On Superbowl Sunday, Domino’s Pizza delivered more than 900,000 pizzas–and mapping technology helped. How do 60,000 pizza outlets serving 3 billion pizzas per year compete in an industry where reputations and dollars are dependent on “fast, hot and delivered to the door?” Global Positioning System (GPS) technology!
Here’s how you can use this great invention to increase your direct mail results–even if you’ve only got one store with local customers.
GPS may be mapping from outer space, but desktop mapping technology can be a “weapon of mass destruction” for competitive marketers. With it, you can visualize your database information to see patterns that have a geographic component. For retailers and service businesses, that translates into “Which locations or neighborhoods am I best positioned in to serve my customers?”
Retailers typically serve a trade area of up to 10 miles. Service companies like to set up “routes” to maximize their travel time. By seeing a visual of your customer data, it’s easy to see where you should bulk up your marketing efforts and where you should scale back–neighborhood by neighborhood–instead of by zip code, which is the way most companies think of their target area.
Rather than sending mail to “everyone in a 3-mile radius,” marketers can use mapping to analyze demographic trade areas at a finer level, such as carrier routes, zip+4’s or Census Block Groups, to monitor their return on investment. Eliminate underserved areas, and you’ll decrease advertising costs and increase results!
Future mailings can suppress weaker or non-responsive neighborhoods and increase mailing quantity to “like” demographic areas, resulting in a mailer’s dream: Fewer mail pieces, more results. You can even overlay demographic information, such as home value, income, business population, etc., onto these newly mapped areas for an additional layer of intelligence.
Mapping is also a solution for competitive analysis. By plotting yours and the competition’s store locations, then profiling the markets for age, income, home value, zip code penetration, etc., you’ll find kernels of truth that can lead you to an offensive marketing strategy or better site selection.
Mapping can be a valuable tool even when the business’s only marketing asset is a customer list of names and addresses without transaction (purchasing) information or anything else because critical geographical information can be appended and then analyzed. Franchisors and chain stores rely heavily on mapping technology to assign territories and drive customer traffic based on natural and man-made barriers (highways, rivers, bridges, etc.). Business marketers can improve “inquiry to closing” rates, plan sales calls more effectively, realign sales territories and measure sales force activities.
Mapping projects can be performed “in-house” with a relatively inexpensive software purchase of approximately $300-$400 or projects can be hired out for more sophisticated results that link back to spreadsheet or database information for ongoing analysis and can cost from $50 – $2,500. Whether your business delivers pizzas or manages a dealer network of 1,000 HVAC technicians, mapping technology can add a visual dimension to data analysis that is often more understandable than spreadsheets and graphs.