geomapping - Demographic Marketing

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Q. What is a Geo Map?

A.A geo map shows an area, country and continent and uses colours and points to illustrate relationships between selected and different factors. These may be geographical items or anything that has a known, fixed point.


Q. How is Geo Mapping Used in Business?

A. A. Geo Mapping is a useful tool for business planning and marketing, though it can be used for other business functions such as personnel to show the relationship of where staff live to where they work. A business can also use geo mapping to show where their outlets lie relative to their customers, competitors and communications, a true use of demographic marketing tools.


Q. What Can a Geo Map Show?

A. A. Generally a geo map will show relationships and proximity of customers, prospects, suppliers, competitors, residential catchment areas and communications. However it will also enable the reader to identify barriers to trade and development.


Q. What Are the Advantages & Benefits of Geo Mapping?

A. A. The main benefit is that many different factors can be brought together to illustrate an area. In business this is often a market area or catchment. By applying different symbols and colours to different stores, competitors or customer types it enable relationships to be seen that may otherwise remain hidden. A geo map is a very useful tool for effective communication.


Q. Can a Geo Map Be Used For Business Planning and Marketing?

A. A. The map can show all of the key factors that affect a business. These can include: prospects, customers, residential areas, competitors, communications and barriers such as bridges, motorways and rivers. The geo map therefore becomes a very important business planning tool during location planning. Similarly maps show marketing professionals much of what they need to see at a glance. The map combines much market information in a single picture.


Q. What Examples Show How Geo Mapping Is Used in Business Planning?

A. A. Logistic companies can see where there depots lie in relation to their customers. By mapping distances they can ensure that they are able to make their delivery services as efficient as possible.

Retailers can use geo maps to see where their customers live in relation to their stores. They can also identify where to target leaflet campaigns, locate bill boards and direct press advertising.


Q. What Role Does Geo Mapping Play in Location Planning?

A. A. Any developer can use geo mapping to identify the best sites for development by identifying existing customers, prospects, key areas of population, transport links, competitive activity and any other relevant factors. Drivetimes can also be added to show target catchment areas. By comparing location maps for different sites it is possible to identify which are the prime sites for development.


Q. What Is a Heat Map?

A. A heat map shows which areas are the most appropriate for a particular service or product. For example if you target adults aged between 25 and 35 years old, a map of a population can show the ratio of this age group as part of the total population across a catchment area. Colours can be applied to the map to show the different ratios across the postal sectors contained in the catchment. The resulting map is known as a heat map.


Q. What Benefits Does Geo Mapping Have For Franchise Planning and Buying?

A. A. The main point of a franchise is that the franchisee buys sole rights to trade a brand in a specific area. A geo map of that area should be made before buying the franchise. This map should highlight the main characteristics that are crucial to the success of that business. The number of residents in the catchment area is less important than the number of key prospects. Not everyone is the best customer for a franchise. A geo map using demographics will enable prospective franchisees to see the key features of the area they are buying. Some franchise areas will be better and more valuable than others. Geo mapping will show this.


Q. How Does Geo Mapping Work?

A. A. Geo mapping works by taking the co-ordinates of any people or items to be mapped, plotting them on a map of any area or country. In many cases postcodes, which have known locations, are used instead of co-ordinates. Much geo map work now is run on software programmes as these are more accurate and can be manipulated easily to present what-if scenarios.


Q. Does Specialist Geo Mapping Software Exist?

A. A. Yes, it is possible to buy or lease geo mapping software. Similarly there are geo mapping service companies. The starting point is usually an excel spreadsheet that can be added to the mapping software. It is important that the basic map used at the core of the system is robust and accurate.


Q. Do Different Mapping Software Programmes Generate Different Results?

A. A. Yes, especially where a level of interpretation is required. For example if you wish to add a drivetime catchment to a map different software will create different shaped and sized areas. It is possible to get very different results! Ensure that the software provider you use understands what you trying to achieve and is using a robust base.


Q. Is There a Link Between Demographics and Geo Mapping?

A. A. Yes. Most, but not all, demographic profiling systems include the location of the population in their analysis. This geographic link is the reason why systems such as ACORN are known as geodemographic profiling systems.


Q. What Is the Advantage of Using A Geo Mapping Service Company?

A. A. If you are new to mapping systems and do not intend to produce multiple maps over time, then a good service provider is probably the best choice for your company. The reason is that you will be spared the wasted time and costs associated with mastering a new skill. In addition many of the data sets that create the most useful geo maps are expensive making single or occasional use less cost effective.


Q. What Should I Know Before Instructing a Geo Mapping Service Company?

A. A. As with any other project, a clear brief is vital. Your project must have a clear objective. Ask for a written proposal showing: objective, outputs, time scale, items to be included and cost. Also ensure that you ask for an interpretation of the geo map where necessary. No information has any value unless it is fully understood and the service provider should be able to provide an interpretation of the data provided.


Q. Is Free Geo Mapping Software Available?

A. Yes it is but as with any service you get what you pay for! You need to be assured that the points shown on a map are actually in the right place and that any detail added, such as a drivetime, is accurate. A lot of technology goes into generating drivetimes that accurately reflect the road transport system and a simple area defined by a crow flying is generally to be avoided!

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