Geographic information systems have been described as a set of technologies that help us to see our small blue planet in better ways (Longley et al., 1999). More commonly referred to by the acronym GIS, applications include: local governance; business and service planning; logistics; and environmental management and modelling. In both public and private sector research, GIS are used to manage geographic information, help identify geographical trends and patterns and to model spatial processes.
However, GIS have been described as a “nearly” technology for marketers (McLuhan, 2003). Beyond the hype, the actual use of GIS presently is limited to the larger retailers and suppliers, with little expansion into marketing applications. This, despite widespread agreement that the true value of geographical information is only revealed once that information is analysed geographically! McLuhan (2003) cites a survey by GeoBusiness Solutions revealing that only 28% of company boards fully understand the operation and marketing benefits of GIS, with the perceived (and often, actual) high cost of investing in GI software and data products being one of the barriers to GIS reaching its potential. Continue reading Geodemographics and GIS – Richard Harris, Peter Sleight, Richard Webber
Geodemographics is the “analysis of people by where they live” (Sleight, 1997, p. 16). It is the suggestion that WHERE you are, says something about WHO you are; that knowing where someone lives provides useful information about how that person lives. To quote some product advertising, it is the possibility that “we know who you are, because we know where you live.” The figure illustrates this link between people and places. It is a simple idea – one that has shown itself to be of commercial value and the catalyst of a rapidly growing and globalizing industry. Continue reading Geodemographics, GIS and Neighbourhood Targeting – Richard Harris, Peter Sleight, Richard Webber
Consumer packaged goods are small, non-durable items that are generally bought at the grocery store. These might include soda, breakfast cereal and laundry detergent. Like most retailers and manufacturers of consumers’ goods of any type, the consumer packaged goods industry is beginning to use micro-marketing techniques (Buxton 1993). Through using a sophisticated combination of databases and manipulation techniques, product marketing programmes can be developed at the retail chain level. In the US, almost all grocery stores use check-out scanners. These scanners read a bar-code on each product and automatically provide the price of the product. This is convenient for stores because they can change the price of the product (such as for a sale) without having to re-tag each item. Not only is this convenient for stores, but because of this process, a very rich database of what brand’s products are purchased at what stores is generated. These data are aggregated into approximately 50 “scanner markets” that cover various portions of the US. By combing these data with the demographics that tend to drive product demand, such as age and income, a buying power index (BPI) can be modelled for stores. The BPI indicates how much of various products could be sold at that store. By knowing a store’s BPI, the retailer can improve the product mix (micro-marketing) to “push through more product” – to use the industry jargon.
Levi Strauss & Company (LS&Co) is a good example of a product retailer that has begun to use geographical technology to customize “product mix”, or the combination of products available in specific stores (Allen 1993). LS&Co is one of the world’s largest clothing manufacturers, and sells many product lines in addition to Levi’s jeans. Unfortunately, the company’s sales had been lagging significantly primarily as a result of mergers, acquisitions, price wars and significant retailers such as GAP chain creating their own product lines instead of selling LS&Co’s products. Continue reading GIS FOR RETAIL AND PRODUCT MIX – GIS for Business and Service Planning
Almost everybody’s doing it!
Today everybody’s doing it – well almost! Although an exaggeration, geodemographics and geographical analysis of markets is no longer the leap in the dark that it was in the early 1980s. Many business organizations are now employing the concepts of geodemographics and using GIS in many varying applications – from new site location analysis to merchandising and direct mail. With the increased range of applications to which geodemographics can lend itself, the market has grown considerably with new GIS software and databases to accompany these developments like the following ones.
Continue reading THE PAST AND PRESENT OF CUSTOMIZED AND PROPRIETARY GIS – GIS For Business and Service Planning
From a marketing perspective, the principal attraction of spatial analysis is still probably a psychological one. Marketeers seem to feel that geography is important in that they know that there are major geographic variations in the demand for products. Maybe they feel that geographers should be able to help them perform better and that there might be methods that geographers know about that could be beneficial to them. Those in the industry who believe this will probably already be displaying more confidence in the value of geography than do many geographers!
Yet at the same time it is evident that there are mutual benefits to both the marketing industry and to geography from closer collaboration. The geographer might gain access to data not in the public domain, new publishing opportunities may arise and there is at least some prospect for technology transfer and commercialization. The marketing industry might gain access to a largely untapped skill base. The question is, however, which methods, which applications, and which new products might be created through such collaborations? Continue reading Marketing Spatial Analysis: A review of prospects and technologies relevant to marketing – GIS For Business and Service Planning
DATA SOURCES AND THEIR GEOGRAPHICAL INTEGRATION
The very nature of competitive business lies in spotting niches and opportunities. Geographical niches are the more difficult to identify when market areas are blurred by the overlay of successive different geographies.
A range of computer software houses have developed products which enable users to gain rapid access to precisely specified sections of databases, while developments in computer graphics allow information to be portrayed in a geographically accurate manner. Business graphics are, in short, becoming increasingly geographical. Continue reading Population Data Sources – GIS for Business and Service Planning