Business
Think of location intelligence as business intelligence related to a specific place on the surface of the Earth. Location intelligence is information that can help a sales and marketing organization compete and expand based on real data. Location intelligence offers a wide array of general information, data layers for use in business and market analysis. These data layers, with location components (address, ZIP code, lat/long coordinates) may include almost any kind of information, such as:
- Address locations for all branches, vendors, customers, and prospects
- Industry types
- Credit histories
- Sales histories and statistics
- Employee statistics
- Demographic data – population, ethnicity, income, and more
- Industry-specific statistics
- Critical business resources and infrastructure
These are just examples. The list of location data layers is constantly growing and is also industry dependent – Chemical company location data is different than Internet Service Provider location data.
By accessing and analyzing aggregated location intelligence across geographic areas of interest, sales and marketing professionals will define critical characteristics for customer success and develop market profiles by area. Often these market areas of interest are ZIP codes groupings.
Active ZIP code market areas, areas where business is currently transacted, are overlaid with demographic layers such as population by age, household income levels, or specific ethnicity populations. Demographic data layers associated with ZIP codes and actual sales records begin to tell a story about the nature of the business under analysis. Sales trends will line up with certain demographic characteristics and a marketing profile will emerge describing the demographic buying habits of typical customers in that area.
Once a marketing profile has been established, business mapping software turns that profile into a template to expose other similar ZIP code areas where marketing success is most likely to occur. Market profiles are used to develop expansion plans for businesses who’ve seen great success in one area and wonder exactly where and how they can replicate that success in another area.
Map-based market analysis provides definitive answers to that ‘exactly where‘ question by combining the power of a filtered database analysis with map visualizations. By filtering a geographic database, the map marketing tool will generate a list of the top ten or twenty new market areas of interest, and the associated map visualizations will enable proximity views that identify where those best market opportunities are gathered or abut, strongly suggesting the most promising areas a business might consider exploring.
In this way, location intelligence and proximity analysis tools, will support marketing, sales, and strategic decision makers, all charged with promoting growth for their business.
Alternatives to Map-Based Market Analysis
As mentioned, marketing tools abound across the Internet. So, one might think, there must be alternatives to map-based market analysis. And it is true, marketing software and services exist that promise rich callout lists, in-depth market analysis, and accredited marketing consulting services.
Most list generation organizations are simply throwing bodies at the problem. They’re paying lower-tier, hourly hires to dial numbers and comb the Internet for a body that might show interest in an aspect of what you have to offer. But the reality is, they don’t understand your business – you do. Find and invest in tools that leverage your business intelligence.
Beware the list provider’s deliverables because their ‘qualified leads’ are not likely to become your measurable sales. Outbound sales phone calling is dead. What little potential the telephone channel had left was destroyed by telephone spammers. Nobody answers the phone anymore except grandma, and she’s busy getting scammed.
Ph.D. toting marketing consultants will invade your board room with a rush of activity and subject your organization to a series of time-consuming meetings. They’ll distill collected data down into a presentation that tells you what you already know. It will be a great presentation, with neat colorful slides, but their recommendations are going to involve hiring and firing and changes to the way you do business that may or may not generate sales growth. If the economy’s growing, you’ll never know if the consultant helped. If the economy tanks, you can blame the consultant for declining sales. If you do go the consulting route, make sure they include map-based, location intelligence analysis. And take their exorbitant fee out of your marketing budget so the expense is that manager’s badge of honor.
Map-based market analysis builds on the intelligence you’ve already gathered, overlaying your location data on preconfigured maps of the nation. You’ll be selecting Census Bureau demographic layers and business listings, that define your potential – that addressable market for your sales expansion. Any market mapping investment is going to be affordable – in the area of a thousand dollars. Don’t get suckered into $5,000 plus marketing studies. Take advantage of affordable map-based market analysis.
Map-based market analysis is relatively easy-to-use. Any employee used to Microsoft Office or the Apple equivalent will find the map marketing tools to be a quick learn. Check the reviews online. The best map-based marketing systems will rise to the top.
2. Use Maps to Calculate the Total Addressable Market
All businesses have markets. A plumbing and heating company may not require extensive marketing analysis because, in the area where they operate, the need for their services matches or exceeds their capacity to respond. We should all be so lucky.
But most companies must actively market and sell through a variety of sales channels to both maintain and grow their business. Businesses must allocate money, people, and time to marketing and market research. Forward-thinking businesses will be supplementing their sales and marketing processes with a business mapping software to conduct map market research.
Map-based market analysis tools are designed to overlay accurate digital maps with customer transactional history by location and by customer type. These customer maps are used to define markets for sales and marketing planning purposes. Geographic analysis combined with location intelligence, easily and quickly defines each of those key areas of interest as an addressable market towards which businesses can direct their sales and marketing efforts.
A simple spreadsheet of customer transactions by address, imported into onto a business map will define the areas and major industries a business currently sells to. These key industry types and market areas will determine the marketing and sales approach the company must apply as it expands. Mapping market research will:
- Define the typical customer for products and services offered
- Define optimum ZIP code or other district profiles by overlaying transactional data with demographic or industry data
- Identify new optimum geographic market areas upon which to focus sales and marketing efforts
- Help establish the sales and marketing approaches that will work best for any addressable market
While markets are often defined by industry type – manufacturing, health care, and retail are three examples – physical market areas are usually defined by ZIP code or county. Map-based market analysis can define market areas based on driving time around a central location, or a circular area surrounding a city – 50 miles is a common radius used to develop an addressable market. A defined physical market area can then relate product interest to demographic or industry characteristics:
- Population by gender, age, and ethnicity
- Household income levels
- Housing statistics
- The number of Chemical companies within a radius
Demographic analysis on top of map-based market analysis, multiplies the location intelligence derived from these defined market areas. Sales growth occurs fastest when location intelligence is applied. Map-based market analysis helps develop more effective marketing messages and creative marketing content, directed at the appropriate addressable markets.
For instance, direct mail or newspaper advertising can be focused on specific ZIP codes. For retail marketing, those ZIP codes will be chosen based on an assessment of the of an acceptable customer drive time. How far is the average customer willing to drive to purchase your products based on a marketing message? A key question for the retail industry.
Any retail marketing messages should be directed only at those potential buyers within a specific and likely driving time, significantly reducing direct mail costs and enabling a localized marketing message, “Hurry down to Store One today to get your ZIP code-based discount!”
Map-based market analysis presents an accurate digital map with overlaid business location data that assembles demographic statistics, industry sales, employment data, and imported user data into a measurable addressable market. All of this compiled location intelligence is easily exported as a customizable reports.
- Retail business can identify potential populations interested in their products and campaigns, by age, gender, ethnicity and by who live within twenty-minutes of the store location. In this way a retailer can calculate the potential revenue of that drive time area
- Healthcare companies can define patient populations by age group and sort by diagnosis for families living within a twenty-five-mile radius of a major hospital, and calculate the expected campaign results for a given driving distance
- MRO sales teams can identify all the potential manufacturing customers in a sales territory and estimate the potential revenue for the next year based on sales and employment data
With such affordable market mapping tools at your disposal, it seems almost reckless to not invest in these location-based solutions.
3. Research Your Market
Once market areas and customer patterns are established, sales and marketing organizations need to drill into market data to learn as much as they can about their existing customers while developing plans to reach potential new customers with well-tuned messages. Map-based market analysis tools provide a visual platform over a database platform to both visualize and calculate market potential.
A crucial element of business mapping is the assignment of relevant Census demographic data to the actual sales territories where companies do business. Demographic data layers are easily queried appended to map analysis views. Existing business intelligence is extrapolated from sales results as market profiles and added to the analysis, creating a profile of a successful market. These market profiles based on thorough map market research are a vital step along the path toward sales growth.
Advanced map-based marketing converts local success into market profiles that when applied to other areas creates a launching pad for sales growth. Generally, market profiles are generated by accessing existing data available in standard business systems like sales order processing systems, CRMs, or ERPs. Each one of these business systems captures critical customer data as location data. Go look. Ask the person in charge of your CRM to export a list of customer transactions by address. Import those records onto a business map absorb the map visualization.
4. Reach Your Market – Now Track the Results
Once a marketing or sales department has established a new area of interest to target, strategies are created for targeting the intended audiences with the appropriate messages for products or services. A marketing strategy could consist of an email campaign, a social media campaign, pay per click web advertisement, or even periodical ads, although old school print ads are expensive and difficult to track.
Sales strategies are generally developed around sales territories and salespeople. For instance, a sales team might split a new market based on ZIP code areas with a ten-mile radius of a salesperson’s home location. Or a call center team might define urban area territories and assign each call center person a few urban areas to target with outbound sales calls.
Such territory planning activity leverages a sales territory mapping application to organize campaigns based on the demographic or business characteristics of target areas. Usually, sales territory mapping is available in any map-based market analysis package. Sales territories are an outstanding platform to:
- Develop sales areas of interest in new markets or competitive markets
- Assign sales accountability for customer contact and follow-through
- Share sales results so that the sales process promotes team building and training
- Track and derive appropriate sales compensation
Sales territory maps are flexible. Territories are initially based on marketing profiles for a given area but should be subject to adjustment as salespeople run their campaigns. Don’t keep sending the same representative into the same area if there are no results. Try different approaches or move on.
After a marketing or sales campaign has been established and the emails and offers have been transacted, it’s time to track the results. Results are usually tracked as sales dollars by account, ZIP code, or territory. Tracked results can be rolled up into branch or location results to measure branch network performance.
Determining how marketing and sales campaigns performed seems an obvious final step in the marketing process, but many organizations fail to do more than just tally up the sales totals and pay commissions.
Results should include analysis by area. An analysis of how each ZIP code performed can be used to optimize demographic and location-based targets for future campaigns. This crucial lookback location intelligence will be factored into the next campaign’s planning, as your organization gets better at defining markets and optimizing market profiling.
Market analysis is a fact of life for most businesses. Embrace it and embrace the cloud-based SaaS services that make it accessible and affordable for your business. Make sure your organization leverages its location-based business intelligence through map-based market analysis capabilities.
Several leading SaaS software applications can provide map-based market analysis including:
MapBusinessOnline Pro‘s map-based market analysis tools will help your marketing and sales team identify appropriate and lucrative addressable markets for your business’s products and services. MapBusinessOnline Pro offers an array of analytical approaches that will define your addressable markets and profile your best performing ZIP codes, counties, or other jurisdictions:
- Enable retail markets estimates by driving distance, driving time, or straight-line radius
- Define ZIP code area demographic characteristic and develop market profiles for use in expansion planning
- Assess the number of potential customers within the proximity of a set of stores
- Match the probable patient pool with a medical center’s planned capacity
- Compile complete, multiple category demographic profiles of critical areas of interest
- Calculate driving distances and times between multiple datasets of multiple business locations
- Enrich imported datasets with demographic and geographic data
- Generate market analysis and business intelligence reporting
The results tracked will serve to expand operations, fine-tune sales offers, enhance targeting strategies, driving your business forward in a competitive world. MapBusinessOnline Pro transforms collected location intelligence data into revenue expansion opportunities.
MapBusinessOnline Standard and Pro versions offer ready to use map-based market analysis with prebuilt background maps and accurate street, demographic, and business listing data.
Leverage the affordable and accessible location-based market analysis tools available in the cloud and do it today. Any competitor worth its salt will be doing it. Don’t get left behind.
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