Map Business Online Blog

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

Location Components – Your Competitive Edge

Welcome to the world of digital mapping. Most of our blog readers, we assume, are users of business mapping software not because you’re interested in maps, but because you’re interested in your business’ success and business maps can help you achieve this. That’s a good thing. Good for us, because we have software that can assist. Good for you, because I read this week that over 80% of business related datasets have a location component.

Location Component
A location component – that’s the critical element. Simply put, a location component is an address. We all have one, and so do all of our customers, competitors, prospects, and vendors. I see quite a few companies importing datasets on to maps with just zip codes, or states. That’s a doable thing, but if I were the ‘Ayatollah of Rock-&-Rolla’ I would insist that all records include full addresses – address, city, state, zip code. Why lose the benefit of the most accurate location placement? It adds value. Location components could also be latitude/longitude points, GPS coordinates, WiFi addresses, Census tract or any set of numbers that represent a point or region on the Earth.

For a great example of how a location component can solve a problem watch the Smithsonian’s documentary on solving the final mystery of the Titanic. It was solved through location data baby! The Mystery of the Titanic Solved My grandfather, just an impressionable five year-old boy in 1912, would have simply adored this.

Another thing I read this week was that only 30% of businesses use business mapping software to visualize business data. But over 90% of businesses use Microsoft Excel (or some knock-off) as part of their business processes. This tells me there’s lots of room for improvement for those companies currently using spreadsheet software but not using business mapping software. And for most of you reading this – you are ahead of the pack. High five!

Location Technologies
For those of us immersed in the business of location-based services we struggle to keep up with the latest and greatest technologies. When I began my career in mapping consumer GPS devices were new, Bluetooth was just emerging as a data exchange standard, and AOL soon purchased Map Quest for $1 Billion (hang your right pinky from the corner of your mouth please.) Geographic Information System software or GIS was the purview of specially trained technicians available from an elite core of geospatial software providers.

Not too long ago business mapping software features like data visualization, and optimized routing, and sales territory mapping were available only to those organizations willing to invest in Geographic Information System software – not an insignificant investment. GIS provided and continues to provide more advanced levels of analysis, tools that support complex business processes like natural resource exploration, municipal infrastructure management, electric power distribution and monitoring, and many more highly complex applications. Business mapping software has harvested the more basic GIS processes appropriate for supporting every-day business requirements and made them available through cloud services.

Your relatively modest investment in what is essentially location intelligence software, information gathering based on the geographical relationships present in your business data, is helping you establish a competitive edge in your business. Terms like location intelligence, business intelligence, situational awareness, describe the process of gathering information about location and how it impacts your business or your situation. You’ve dipped your toe into the fast changing and powerful world of location-based services. Look forward to the future and the ways that location component of yours will greatly advance your business goals. We’re beginning to see some of these new tech ideas becoming real: automatic (hands free) smart driving, ubiquitous Internet connections through wireless mesh networking, and Smart grocery shopping.

Imagine Smart Grocery shopping. Based on your purchase history, your general preferences, your current pantry supply levels, monitoring devices will alert your grocery store to deliver (perhaps by drones?) the goods you want, apply discount coupons, and debit your bank account without any action on your part except maybe putting the stuff in the fridge. It’s coming.

So embrace your location-based business data wherever you find it. Make sure you and your people understand the upside of collecting and utilizing location components. And be on the look-out for new business related features (competitive edges) for your business from your mapping software.

For further reading see: “Scary-creepy robots that force your kids to empty the dishwasher.”

Www.MapBusinessOnline.com America’s fastest growing business mapping software.

Let a map help you learn about your business.

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Using Business Mapping Software for Marketing Analysis

When it comes to using mapping software for market analysis there are many possible scenarios from basic to complex. Using maps to study a market means you are connecting that market to a place on the Earth. This actually turns out to be quite an easy thing to do. You simply need a location component for each related marketing record. In a spreadsheet that could be an address, a zip code, a Census tract, a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a county, a zip 3, a state or other districts.

As usual in mapping software, data visualization is a big part of the initial payoff. But market analysis through mapping software is more than simply seeing the volume of your products sold by location, or the number of competitors located within an MSA. It’s literally a combination of things.

Combining Overlays
Many customers use business mapping software to view their sales or product data against geographic segments while considering the demographics of those geographic segments as well. For example, a home care agency might want to consider their entire patient census by zip code, while at the same time seeing a demographic layer describing the number 80 to 90 year-olds living in those zip codes. Additional layers of interest might be hospital locations, planned assisted living centers, and hospices.

By viewing all of these layers on a map that remains clearly defined – not too cluttered – the home care analyst may be able to discern patterns, ideas, or valuable data points in support of expansion plans, staffing decisions, or strategic analysis.

Concentric Circles
At times, a designated radius around a store, dealer, or sales rep location is desirable. How many customers, prospects or resources have I got within 10 miles of this point? That’s the question that can be answered through mapping market analysis. Further, it is often desirable to automatically generate multiple circles around multiple locations all at once, and to collect that data for use outside the map application. Thus another tool for market analysis is concentric circle analysis. Concentric circle analysis can provide critical data about customer potential for retailers at specific times, like during pre-Christmas sales campaigns. This sort of analysis will expand in scope and significance as Wi-Fi and iBeacon mesh networks proliferate. See http://www.forbes.com/sites/lauraheller/2014/01/21/apples-ibeacon-and-the-future-of-mobile-shopping/

Multiple Data Layers
The next step in map related market analysis might be determining the distances separating customers from retail outlets, patients from out-patient services, or energy customers from dispatch sources. Mapping applications can compare and contrast multiple datasets and show the results in distances between the associated locations. Such an analysis can help retailers to define marketing approaches like launch timings for text driven versus email driven marketing messages.

Another aspect of market area analysis is to compare brick and mortar store locations with roaming customer data. That customer data might also include a history of recent purchases. Thus for any store location, an analysis could list the total count of customers within a radius of say 10 miles of the store and include the total purchases in dollars that group of customers transacted at the store over the past six months. Similar analysis could be applied to hospital locations – compiling all the patients within 10 miles of all hospitals and displaying their ailment and their readmission rates.

Adding Demography
The results of multi-layer marketing analysis can also be related to demographic data. Demographic data compliments marketing analysis because it suggests relationships between analysis targets – like customers, products, and campaign activity – and things like:
• House hold income levels
• Median income
• Gender
• Ethnicity
• Population densities
• Population by age segment
• Employment statistics

Demographic data adds societal based comparison points for your business analysis within local or relatively confined physical regions like those zip codes, Marketing Statistical Areas, or Census tracts I mentioned above.

So, we’ve discussed combining a variety of data layers, map views, and administrative districts into comprehensive marketing analysis. As complex as this may seem, it can be arranged in a way that keep things simple. Always avoid map clutter. Take it one step at a time and don’t be afraid to start again with a different approach.

Organizations that tap into the marketing analysis capabilities of business mapping software have the ability to view and segment their business data geographically, while comparing that business data to demography, other business resources, and previous sales or business activity. These are powerful tools that lend insight into other business intelligence gathering exercises. I am always interested to learn about the creative ways business users apply web maps to their marketing analysis requirements. Map users always surprise me.

Www.MapBusinessOnline.com America’s fastest growing business mapping software.

Let a map help you learn about your business.

Review us at Google+ or at Best Vendor

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SpatialTEQ Releases MapBusinessOnline.com 4.2 – Census Tracts, MSAs, Zip 3s, and Canadian Territory Mapping for Sales & Marketing Pros

Canada Map ToolsNEWBURYPORT, MA (April 16, 2014) — Map Publisher SpatialTEQ Inc. today announced the release of MapBusinessOnline.com 4.2 – affordable sales, marketing and business planning tools for organizations in the USA, Canada, and the UK. Map Business Online (MBO) 4.2, expands MBO’s affordable cloud-based sales territory mapping solution to include Canada, while offering an extensive list of geospatial features dedicated to enhancing sales and marketing work flows.

MBO 4.2 addresses a variety of user feature requests including expanded sales territory management tools and administrative district controls for Canada. MBO 4.2 offers a full Canadian subscription complete with provincial, county, and FSA map layers. Users of MapBusinessOnline.com Canada will be able to create and manage sales territories, generate radius or polygon postal code maps, and access Statistics Canada demographic data while benefiting from existing MBO features.

With the 4.2 release Map Business Online now offers a dedicated Market Analysis Tool with options for querying distances to multiple store locations, calculating customer records located within a radius of multiple store locations, and estimating the sales potential by store location. This powerful Market Analysis Tool adds automation to MBO’s existing concentric circle market analysis.

Map Business Online 4.2 includes the ability to conduct mass updates to specific columns of previously imported data, avoiding the need to re-import user data. Color coding and symbology settings will be preserved through the update process. An Application Programming Interface (API) that supports data updates will be available upon request and for an additional service fee.

With MBO 4.2 USA users will have access to more map data layers including MSAs – Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Census Tracts, Zip3 (3 Digit zip code areas), and city boundary limits. Matching demographic data will be available for these additional map layer segments expanding the users ability to create demographic maps and census tract maps.

With this release MBO will offer classic Heat Map views of imported datasets. Heat maps match data values with color gradations to display hot spots on the map. Additional color coding effects have been added including more labeling and color shading options for color codes by circles. Color coding by area now supports up to 100 shades and the setting of custom shades. Chart symbolization now includes column charts and has been expanded to support up to six data columns. Color code by symbol will allow up to 56 ranges and will support the creation of custom ranges and unique ID’s.

Additional business mapping software features include support for copying symbology color code ranges, color coding upon data import, and enhanced map layer label options.

About Map Business Online
Brought to you by the creators of BusinessMAP, http://www.MapBusinessOnline.com has been providing sales & marketing professionals with affordable and intuitive solutions to geographic challenges since 2010. Create, edit, and share maps that reflect your business. Access optimized multi-stop routes to drive down travel costs. No other map software solves so much for so little.

Contact: Geoffrey Ives geoffives@spatialteq.com (800) 425-9035, (207) 939-6866

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Using States to Your Business Map Advantage


When I was four years old, my Mom gave me a puzzle-map of the U.S.A. It was a frame with state puzzle pieces made of hard cardboard. There were 50 pieces, each piece showed the state name and several symbols that represented popular resources, a historical reference, or products associated with that state. Mass had a Pilgrim hat. Colorado showed a pickaxe. I put that puzzle together over and over. It was way before Sesame Street, so I had time on my hands.

By the time I got out of Junior High School knowing the name of every state by shape or location was easy for me. I realize today, after serving many business mapping software customers, that not all adults find identifying geographic areas, states or points, to be so easy. We’re not all map geeks, thankfully.

States can be helpful on a business map to get your started and to keep you organized. State map labels and boundaries can be crucial to understanding where your business data is located, where you are searching, or where you are drawing objects on the map.

State labels and boundaries are reference guides that orient your map viewers. But be aware, map labels should not necessarily be all turned on. If a digital map simply turned on all labels, like counties, states and zips, your map would be a chaotic mess of smashed up names. To resolve this conflict digital map makers embed default switches within the map data layers. The switches turn on the labels for certain items as the user zooms in. Often these switches take into consideration the size of the object, whether it is a point or an area, or what the actual data layer is. For instance, state names will tend to come up at the nationwide map view, while zip code map labels turn on at a more regional level.

States for Orientation
State boundaries alone, added to your map as a frame of reference, can add helpful orientation for your map audience. As we zoom in and out of a digital map our awareness of where we are can get confused. By turning on a state boundary layer and perhaps making the boundary line a little thicker, a map administrator can help their audience feel more familiar with the business map view.

At MBO, we are adding Census Tracts, MSA areas, and Zip 3 support to our mapping software map layer options. This means states, provinces and counties may be even more helpful in providing a meaningful frame of reference for demographic maps or market analysis maps. After all, how many of us take the dog for a walk around the Census Tract?

For example, a California marketing professional might conduct a study of prospecting activity in the New York City area – an area she is not familiar with. By including State boundaries in their Census-Tract-based demographic analysis of the NYC area the user will see how closely Staten Island Census tracts are located to Jew Jersey which could have an impact on analysis results as well as marketing initiatives.

States for Focus
Sometimes a map wants to be just one state. If your map illustrates a point about a particular state for an article or report than just turn on that one state; that is, if the web-based mapping software you use lets you. Let that target state alone be your area of focus and remove the superfluous other states from the reader’s field of view. Make it easy for your viewer to focus on your point. In a way, you are just stating the obvious.

States can be valuable as a demographic unit of measure. For instance, if you have a sales organization that needs to be split into regions, those regions might be groups of states with similar or dissimilar population profiles. Often a carefully considered USA wide demographic analysis by state will suggest regional sales territory mapping breakdowns. Try it as a starting point for sales territory creation.

States for Organization
Sometimes a map just focuses on groups of states, to the exclusion of all other states. Groups of states or provinces combine to organize regional territories that supplement organizational planning, demographic analysis, and other strategic business analysis. These high level map views serve as jumping off points for more detailed process maps. It’s your business, so make the states reflect your particular business patterns. In your business world, the Northeast may include every state from Ohio, Maryland all the way up to Maine or even Quebec. For others the Northeast may just mean pure New England. Make states work for you.

In the business-map business, counties, zip codes, MSA’s and Census Tracts are much sexier than boring old states and provinces. But don’t ignore those states. States have value too.

As we approached our thirties, my wife and I picked the state of Maine as a place to settle and raise a family. I can’t imagine living anywhere else now (except during the late winter), but I also can’t help but wonder if they’d placed a red lobster resource icon on the wooden puzzle piece that represented Iowa, I might have been tempted to try a plain-state home. I’m pretty sure on that old puzzle Iowa displayed a butter churn icon too.

Www.MapBusinessOnline.com America’s fastest growing business mapping software.

Let a map help you learn about your business.

Review us at Google+ or at Best Vendor

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Why Do Sales & Marketing Professionals Love Business Maps?

Map Business Online is business mapping software and 90% of the customers I speak with use the product for sales and marketing applications. Those sales and marketing users could be advanced users, comfortable with all types of software, or they may be novices to cloud services and may occasionally be unfamiliar with creating a simple spreadsheet. These sales and marketing users may work alone or they may work in large sales organizations like national retailer chains or at Oracle. Regardless of how big their company is, they use sales mapping software and marketing maps to supplement their sales and marketing activities.

But in talking to them all I’ve learned that geography as an applied discipline is perfect for sales and marketing.

Visualization
The power of seeing your customers or prospects against an accurate and compelling web map is not to be understated. And I state it a lot because it’s true. Data visualizations can manifest in many ways. It could be just address records with points on a map. But it could also be symbolized and color coded points based on account types. Or those records could be converted into sales numbers and visualized as a component of total sales by county or state. Whatever way you visualize your data, sales and marketing numbers in a spreadsheet take on a whole new meaning when associated with areas of interest on a map.

Sales Territory Management
Organizations of all kinds use territory mapping to assign and monitor sales progress. Typically sales territories and coverage areas are assigned by zip code or county, but states may make more sense for larger organizations. In some cases databases exist with counties or zip codes pre-assigned – these can be imported into mapping applications for territory display. Sales managers can also create territories by selecting groups of zips or counties with a polygon search tool or by clicking districts incrementally. Either way the sales territories can be color-coded and labeled for obvious accountability. Mapping software can even allow or disallow sales overlap.

Mapping software applications provide that missing link between CRM apps like SalesForce.com, ACT! or Oracle and your ability to actually see how territories exist on a map.

Market Analysis
Some of the same tools that set up territories are used to establish market analysis by areas. Zip codes and counties may be set aside in favor of MSA’s, Zip 3 areas, or Census Tracts in this case. But no matter what areas of interest you choose, mapping applications enable the segmentation of data – your data, business listings, email lists, or demographic maps – by geographic area. I’ve seen market analysis applied in hundreds, perhaps thousands of ways from event planning to product launches, from competitor analysis to business expansion. And other business aspects can benefit from the exact same analysis – like health care organizations determining coverage areas by skill set or discipline.

Marketers and strategic sales planners love to take their databases and strategy outlines and visualize how they layout against an accurate map. After all, we live and work on this planet. Our business plans should always incorporate a perspective that takes the world as we know it into consideration.

Affordability
I know I can’t open an email or Google a restaurant without seeing some sort of ad for sales and marketing tools. Everyone has their own special sauce for furthering sales success. We pay good money for CRM, email management tools and possibly LinkedIn. Mapping software is a relatively inexpensive way to augment all of those tools in ways that add value.

Export your email lists out of your CRM or email system and segment it geographically. Plan campaigns around when your sales people travel to certain areas of the country. Market events based on potential customers living within X miles of your selected hotel in key MSA’s. Determine which zip codes you have not yet milked for your donor campaign. Really, the list goes on and on.

There’s a magical component to the geographic view of a business strategy. Geography helps organize our minds. It brings new perspectives and patterns to our analysis. Sales and marketing professionals love this aspect of business mapping software. As do many other professionals across many disciplines.

Www.MapBusinessOnline.com America’s fastest growing business mapping software.

Let a map help you learn about your business.

Review us at Google+ or at Best Vendor

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