At the dinner table at home or perhaps at a cocktail party, you might be tempted to discuss application examples of your work. Just be sure to pay attention to the body language of your audience. If everyone is checking their cell phone for a text message, you might want to wrap it up. Still, I get excited about application examples of MapBusinessOnline.com business mapping tools.
Sales Customer Visualization
Almost every MapBusinessOnline.com client wants to view or visualize customers on a digital map. It’s a routine application of the tool. But there are many types of maps that can be created to support simply viewing customers across a region or the whole nation.
A basic import of data reveals where customers are located by address or by lat/long coordinate. While those dots on the map are just circles with color-fill, they can reveal a lot about the market area a map viewer might be considering.
Are there clusters of customers in unexpected areas? Maps tend to show clusters of location points which are indicators of sales activity. Business map users should seek to understand why customers are grouped geographically or demographically.
Location clusters can also help create efficient sales route planning and balance the customer load between reps. Address groups are obvious stop locations for a sales route. They indicate areas where salespeople will want to spend some time knocking on doors. The nature of the grouped business may warrant additional resources for the particular trip – more literature or an expert travel companion who can speak to key issues.
Likewise, map visualizations of address groupings enable more efficient planning for other types of business as well:
- School bus drop off locations
- Package delivery routing
- Home cleaning services
Marketing Planning for Retailers
Just like customer visualizations, retail store locations can be imported and viewed against an accurate map of the United States and Canada. Armed with such a view, marketing coordinators and managers can conduct spatial queries that build business intelligence and enhance marketing response rates.
Spatial queries are another way of defining a geographic area of interest and investigating the data within those boundaries. Spatial searches assist retailers by presenting a variety of views all designed to expose customers by distance parameters. Retailers need customers to come to the store. A business map can turn a high traffic neighborhood into a greasy slide leading right to the store’s front door:
- A simple radius search out 10 or 25 miles from a center point can reveal much about an area’s ability to support a retail business. Demographic Data within that market area, coupled with sales results over a period of time can indicate whether an area defined by a specific radius is going to be a successful market or a dud. Are there better areas to explore? Conduct the same spatial analysis somewhere else
- A drive time search is like a radius search except it explores all the client locations within a polygon defined by the driving time or distance to a store location. A good retailer will have an understanding of their customer’s tolerance for driving times. A 15-minute drive time is a common driving distance segment. Highway access and traffic can have an impact. With a defined drive time area, a retailer can fine-tune their marketing messages by area, population, even age, and ethnicity, making email or direct mail marketing more targeted and less expensive per client. Customers located thirty minutes away might receive a more enticing offer.
- A proximity search looks for all of the locations or data points within a specified range of a central point or a set of points. Such searches can be done by radius or drive time searches. The results are more complex and more complete, especially for a retailer with multiple stores.
Spatial queries explore the geographic area defined by marketing managers enhancing their business intelligence. By combining an awareness of existing business, local area demographics, and prospective business opportunities, marketing plans develop organically, rooted in the environment where the store exists. Use business maps to help make marketing efforts more attuned to the local clientele. Know your customers.
Insurance Risk Assessment
Insurance companies depend on risk assessments in all that they do. Understanding a client’s geographic distribution of assets must include business mapping analysis. All buildings, machines, resources, and even employees can be located and mapped. Asset valuations are assigned based on market resale, replacement costs, salaries, or commodity values, and aggregating a total value by region is important. Values are compiled and used to asses risk based on regional, industry, and societal factors.
If a business is located on the Gulf Coast of the USA, risk assessment is critical due to the likelihood of a major hurricane. There are insurance businesses that will not build or occupy buildings located within ten miles of the Gulf Coast. The Mayans moved inland for a reason.
Business mapping software provides a platform for the importation and analysis of disparate datasets, all in one place with both a visual geographic perspective and associated datasheet views. Spatial queries enable obvious and incongruent comparisons between data layers. Risks are revealed in unexpected places. Patterns emerge, no matter what the subject. Decision making always has a location component.
Public Safety Mapping
As I write this blog and you read the blog, COVID-19 is teaching all of us about the nature of public safety. Pre-planning is so important. Oh, but if we could take but a few steps back in time to last summer and revisit that inventory levels in the USA stockpile of medical equipment.
Business maps display inventories by location across the nation or world. Surplus levels of N-95 masks, face shields, and the now oh-so-precious ventilators, are easily grasped based on color-coded symbols. Click on the map object to drill down into the data.
Contagious viruses aside, public safety map views tap into available recent and archived criminal data to reveal patterns in crime statistics. Serial crimes geocoded on a map for thoughtful viewing can tell a story about where a criminal is likely to live, what security cameras may have picked up video, and common geographic aspects of victim experiences.
We’ve all read the news stories of how location patterns led to an arrest. We’ve watched the CSI episodes. Geographic mapping applications for public safety are real and business mapping software plays a role. MapBusinessOnline map projects have been used to supplement search and rescue missions, exposed serial criminals, and to track insurance fraud.
Call Center Applications
Many of us have worked in or supported a call center in some way. Business maps are great for call centers because the map views are easily sharable. Maps are created by a central map editor in charge of cultivating and maintaining accurate location data sources. The map curator builds and shares the map with the call center associates who can add an address or ZIP code on the map to determine:
- Where to ship the package
- Who to bill for the phone-order
- Where to send the tow-truck for a service call
- What address has lost its power
- What home requires HVAC services
- Where the package pick-ups are located for this afternoon’s run
Call center maps can be used to define sales territories or coverage areas which can aid in instant decision making for people on the phone helping others in the field.
It’s all boring when discussing it at the dining room table, but business maps help the world stay stable and move forward, something we all appreciate just a little bit more these days.
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