Mapping Finds What's Hiding in Your List

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What you can't see in your list of marketing data is sometimes more important than what you can see. Mapping, frequently used for site selection, sales territory analysis and locator maps, becomes a dynamic marketing tool when used in conjunction with your direct marketing campaign's list and data processing selection strategy and post-response analysis.


You can use mapping to:


• Streamline your campaigns from list selection to back-end analysis.


• Identify new prospecting and customer retention marketing opportunities.


• Analyze lapsed customer data or your response data from a direct marketing campaign based on geographic location and demographic trends.


• Enhance the value of your data processing/analysis initiatives.


• Choose more responsive data and demographic selections for your lists and direct response efforts.


• Discover new list opportunities that previously didn't exist.


• Understand new trends and opportunities for your direct marketing campaign.


At its most basic layer, mapping adds the latitude and longitude of each record's address - a process called geo-coding - to physically plot your database's records on a map. You then add specific geographic boundaries - radial bands, ZIP codes, county lines, regions, carrier routes, etc., depending on what you want to accomplish.


On a grander scale, mapping takes your list of customer or prospect records, numbers and demographics - which on a spreadsheet or computer file can be quite sterile and not revealing - and brings it to life.


For example, many national retail establishments looking to drive traffic to multiple store locations with overlapping market geography are using mapping in their mailing list selection strategy, streamlining their entire campaign process and making it easier for prospects to respond.


First, each of the retailer's locations in the specific city, ZIP code or county are plotted on a map. Radial bands of mileage amounts - let's say three, five, 10 and 15 miles - are drawn around each location. The map is then used to produce a ZIP code report of prospects who live in the closest market areas for all of the retailer's locations, including those in overlapping areas. The retailer selects its list based on those ZIP codes and any other demographic criteria.


Now, instead of having to do separate mailings for each store location, de-dupe each prospecting list for overlapping market areas and track response for each of the mailings, the retailer can do one corporate mailing and market all locations at the same time.


Potential customers will see all store locations on the locator map provided on the mail piece and can respond to the offer at any location, whether it is near their homes, workplaces or other life situations.


Before sending out the mailing, if the retailer also geo-codes the prospect file and adds a tracking or key code to the mailing, the retailer can track response by location and by where its new customer lives in relation to the store.


By doing this type of post-campaign analysis, many retailers are seeing new, unexpected trends in response behavior, which can then be used for the strategy and list selection of follow-up and subsequent marketing campaigns.


Mapping for Custom Data


Some marketers now use creative and customized mapping applications to create lists of prospect data that did not traditionally exist in the compiled or response world of lists.


Insurance marketers, for instance, wanting to target owners of coastal properties at risk for hurricane damage in states such as Florida, Texas and North Carolina, are out of luck because a database specifying coastal homes does not "exist" in the marketplace.


Their ideal prospects are people with homes along the coast or within two blocks of the coast. By using mapping, these creative marketers first identify every postal carrier route bordering the water for each coastal state, then choose their prospect list of consumers based on this criteria.


More Mapping Applications


Retention and loyalty. Political candidates and their campaign marketers use mapping to improve communications with key campaign donors and efficiently plan campaigners' time for grass-roots, "pound the pavement" loyalty efforts.


The market mapping plan: The campaign's database contains names of current and former campaign donors within specific counties, and the political staff needs to maximize its time during door-knocking initiatives within each of these counties.


After geo-coding the database at the street level, concentrations of the current and lapsed supporters are color-coded and plotted on a map. Then the specific carrier route for each of the counties is added. This route is the one postal carriers use to deliver mail and is the most efficient pathway for political campaigners to use to hit the largest concentrations of supporters.


How sophisticated does your analysis need to be? Maps become more sophisticated with each new data overlay that you add and can be color-coded thematically by specific demographic clusters. Business-to-business marketers might want to see their companies' market penetration thematically color-coded based on characteristics such as sales volume, number of employees and business type.


Consumer marketers could use 10 colors to represent 10 income ranges, allowing the marketer to see clusters of wealthy, average and low-income neighborhoods without having to sift through pages of numbers.


Overall, with each demographic and geographic layer that's added, mapping offers consumer and BTB marketers visual cues to expand their perception of their marketplace and their ability to strategically use direct marketing to find new customers and increase loyalty.
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