Map Business Online Blog

Read about business mapping and how it can help your business succeed.

The Power of the Business Map Radius Search – Your Competitive Edge

Radius_Search2

“Our fugitive has been on the run for ninety minutes. Average foot speed over uneven ground barring injuries is 4 miles-per-hour. That gives us a radius of six miles. What I want from each and every one of you is a hard-target search of every gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in that area.”

–          Deputy Marshall, Sam Gerard – The Fugitive

In the above quote, Deputy Gerard is colorfully describing a basic radius search. The most advanced business mapping software products will include this powerful data analysis tool – the radius search – in their array of features.

The radius search, a simple circular sweep of user business data, returns records within a circle. (A spatial search using a polygon instead of a circle will provide similar results.)  Picture a sonar screen from an old war movie where the navy ship captain is trying to visualize and react to any incoming torpedoes. If you remember, there’s a circular field of view with a rotating radius beam. Torpedoes show up as blips on the screen as the radius sweeps by.  “Rudder hard to port!” shouts the captain, “All Engines full speed ahead!” and disaster is narrowly averted.

Building on Business Intelligence

Beyond avoiding torpedoes, Radius search, sometimes referred to as radius maps, can help your business grow by revealing the golden opportunities that lie within your market areas.  Any organization can use a web map to plot field data points that represent critical business locations – a process commonly referred to as geocoding.  These critical data points might be field resources, retail sales locations, sales (by address, zip code or county), competitor locations, or prospect addresses.  This basic data visualization tool reveals exactly where on the planet your business takes place or where key business resources are located.  Radius search takes that geocoded visualization a step further.  Radius search lets the user draw a circle around a center point at a user defined distance or radius.  Then the mapping application creates a subset database of only those records from the original dataset that exist within that circle. Now export that new subset data to Excel and use your new-found business intelligence in further analysis, for communications, or planning.

Location Awareness

Sounds simple enough, right?  Now, you may ask, what can I do with the radius search data results? Good question. There are many applications for your burgeoning location awareness program.  Radius search data results are commonly used for sales planning, event planning, marketing campaigns, business expansions, and competitive analysis.

  • A sales person conducts a radius search query to identify customers she may want to visit or notify during a sales trip.
  • A marketing manager and event planner uses radius query results to target email or mail campaigns to customers and prospects based on geographic location.
  • A non-profit fund-raiser might use radius search to identify donors or potential donors in a metro area for follow-up or progress notifications.
  • A hospital system, planning a major new expansion, could use radius search to expose all the health related businesses in a metro region.
  • A large retail chain analyzes their competitors by conducting a radius search of purchased retail sales data imported into a web map application.

Web maps abound and at affordable prices, and some of them offer a radius search tool for your convenience.  Now there’s no excuse when your ship gets threatened by a competitive torpedo. Radius search is just one of the many features making business mapping technology the savvy business manager’s tool for a location aware, competitive edge.

 

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Affordable business intelligence maps to inform your business, right now.

Author: Geoffrey Ives

Contact: geoffives@spatialteq.com         (207) 939-6866

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Web Maps for Business Intelligence – You Have the Technology

Web maps are easy, fast, and affordable.

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.”

–            Reif Larsen

Wikipedia defines Business Intelligence as “the ability of an organization to collect, organize and maintain knowledge that can be used to develop new opportunities.”  Business Intelligence is information leveraged towards helping your business grow, defining new markets, reviewing the competition, or simply planning for the future.  Business leaders often find Business intelligence can be more informative when visualized against a web-map, also referred to as location based services.

Available web-based map applications today offer much more than turn-by-turn directions.  Business Intelligence begins with a visualization of critical business locations.  Business web-maps enable easy web visualization of business spread sheets through standard import processes. The business manager can then visualize geocoded customer locations, prospects, and competition against an accurate base map or aerial image. Simple spatial search tools enable the geographic analysis of imported data providing valuable answers to questions like:

  • How many prospects live along my business trip?
  • How many medical businesses are located within 25 miles of the new hospital system?
  • Visualizing retail tire sales, urban demographics, and local car sales, where should our next store should be located?
  • Which sales people are responsible for expanding sales in specific zip-code territory areas?

Today there are many on-line and desktop map applications that offer simple and affordable options for viewing business intelligence against compelling map data.  Business users no longer have to wait for maps, delayed by a long GIS software learning curve, befuddled by Google API’s, or buried in the to-do pile of the resident Map Geek.  Smart managers now have ready access to cloud-based business intelligence map engines informing decisions around a variety of business processes:

Marketing – Simple spatial analysis tools or radius searches quickly define prospects by location and enable list segmentation by area.  Users can then target mail/email campaigns by geographic area or proximity to a store location.

Sales Planning – Building effective territory designs that organize and direct your sales team are critical to managing a sales force.  Sales managers use common geographic units, like zip-codes or counties, to identify areas of responsibility and to coordinate and track sales efforts.  Efficient sales trips become a function of identifying where customers and prospects are located and estimating driving times between stops. Territories are adjusted to reflect the most effective use of a sales person’s time and to minimize travel costs, while improving accountability.

Event Planning – Sponsoring conferences and exhibitions is expensive.  To maximize an organization’s return on investment planners seek to understand all they can about their target audience through demographic analysis.  Web maps offer a unique perspective on the surrounding community.  Event marketing campaigns can be directed to potential attendees based on where they live, the local population densities, and incomes for specific areas.

Site Selection/Expansion Planning – Where to invest in new locations is a common and critical decision for growing businesses. Maps provide visual confirmation supporting such decisions. Customers, prospects, competitors and critical local services are all easily identifiable on a map through simple geocoding. Supplemental business datasets showing sales, resources, or demographics by location can make expansion planning an exact science.

Supplementing map visualizations with additional data overlays expands business intelligence capabilities, further empowering critical decision making. Common map data supplements include Census Bureau data, NAICS Business data, CDC Health Care data, and a myriad of industry specific datasets available through free and paid for sources.

Once business managers begin applying location based services to business intelligence gathering new and powerful insights will lead to successful strategic planning. Map users will explore new and evermore enlightening perspectives on their business data. Locations based analysis provides opportunities to expose new patterns in everyday business activity that will suggest new business processes, changes in sales approaches, or simply untried markets to explore.

There’s a very good reason why companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon invest billions of dollars in basic web mapping functionality. Web-maps have rapidly become critical information sources informing business decision making and the development of business strategies.  The use of web maps and location based services is both critical to business success and within the technical and budgetary reach of all businesses and organizations.  Use these web maps to your advantage, or ignore them at your peril.

For maps:  www.mapbusinessonline.com

Affordable business intelligence maps to inform your business, right now.

Author: Geoffrey Ives

Contact: geoffives@spatialteq.com                         (207) 939-6866

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