If you’re a retailer, you know the importance of marketing your business digitally. You also know that your ability to effectively market to a consumer is what wins it for you. But, have you considered location-based marketing through geospatial data?
In this article, we are going to go over what geospatial data is, the benefits of utilizing geospatial data, and examples of retailers who use GIS for location-based marketing.
First, let’s define geospatial data. What is it?
What is Geospatial Data?
Geospatial data is the use of technology, such as GPS, to create and store digital maps that help retailers better understand their customers. This information can be used to geotarget based on location and demographic information allowing marketers to create better-customized marketing campaigns in the long run.
The main use case for geospatial data is to segment audiences based on proximity to a location, but that’s not all it can do. Geospatial data can help you understand who your customers are, where they live, and how they spend their time outside of work hours — which can help you create marketing campaigns that drive results.
Now that we went over the basics of what geospatial data is, we are know going to discuss some of its benefits as it relates to marketing.
3 Benefits (and Examples) of Geospatial Data for Marketing
Did you know that 95% of executives across the globe believe that geospatial data is critical for achieving business success? Well, it’s true! Geospatial data is one factor that can really send your business over the edge allowing you to make better data-driven decisions for your overall business. This includes digital marketing as well.
Still on the fence about marrying the concept of GIS and marketing together? Here are three benefits of GIS marketing and examples of some of the top-name retailers who use GIS to improve their marketing efforts.
Brings More Foot Traffic to Stores
Geospatial data is used to understand where shoppers are, where they’re going, and what they’re doing as they move around both inside and outside their stores. Retailers can then use this information to create tailored marketing campaigns that draw in more customers to their stores. In addition to this, geospatial data can also be used to keep customers in your stores longer.
Example: Sephora is Able to Better Segment Customers with Geospatial Data
Beauty retailer Sephora uses geospatial data to send its rewards members a pop-up notification anytime that a customer is in close proximity to one of its stores. The pop-up will generally have a marketing offer to come in for a “free mini makeover” making it almost too enticing to pass up — especially if they are already in the area.
Once they are in the store, app users can visit the app to get personalized recommendations and to view reviews and product features in the easy-to-use platform.
Better Targeted Advertising
Geospatial data allows your marketing teams to create better, targeted advertising campaigns that’ll drive your bottom line.
For instance, let’s say you have a flower shop. You would want to pinpoint important location information of what neighborhood your ideal customer may live in and work in to ensure that any advertisement you launch online is shown to those specific groups of people.
Through the power of geospatial data, you’ll be able to set better targeting parameters in your digital advertisements.
Example: Under Armour Uses Location-Based Marketing through App
An example of a company that uses geospatial data for digital marketing is Under Armour. Under Armour uses GIS through its Map my Fitness app to give its users better-targeted advertising. From tracking the type of activities you do to knowing geographically where you’re located, the Under Armour fitness trackers are pretty robust in their tracking features allowing the company to market its users more effectively.
How does this look in action?
If you use the Map my Fitness app to track your runs, you may start to get more advertisements for Under Armour running shoes. If you actively use the app in a location with a colder climate, you may start to see more advertisements for the Under Armour base layer. The list goes on. Through the app, the company is able to up-sell and cross-sell seamlessly without coming off as too “salesy”.
Enhanced Personalized Messaging
Personalized messaging has been proven to have significantly higher engagement rates than non-personalized messages. In fact, 90% of consumers find personalized marketing more appealing than the latter.
Geospatial data allows your teams to send out personalized messaging based on where your customers are located and what they’re doing at any given moment. Pretty neat right? Let’s take a look at how Ritual creates personalized messaging by using geospatial data.
Example: Ritual Ordering Food App utilizes Personalized Messaging with GIS
Ritual food ordering app is known to connect users with restaurants in the area based on historical purchasing habits. (It’s similar to DoorDash or Uber Eats.)
Ritual does a great job when it comes to personalization. The company will send personalized notifications to its users with food recommendations based on both area and taste preferences. These simple but powerful pop-up notifications make the customer more likely to open the app and place an order. They may not exactly purchase from the restaurant you suggest, but it gets them curious (and hungry) to find the right food place to make an order at.
Transform Your Digital Marketing Efforts with Geospatial Data
All in all, geospatial data is everywhere. It’s one of the most important elements for marketers and advertisers to understand if they want to accurately target their audience.
As a recap, geospatial data can:
Bring more foot traffic to your store
Help you create better-targeted ads
Enable you to send out more personalized messaging
As more and more location-based data becomes available to retailers, it has become even more important now than ever before for retailers to use that data to their advantage. If not, you are missing out on the opportunity to improve your reach to those who need to see your message the most: potential customers.
Why Using A Customer Data Platform Will Take Your Customer Experience to the Next Level
There’s no shortage of marketing tools that capture and analyze customer data. The problem? When businesses analyze customer data, each data set is usually treated as a standalone. But siphoning through data set after data set can be costly and inefficient.
So, how do marketers combine different data sets into a single customer view?
CDPs are data platforms that capture data from various sources and display it in a single unified customer database. In other words, they consolidate and integrate customer data into one central platform. This way, businesses can pull insights on a specific customer or prospect during various points of the customer journey.
Like all marketing tools, businesses use CDPs to understand their customers’ unique preferences and behaviors.
But what sets CDPs apart from other tools is their ability to help businesses create customer-centric experiences.
CDPs give businesses the data they need to create relevant messaging — all in one place, in real-time. This helps them create messages that are custom-tailored to their customers’ preferences. When customers feel like a company knows them, they’re more likely to stick around.
Let’s take a closer look at how you can use CDPs to take your customer experience to the next level.
Building a sales process
Using a customer data platform can be invaluable to building a sales process that entices your customers to say “yes” without resorting to slimy tactics.
Below, we’ve listed a number of ways businesses can use CDPs.
1. Map out the buyer’s journey
Buyer journeys aren’t simple straight lines that lead to a sale. They zig, zag, turnaround, and zig again.
Today, a buyer’s journey could start on one channel and toggle between several steps. Knowing how that journey ebbs and flows gives your organization a chance to ensure no customer slips through the cracks.
The most valuable part of a CDP is the personalized customer profiles. These in-depth, single customer view profiles are what set CDPs apart from other systems.
Profiles detail each person based on data pulled from an array of channels. This means wherever your customer is — you are. Whether they’re in person or online, you have a compilation of their behaviors and preferences.
This helps you craft unique experiences you know a customer will love.
In the end, customers want to be seen as individuals, not as lead prospects. It can get cloudy when you’re analyzing data. Sooner or later, prospects look like sales targets on a spreadsheet. But CDPs have the distinct ability to create comprehensive profiles that feel human.
Every data point serves a purpose, is cleaned, and deduplicated. Next, the datasets are grouped together by theme. Finally, the data generates a unified customer profile.
In a CDP customer profile, you’ll see details such as:
Along the way, you continue to keep an eye on your customer data. If you see a change in pattern, simply adjust your content as needed.
This commitment to custom tailoring content to customers’ preferences enhances their experience with your company.
While every customer has their own preferences and behaviors, it’s common for many to exhibit common patterns.
CDPs give you tools to define your audience by segments based on these shared attributes and behaviors. Segments are based on rules, or they’re built using machine learning and AI. With these tools, you can enrich customer profiles with data you wouldn’t be able to gather on your own.
With the segmenting features, you can:
Predict customer churn
Deliver relevant recommendations based on buying history
Identify customer advocates and frequent buyers
Identify similar patterns
Identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities
Segment your customers using common attributes
Tailor messages to those segments
Businesses can use CDP segmentation tools to optimize the entire customer journey from discovery to advocacy.
To analyze and segment profile data, look for a CDP that has:
Visualizations that feel intuitive
Out of the box features
24/7 customer support
An example of audience segmentation
Let’s imagine that your business sells digital courses on personal and career development. You just set up a CDP, and you’re looking forward to trying the audience segmentation features.
After identifying customer patterns and behaviors, you notice you have three main types of customer patterns:
Frequent buyers that mainly buy career development courses
Infrequent buyers that mainly buy personal development courses
But there are more differences between the two tools.
Here are some major differences between a CDP and a CRM.
1. Data capacity
CRMs were intended to keep track of customer and prospect interactions to automate the process for sales teams. They’re great for sales and marketing teams that need to pull customer information quickly.
CDPs are great at handling large amounts of data from various channels.
2. Known data
CRMs only contain known data — they won’t be able to pull anything on potential customers you’ve never met before.
CDPs work with both known and unknown data making them more valuable than most martech tools.
3. Storage information
CRM data stores simple information into a few fields — almost like a flashcard. It includes basic customer information such as name and contact information.
CDPs have detailed information about a customer’s buying patterns, online and offline activity, and behaviors.
4. Data format
CRMs can’t handle data in a free-flowing manner. The system can only recognize data if it’s formatted in a specific way (i.e., a CSV file).
CDPs take information from several sources and act as a central hub for customer data. They can handle both simple and robust information while also making sense of complex data. This includes online and offline data and behaviors.
5. Monitoring and engaging
CRMs are helpful for monitoring and engaging with customers and prospects throughout all phases of the buyer’s journey. They work well at managing contact information and also have automated workflows and reports. Solopreneurs and small teams often use CRMs.
CDPs are helpful for tracking all aspects of customer behavior on and offline. They pull information from various sources for customers you know and don’t know alike. They help you segment audiences and refine your messaging. Startups, mid-size, and large companies use CDPs.
Which tool is better for customer experience — a CRM or a CDP?
While CRMs are helpful for engaging with customers at various parts of the customer journey, they’re still limited on information.
The more detailed information a company has about their customers, the more insight they have as to what those customers crave.
First, you have to know what their pain points are. Then, you have to craft messages that align with customer needs. But a CRM can’t help you with that. It can help you manually look up customers and engage with them directly, but it doesn’t use machine learning or artificial intelligence to scour customer behaviors.
Ready to transform your customer experience to the next level?
Customer experience affects every aspect of success, making CDPs invaluable to a business.
With a CDP, you’ll understand how your customer thinks, what they’re looking for, and what they like. You won’t need three tools, and multiple data set extraction tools. Instead, your CDP will pull information from various channels for you.
Not only does this save you time, but it also helps you understand how to reach your customers in a profound way.
From knowing how to craft messages to building long-term relationships, a CDP is every business’s trusted tool for up-leveling the customer experience.
Jeremy is co-founder & CEO at uSERP, a digital PR and SEO agency working with brands like Monday, ActiveCampaign, Hotjar, and more. He also buys and builds SaaS companies like Wordable.io and writes for publications like Entrepreneur and Search Engine Journal.
Although its parent company, Alphabet, might tell its mission is “to make the world around you universally accessible and useful”, Google is very much the information arm of that goal.
Google needs information to achieve its goal, and so it hoovers up as much as it can from wherever it can, whether that’s through implicitly permitted activities like scraping websites, review sites and social media sites for information it can pass on to its users, or through more explicitly permitted activities like requesting and using your GPS location on your device.
It’s the latter that I’d like to talk about today: specifically how this location data impacts and informs what you see when you perform a Google search. As we’ll discover, very little of the search experience is untouched by location data, and in the case of local SEO, it’s an integral part of the search algorithm. Other methods to make your SEO better include SEO split testing, quality content, proper keyword research, quality link building, getting an online SEO certification etc.
Why does Google need to use location data?
To understand why Google uses location data and how Google scraper works, we first need to look at the history of local search. It’s sometimes hard to believe, but there once was a time when local search functioned in the same way as organic search. Namely, you’d need to type the search term and location to see businesses near you, e.g. “pizzas brooklyn new york”.
Then, with the introduction of location data gathered via GPS, it was easier to find local businesses by searching “pizzas near me”. Fast-forward a bit further, and Google is now so in tune with the intent of your search that it can tell merely from a search term whether the searcher is looking for something local. In fact, 46% of all Google searches are estimated to have a ‘local intent’.
The Local Pack and Google My Business
These days, you can simply type “pizza” with location data enabled, and you’ll be shown pizza places near you. These are presented in what’s called the ‘local pack’, a selection of three businesses that Google believes fit with the search intent, are local enough, and have a good enough standing to rank.
There are many individual local ranking factors that play a part in how well a business is likely to rank here, and these change slightly every year, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the #1 factor comes down to the use of a Google product. It’s called Google My Business, and it’s the single most important tool in any local SEO’s armoury.
The information visible in every listing you see in the local pack all comes from these business’ Google My Business profile, which is made up of a mixture of objective information submitted by the business (e.g. opening times, category, description), subjective information submitted by consumers (e.g. Google Reviews, Google Q&A) and information scraped from the business website by Google (e.g. Services, Menu – though these can be overwritten manually). One can also submit the URL to Google console manually to have their website indexed.
Here’s an example of a Google My Business profile as it appears in the Knowledge Panel in a branded search for this business:
You’ll see that one of the fields here is ‘Address’. This is one of the pieces of information that you submit when setting your business address. It’s not automatically gathered by Google based on information from directory listings or the Post Office. However, it’s worth noting that consistency across all these is key to building trust with Google and consumers.
Google uses your business address location data not just to pin you on Google Maps and give you the privilege of a Google My Business listing but to ensure you enjoy relevant placement in local search results for local searches within a reasonable proximity of your business.
What that proximity is very much depends on a few factors, but the saturation of your business type and the population density in your local area naturally have an impact.
For example, in the example above, a search for a popular term like “pizza” resulted in an incredibly tight area being presented on the map. That’s how far Google needed to go to find three relevant businesses. However, plug in a niche business type like “taxidermist” and Google has to go as wide as the whole of the South-east of England to present the results.
This is a very basic overview of how location data is used to personalise search results for business types, but what happens when the search isn’t clearly for a business but could still have local intent?
Localised organic search
“Localised organic” search results are those in which, as the name suggests, organic search results have been put through a local filter based on the search location.
For example, if I search “best pizzas”, one could infer from the unspecific nature of the search that I’m simply looking for a list of the most popular pizza types, or perhaps best pizza places in the world. Not Google, though.
Based on its collection of millions of search terms, results, and data on what links clicked after which searches, Google thinks that what I really mean is “best pizza near me”.
It’s worth noting that the above appears below a local pack similar to the one shared earlier. This tells you just how confident Google is that what I want to see is a list of the best pizzas near me, based on my search location.
Another key area in which Google uses location data to inform what it presents in search results is Google Ads.
When you set up a Google Ads campaign, you can determine whether you want your ads to be seen by an audience searching from a specific location. This might be useful in the example above, if we wanted to appear in search for people in Brighton looking for pizzas.
Obviously, because Google Ads is a paid-for service (and one of Google’s key revenue streams, to boot), there are extensive, and evolving, options for advertisers to use search location to increase targeting of their ads. Search Engine Land has a great rundown of what’s changed with Google Ads and location recently.
How does Google collect location data?
The sharing and usage of location data have long been entwined in arguments and controversy around privacy on the web. There have been countless suits, countersuits, and pieces of legislation that can impact what private information can be requested and used (most notably the GDPR back in 2018 and, more recently, the California Consumer Privacy Act), but as far as I’m aware the use of location data alone hasn’t been central to any.
As it’s not a piece of personally-identifiable information alone, your location data tends to be up for grabs, but critically, only when you agree to share it. This can be done at a device level (for example, in iPhone settings) or app level (in your Google Account), but there’s one instance, as we’ll see below, in which you cannot prevent Google from knowing a little about where you are.
Let’s look at some of the ways Google determines your search location.
Device location and GPS
Provided you’ve set up access to this information on your device, Google can see where it is (and if it’s a mobile device, exactly where you are, at least if your mobile-carrying habits are like mine). For local searches, this is particularly relevant to smartphones, as we’re much more likely to perform local searches when we’re out and about, looking for a cafe in a town we’re visiting, or looking up an address for directions.
Most smartphones are equipped with a GPS chip that communicates with satellites to allow you (and others) to pinpoint your location to a remarkably accurate degree. If your device location was used to help get your Google search results, the location information at the bottom of the search results page will say “From your device”.
Log in to your Google Account, head to ‘Location History’ in ‘Activity Controls’, and you can see a timeline of exactly where you’ve been telling Google you are and when you were doing so. It even goes as far as telling you how Google uses this information.
I actually have to applaud Google’s brazen way of turning what could be considered by some as creepy tracking into a fun feature. (For what it’s worth, I would happily share an example of my own location timeline if I weren’t writing this in a pandemic and looking at a fairly non-existent variety of location data points.)
If you’re a big Google Maps user, you may have set your Home and Work addresses in your Google Account. This makes it a lot faster to determine directions and route times in Google Maps.
However, what you might not know is that, even without knowing your precise location via GPS, Google can use this information to make assumptions about where you’re likely to be searching from. For example, if Google knows, through past location data, that you work 9-5 in an office in town and generally spend the evenings at home, it can tailor search results to those places and timelines, allowing you to search for a lunch spot near you at lunchtime without needing to explicitly tell Google where you are.
If the location of your labeled places was used to help get your search results, the location information at the bottom of the search results page will say “From your places (Home) or (Work)”.
“You can’t prevent apps or websites that you visit, including Google, from getting the IP address of your device because the Internet does not work without it. This means all apps and websites that you visit can usually infer some information about your location.” – Google.
You might think that an IP address is only applied when using a wi-fi connection rather than just on 3G, 4G, or 5G, but the messy truth of it is that IP relates to these services, too.
The location data that systems like Google can glean from your IP is much, much less accurate than GPS, covering a broad area rather than your exact location in the world. Still, it’s interesting to note that the very act of using the internet comes with a signed contract to give up some of your location data.
If your IP address was used to estimate your current general area for your Google search, the location information at the bottom of the search results page will say “From your internet address”.
Business location data
Completely different to dynamic location tracking is the act of storing a business’ address in Google My Business. As mentioned above, this is critical to allow Google searchers to know how to visit your business location. Still, it’s worth noting that even service businesses without a physical location can get Google My Business listings and appear in local search results based on the submitted service area.
Google collects business information through a submission and verification process, but when it comes to local landmarks, much of this is user-created or a matter of public record. For example, no-one ever needed to tell Google where Buckingham Palace is.
Google location data types
There are a few different codes and URLs that local search tracking tools use to define search location and review content. These are mostly defined by Google and are of particular importance to a business location.
The Ludocid, sometimes referred to as the ‘CID’, is a unique ID that Google assigns to a specific business location to identify it within its systems. The Ludocid can be used within Google search URLs to return the Knowledge Panel for that specific business. It can also be used within Google Maps to view a specific business.
The Place ID is another unique ID that Google uses to identify a specific business within its systems. There are two common uses of the Place ID. The first is in the Google Places API; passing this ID to Google can return extensive information about a business, including its name, address, website URL, opening hours, etc. For example, if your website uses WordPress as a CMS, you can add your Google account to WordPress. This is true if you use a WordPress website builder, like Elementor, as well. Additionally, make sure to use the best-managed WordPress hosting so that your website gets found more easily.
The second use is in constructing a Google search URL to trigger a page that displays all the reviews for a business, or the page where users can write a new review for a business. When Google sees these IDs in a URL, it automatically converts them to a different URL that combines the Ludocid with the FID.
The FID is a unique ID that relates to reviews that Google holds about a specific business. The FID has fewer practical uses than the Ludocid and the Place ID, as it’s primarily used in combination with the Place ID to generate a ‘write reviews’ or ‘read reviews’ URL.
If you know the Place ID, then Google converts this to the FID for you, so you’re unlikely to use the FID directly. It’s easier to create URLs to read or write reviews using the Place ID, but we thought we’d add it here in case it’s of use.
As you’ve seen above, location data is integral to the evolving search experience. We might not be out and about right now as much as we’d like to be, but when lockdowns are lifted, and we roam the streets once more, where we are and what we search for will once again combine to deliver a streamlined, almost invisible personalised search experience that we barely even think about.
Google has already used location data in a creative way to show how little the world is moving due to Covid-19 in its Mobility Report. What Google will do with an explosion of movement, post-pandemic, remains to be seen.
Jamie Pitman has worked in digital marketing for over a decade and is currently Head of Content at local SEO tool provider BrightLocal. He specializes in local marketing and the many factors that affect local search performance, from Google My Business and consumer reviews to branding, content marketing, and beyond.
Uber, Google, Wendy’s, CDM Smith Inc, and Amazon – you couldn’t get a much more diverse set of organizations. A search engine, a fast-food chain, to an online retail store – these businesses might be diverse in terms of their operations, but they’re all linked by certain business practices.
That is, these top business players all utilize geospatial data to optimize their operations for a healthier bottom line. In this article, you’ll discover what geospatial data is and how it’s used by these top 5 businesses to gain a competitive edge.
Let’s jump straight to it.
What is geospatial data?
Geospatial data is also known as place-based or location-based data, such as longitudes, latitudes, stress addresses, and postal codes. Geospatial data analysis collects, displays, and manipulates GIS – Geographic Information System – data like imagery, satellite photographs, and historical data. The aim is to collect, store, retrieve, and display vast amounts of information in a spatial context.
For instance, can you imagine life without GPS?
In this vein, you’ll likely remember buying a paper map to plan your routes from one place to another. This system was slower, hard work, and vulnerable to human error. Today, geospatial data has been a game-changer when it comes to providing location/place-based information. Whether it’s MapQuest, Pokémon Go, Google Maps, or the in-dash car navigation system, everyday citizens use geospatial data more than they know.
How do top businesses use geospatial data?
Just as we rely on geospatial information every day, leaders worldwide use geospatial data to guide them towards making the right decisions at the right time. With that said, let’s take a closer look at how Uber and other top businesses are using geospatial data to optimize their strategic decisions for efficient operations and sustained business growth.
In 2019, Uber brought in $14.1 billion in revenue, showing exponential growth from 2013 (where revenue equals $0.1 billion). Founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp, the organization has since grown into a disruptive tycoon that’s ripped up the cab industry by storm.
Central to its success comes geospatial technology.
With the Uber app, the user can request a cab. This user’s location is then taken and matched with the closest driver. The driver accepts this match and is guided by applying it to the user’s location to transport the user to their chosen destination. This entire process draws from the application’s geospatial data.
This isn’t the only way Uber uses geospatial data — there are countless others. For instance, the application identifies areas with the highest need for drivers and advises active drivers to be near those hotspots during high demand times.
Without geospatial data, Uber would not be the business disruptor it is today.
Google is the goliath of the business world. In the third quarter of 2020, Google’s revenue amounted to $46.03 billion, up from $38 billion in the preceding quarter. Taking a good chunk out of this revenue comes from Google’s map application, which brings $4.3 billion a year.
Google maps has 154.4 million monthly unique users. And behind every map, there’s a much more complex system, the key to your queries but hidden from your view.
This more in-depth system contains the logic of places, all the left and right turns, freeway on-ramps, speed limits, traffic conditions, you name it. And to produce such a system, Google uses geospatial data provided by a third party to deliver digital maps and other dynamic content for navigation and location-based services.
Square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and the addictive Frosty, this fast-food giant brought home $1.687 billion in revenue in 2020.
Wendy’s carefully researches locations, leveraging mapping software and census data (population information). The fast-food chain searches for sites with a high population and potential customers and looks at household demographics, average income, and nearby businesses.
But this analysis doesn’t stop when the right site has been found. Wendy’s continues to examine this geospatial data after construction at the given location. Before construction, prior construction results can then be compared to continuously tweak and improve their GIS analytics model and processes.
CDM Smith Inc
CDM Smith Inc is a global engineering and construction firm providing solutions in water, environment, transportation, energy, and other facilities. In 2015 the organization’s revenues totaled over $500 million, and one of the reasons for the success has been the organization’s use of geospatial data.
That is, for CDM Smith Inc, geospatial data provides design and engineering capabilities to create plans, layouts, and maps. GIS applications for design and engineering make use of both imaging and planning functions. Such functions mean geospatial data is commonly used in industries such as landscape engineering, environmental restoration, commercial and residential construction, and development. CDM uses geospatial data for environmental engineering and remediation projects.
In 2019, the online retail platform, Amazon, reported a net income of $11.59 billion, up from a $10 billion U.S. net income in the previous year. To stay ahead of the curve, Amazon is always coming up with new and innovative ways of doing business. And one example is Amazon’s Prime Air drone project, expected to officially launch on August 31st, 2020.
By integrating GIS with Artificial Intelligence, it’s possible to fly drones over much larger distances than other previous attempts. Amazon has jumped on this bandwagon, delivering packages by drones. The aim is to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles – drones – operational thanks to geospatial data.
Gain a competitive edge by using geospatial data
As technology advances, geospatial data is becoming more complex, with widening business potential. At the end of this article, we saw how Amazon is combining GIS software with Artificial Intelligence (drones) to expand the use of both. Does this represent the future of things to come regarding geospatial data?
Geospatial data analysis has the potential to:
Match consumer demographic data with spatial information about the places they live
Validate existing GIS data sets
Monitor and report weather
Assess disaster damage
While these are just a few examples, by combining geospatial data with AI, the possibilities of its use are expanding. To grasp a competitive edge, and be a top player in the business arena, dig deep and see how you can leverage geospatial data technology for your business operations.
In an overwhelmingly competitive digital business landscape, modern businesses depend on their ability to collect, process, and analyze data. There are many types of B2B data, and technographics is one of them.
It’s especially beneficial to IT companies and businesses selling the latest tech solutions. Technographic data or technographics give your business insight into competitors’ tech stack and provide information on the current market demand for your products.
This information could be a competitive edge for a young business looking for a secured position in an overcrowded marketplace. Let’s discuss what technographics are, how to collect them, and how they can benefit your company.
It is a corporate term for business-to-business data that shows users which software tools and technologies their competitors and potential prospects use.
Technographics give you a full scope of information on the type of data platform, SaaS solutions, software, and hardware your competitors and potential customers use.
Sales teams use such insights to create more competitive, customer-centric digital marketing campaigns and drive better results.
Technographics help businesses understand competitors’ technologies and how to improve their services to beat the competition, attract more customers, and expand their operations.
Technographics also provide insights into competitors’ budgets, scalability, flexibility, and infrastructure.
How to gather technographics
The best way to collect technographic data on your prospects depends on your specific business needs. There are three common ways to gather technographics:
Third-party vendors – businesses can buy technographics from various data providers. This option is the safest way to collect accurate, up-to-date technographic data.
Web scraping – data and web scraping are excellent methods for collecting technographics. For example, you can use them to gather details from the source codes of competitors’ websites to ascertain the kind of software solutions they use.
Surveying – distribute surveys by email or phone to ask prospects for feedback on tech solutions they use.
How technographics help businesses
Technographic data gives you various insights into complementary and competitor technology. However, it can do more than that:
Technographics offer insights into the level of expertise of your competitors;
You can tap into the budgets of your competitors to find out how much they’re planning to spend on innovative tech solutions;
You can find out how tech-savvy your competitors are and whether they need additional training or not.
Gathering the latest tech insights on your competitors and their target audiences allows you to adjust your digital marketing approach according to the market demand.
You can combine technographic data with compatible technology to develop solutions for targeting different demographics across markets and provide customers with real-life solutions to their problems.
Technographics help businesses by providing five essential advantages:
Market segmentation – you can segment your target audience by prospects, specific needs, or the tech they use and base marketing campaigns on their preferences;
Customer-centricity – reaching more prospects with your marketing messages is much easier when you know the specific software tools they prefer. Use their preferences to start a conversation and promote your products/services;
Lead generation – capture quality leads from the conversations with prospects and prioritize the highest paying customers;
Shorter customer journey – reach more prospects with your marketing messages at the most appropriate time;
Competitive analysis – learn from your competitors’ business and marketing strategies and identify lucrative market opportunities before they do.
In the data-driven business landscape, technographic data help businesses identify the right audience, target prospects with personalized messages, and understand the type of technology they prefer. It lets your sales team understand the logic behind your customers’ purchasing decisions.
Technographics provide companies with valuable, accurate, and up-to-date insights into the technology stacks their competitors and target audiences are using.
Businesses can purchase technographic data from third parties or use surveys and web scraping methods to collect the information.
These technographic insights provide more effective solutions for sales, lead generation, list building, and conversion and make your digital marketing campaigns more effective.
The goal of gathering technographics, intent data, and chronographics is to create more effective, targeted marketing strategies for targeting prospects with personalized messages at the right moment.
B2B data is vital to improving your business efforts and approaching wider target audiences with personalized products that can solve real-life problems and make your company stand out.
Last year, in a piece about big data’s impact on finance, we touched on the notion that location data sets can simplify the practice of investing. The idea is that accurate data regarding consumer movement can provide insights on consumer trends — and, thus, potentially, corresponding market movements. In this article, we’re going to expand on that general idea with a closer examination of big data’s potential influence on personal finance.
Big Data & Investment Today
First and foremost, it’s necessary to briefly discuss the current state of big data in the investment world. In the piece, as mentioned above, we mainly covered an idea of how data, and specifically location data, can be applied to market management. However, the truth of the matter is that some significant investment funds and financial firms are already using massive troves of data of all kinds to inform their investing decisions.
At this level, AI and big data are transforming the investment process in several ways (and through companies as big as JP Morgan, BlackRock, SoFi and others). In some cases, AI labs are being used to analyze investor performance and recommend changes that yield a quick, significant result. In others, advanced AI applications are using a deep-learning approach to sift through astonishing amounts of data with the straightforward goal of predicting near-future stock prices. For example, looking at realtime car purchases to predict Rolls Royce shares. There are mixed results with approaches like this one, but the potential for genuinely predictive analytics in large-scale investing is significant.
There aren’t full AI operations of this nature explicitly focused on making use of location data. However, deep-learning approaches are reasonably comprehensive in theory. They can certainly make use of this specific type of data and share prices, company data, macro-economic indicators, asset histories, and so forth. Location data can primarily be used as a piece of a sprawling analytical effort.
Automated Investing Tools
While significant investment firms may be well situated to take advantage of big data and act on it quickly, most ordinary people can’t do the same. A true day trader with access to adequate data (on locations and otherwise) may be able to make quick decisions to react to fresh information. But for most people who are simply managing stock portfolios, it’s more realistic to attempt to leverage data relating to broader movements. That’s where some of today’s automated investing tools come into play, especially in some online depot tools.
When you hear about automated tools, you might first think of mobile apps like Acorns and Stash that can, to some extent, manage your investments for you. Generally, these apps allow you to create a portfolio — or at least a type of collection — based on your risk aversion and/or category preferences. They then conduct trades according to your preferences, such that your money goes to work for you in an automated fashion.
Automation is also involved in more traditional trading methods, though, and it introduces an interesting way of potentially leveraging big data. On some platforms, when trading contracts for difference or stock futures, for instance, investors can place profit and loss limits on their positions. This means that while investors still determine entry points on individual stocks, they can set up automated safeguards that will pull money when a certain profit has been attained, or a certain loss has occurred. Through this sort of feature, investors can still set up their investments and contracts, but trust automation to manage them after that.
This all relates to big data because it can be more comfortable for an investor to make a long-term play based on big data than a short-term trade. To give an easy contrast, consider consumer location data based on a product release versus that based on a more significant trend. A surprise hit film might lead to data suggesting a short-term surge of moviegoers, such that a day trader or larger fund could stand to profit by investing in major cinemas. But the average investor likely can’t recognize and act on that data quickly enough. On the other hand, if consumer location data indicated a widespread, gradual return to shopping malls in 2021 (when they’ve been largely abandoned in 2020), an investor could make a play to buy stock in department stores, with automated limits set in place. In short, automated options allow for more responsible long-term positions, such that investors can feel more comfortable attempting to leverage certain types of data.
Location & Digital Payment
As you’ve likely noted in the sections above, one of the problems with big data in personal investment is that the most information and the best analysis tend to belong to the giant funds and finance companies. While there are ways for individuals to access more advanced analysis of investment-related data, it isn’t easy to compete on a day-to-day level. Sometimes, the significant funds will interpret data and move on a trend quickly that there’s not much opportunity left for everyone else.
This is why location data may prove to be particularly interesting for individual investors, however. When we talk about comprehensive data analysis done by leading financial firms, we’re referring to all sorts of in-depth material that is difficult for an individual to manage, or in some cases, even get a hold of. By contrast, location data may be getting more convenient in the near future.
This assertion is based on the simple fact that electronic payments are up; by 2019, some 2.1 billion consumers were estimated to have used a digital wallet of one kind or another, and moving forward, even more people are likely to be embracing digital payments. These types of payments are meant to be more secure and convenient for consumers and businesses alike, but they’re also generally more traceable. In theory, it may soon be the case that information about where consumers are spending digitally will be reasonably easy to access (whether through public ledgers, payment processing company reports, etc.). That would turn consumer location data into something individual investors could access and use with relative ease compared to some other kinds of relevant data.
The use of big data in investing is still an evolving concept with less to do with individual investors than larger funds. However, certain methods of investing and certain types of data can be of use to independent traders, and will likely only become more useful in moving forward.
Data science is growing immensely in today’s modern data-driven world. Business intelligence and data science are two recurring terms in the digital era. These involve the use of data that are totally different from each other. Data science is a bigger pool that contains huge information; business intelligence can be considered as a part of the bigger picture. These are both data-focused processes, but there is some difference between the two. Business intelligence focuses on analyzing things, whereas data science aims to predict future trends. Data science requires an effective technical skill set as compared to business intelligence.
Power BI certification allows interested candidates to explore Power BI concepts such as Microsoft Power BI desktop layout, BI reports, dashboards, power BI DAX commands, and functions. Microsoft Power BI is a widely used business intelligence platform, and this follows a hands-on applied learning approach.
This is a means of performing descriptive analysis of data with the help of technology, skills for allowing one to make informed business decisions. The tools which are used for business intelligence collect, govern, and transform data. This allows decision-making by enabling data sharing between internal and external stakeholders. The main aim of BI is to derive actionable intelligence from data. BI enables acton such as gaining a better understanding of the market, uncovering new revenue opportunities, improving business processes, and staying ahead of competitors. This has shown its impact on cloud computing. Cloud has made it possible to collect data from resources and use this efficiently. This deals with the analysis of structured and unstructured data, which paves the way for new and profitable business opportunities. Business intelligence tools enhance the chances of enterprises entering a new market as this helps in studying the impact of marketing efforts.
Importance of business intelligence:
As the data volume is increasing, business intelligence is more essential than ever in providing a comprehensive snapshot of business information. This provides guidance towards informed decision-making and even identifies the area of improvement, which leads to greater organizational efficiency and even increases the bottom line.
Data science mainly involves extracting information from datasets and creating a forecast. This involves the use of machine learning, descriptive analytics, and other sophisticated analytics tool. This is a process of collecting and maintaining data. Further, this involves the process of data via data mining, modeling, and summarization. After this, data analysis is conducted, etc. After analyzing the data, the patterns behind the raw data can be discovered to forecast future trends. Data science is used in different industries. Companies can use a devised approach to develop new products, study customer preferences and predict market trends. Here high volume of data can be collected from electronic medical records and individual fitness trackers.
Importance of data science:
Data science in different companies is able to predict, prepare and optimize their operations. Data science plays an important role in the user experience; for many companies, data science is what allows them to offer personalized and tailored services.
Business intelligence vs. Data Science: Is it the same or different?
Business intelligence and data science play a key role in producing companies’ actionable insights. Let us check on some common attributes between the two:
Perspective: business intelligence focuses on the present, while data science looks toward the future and further predicts what will happen next. Business intelligence works with past data in order to determine the responsible course of action, while data science creates predictive models which recognize future possibilities.
Data types: business intelligence works with structured data, which is typically data warehoused or stored in data silos. Data science works with structured data and further results in greater time, which is dedicated to cleaning and improving the data quality.
Deliverable: reports are used when it comes to business intelligence. Different deliverables for business intelligence include creating dashboards and performing ad-hoc requests. Data science deliverables have similar end goals and focus on long-term projects. These projects include creating models in production instead of working from enterprise visualization tools.
Process: the difference between the processes of both comes back to the time, same as how this influences the nature of deliverables. Business intelligence mainly revolves around descriptive analytics. This is the first step of analysis and sets the stage for what happened in the past. Here non-technical business users can understand and interpret data via visualization. Data science would take the exploratory approach and means investigating the data via its attributes, hypothesis testing and exploring different trends, and answering questions on a performance basis.
Decision making: business intelligence and data science are used for driving decisions, and this is central to determining the nature of decision-making. The forward-looking nature of data science is used at the forefront of strategic planning and determines the future course. These decisions are preemptive instead of responsive. Business intelligence aids in decision-making based on previous performances which have occurred. These fall under the umbrella of providing insights, and this supports business decisions.
Both business intelligence and data science have differences, but the end goal of these are ultimately aligned. It is important to note the complementary perspective of both. From the company perspective, both data science and business intelligence play similar roles in business processes that provide fact-based insights and support business decisions. Data science and business intelligence are facilitators of each other, and it is said that data science is best performed together with BI. These are required to have an efficient understanding of company trends which are hidden in the large amount.
In order to summarize simply, data science and business intelligence are not the same things, but this represents the evolution of business intelligence; thus placing data into introspective plays a central role in the business. Data science and business intelligence are equally vital roles on the same team. The individual roles are different, and when together, they serve the broader business analytic world. Though there is a difference in the way data science and BI handle objective tools, the end game is the same.
No matter what type of business you are in, there is no denying the importance of geospatial data as it relates to literally every area of your company from marketing to planning and everything in between. In terms of real estate, in the coming years any real estate agency that doesn’t make use of and rely heavily on geospatial data will almost certainly be left behind. In order to understand that rather marked and definitive statement, it is first important to understand exactly what geospatial data is, how it is collected, and why it is especially relevant in real estate.
In its simplest definition, geospatial data is that which is descriptive of any event, object or feature located on or very near the earth’s surface. It is typically a combination of:
Characteristics (relating to objects, phenomena, or events)
Temporal Information (point in time or lifespan)
All of which play a significant role in reading data with the intent of forecasting future events or movement.
For example, let’s look at how geospatial data helped to track and forecast the movement and spread of the SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19 pandemic. Temporal data gave us a short-term location of what was to be the pandemic in late 2019. We know that the location was Wuhan, China and thought to have originated at one specific market which then became ground zero on the geospatial chart. From there a long-term progression of the pandemic showed its movement outward which are temporal and location data. Along with characteristics such as how it was spreading, scientists became better able to forecast its movement around the globe and as early asMarch of 2020 a global pandemic was announced.
Even then, it was too little too late because some of the much-needed data was not forthcoming soon enough to predict an accurate geographic spread and rate of spread. Had geospatial data been shared better in the early days, many virologists and epidemiologists believe the pandemic may have had better outcomes earlier on. With that, you can see just how important it is in forecasting business dynamics going forward.
How Real Estate Can Benefit
In the real estate market properties for sale have always been valued primarily on location and what we knew about that that particular property in terms of the condition it was in and what was going on around it in the general vicinity. Were there plans for future development and if so, how would that affect a particular property that an owner wanted to list for sale. Realtors and assessors would look at other properties in the area to see what they had sold for in order to relate that price to the property in question. This is how comparables were calculated and how an actual list price and marketability were determined.
With advances in technology, geospatial data can actually have a profound effect on the profitability of a piece of commercial property. Instead of using historical data to predict a given market going forward, temporal data gathered and analysed in real time can indicate what that property is worth today in the here and now. To be specific, comparables calculated even a week previous to a major break in a pipeline may not be relevant today. That property would be greatly devalued if the repairs would be weeks or months in coming. Real time data can affect the price today and that’s why the real estate market will, at some point in time, need to rely on what is happening on the ground at a very precise location.
A Key Selling Point
Conversely, if new schools are being built, for example, and an influx of families are moving into a neighbourhood, a commercial venture for a theme park might want to jump on a parcel of land zoned commercial. Satellite imagery would show that kids are out playing in fields and on side streets with few parks and nothing in the way of entertainment. It would take weeks, if not longer, to collect that kind of data without the benefit of a literal bird’s eye view from above and a poor data set can have a terrible effect on the real estate market.
AI could possibly collect data on the types of commercial or public properties families might frequent already in existence, but even that isn’t quite as all-encompassing as actually seeing movement on the ground. Just because a property exists doesn’t mean it is being frequented by the locals. Satellite imagery would document that and indicate whether or not there is a need for family entertainment at this time.
Imagine what a real estate agent could do in the Greek Islands with information like that? As a popular tourist destination, geospatial data could indicate what kinds of attractions are being frequented, which are ignored, and what types of venues would do well in areas with currently high levels of traffic. It’s interesting to imagine just how this type of data can, and will, affect the real estate market going forward. One thing is for sure. Geospatial data will almost certainly replace the archaic system of buying and selling real property based on comparables. That’s a given.
When it comes to delivering a successful demand generation campaign, data and measurement are critical. While this should go without saying, it’s amazing how many companies still conduct their marketing without any clear visibility on their performance. Without access to the right metrics, marketing activity can’t be justified, evaluated or improved.
You want to evolve to deliver better results next time…
I think you probably get the picture by now – measurement is a key component and it can’t be treated as an afterthought.
With that said, collecting, analyzing and acting upon performance data isn’t always simple. With so many pieces in play, understanding what is and isn’t working is critical to making reporting results actionable. Remember, collecting information is pointless unless it’s going to be used!
To embrace a data-driven approach in your demand generation campaigns, you need to take a methodical approach. The simplest way is to break down your approach into 4 stages; Discovery, Design, Deploy and Optimize.
The Discovery Stage
At the Discovery Stage, you should be focusing on what it is you’re trying to achieve and then identifying the metrics that influence that objective. So for example, take the likes of prospect conversions, cost per click (CPC) and return on investment (ROI), these are all different marketing metrics that offer highly valuable insight for various objectives within a demand generation campaign. Each will have varying importance based on the tactics and objectives within the said campaign and will require relevant prioritization as a result. In some campaigns, ROI may be irrelevant (unusual, but does happen), in others, prospect conversion rates won’t matter. It really all comes down to the objective.
For example, if you are looking to sell an exfoliator, then your campaign should consider the target audience, and then come up with the right metrics.
Unfortunately, many companies focus on the wrong metrics when it comes to measuring performance. They have the right mindset, but get lost in vanity metrics that don’t actually make all that much difference to the results that impact their objective.
For example, instead of looking at conversion rates on an asset landing page, they’ll look at the number of people arriving to the page. This creates a disconnect between the figures and the desired results. These vanity metrics look great on paper but aren’t indicative of success or failure, so don’t really offer a lot in the way of insight.
The Discovery Stage should be where you identify what metrics matter, the role they play in achieving your objective and why.
The Design Stage
Once the key metrics have been identified, you need to determine how they can be monitored and measured, and this is where the Design Stage kicks in.
Just because you know what data you want to focus on, it doesn’t mean you can effectively access that information. You need to think about what systems you have and whether they integrate well to provide accurate data?
In addition, you need to know if there are silos that prevent you from seeing the full picture. These are all factors that have to be considered carefully as you build your data-driven approach.
You can’t afford to be working from only a partial view on key data, particularly if that information is going to be used to guide future decision making.
In order to get the big picture, technology not only needs to be compatible but also effectively interlink together to ensure there are no anomalies that impact the validity of the data. Designing a system that gives you a full view of critical information is essential to taking a data-driven approach to your demand generation campaigns.
The Deploy Stage
With objectives identified and a clear understanding of how data management will work, you need to move onto the Deploy Stage. This is all about the practicalities of building the system that’s been designed.
You already have an idea of the information you want, why and how it will deliver value and now you need the technology and systems in place to ensure that information is easy to access.
Many companies underestimate how challenging this can actually be. Few consider the limitations of their legacy tech stack and many often struggle to take the right steps to overcome challenges.
Often it will require custom APIs, enabling systems to play nicely together. This is where the interconnected nature of demand generation campaigns can make measurement challenging.
Beyond achieving data accuracy, the Deploy Stage is also where you need to think about how data will be collected and visualized. Will it be gathered automatically in a centralized location or will each piece need to be manually collected? These are considerations that require further thought based on the needs and complexity of the project.
The Optimize Stage
At this final stage, your objectives are clear, your system is designed and built with the relevant data collection capabilities and integrations. Now, it’s about analyzing and using that data, and this is what the Optimize Stage is all about. In this stage, you will be reviewing your key performance metrics and developing actionable conclusions.
This may involve trend analysis, or focus more on recognizing anomalies, it really depends on the metric and the objective. Whatever the case, the outcomes of any evaluation should be actionable and designed specifically to improve future campaign performance.
Some demand generation campaigns fall down due to the failure of a single component and so optimization really is key. If one metric in particular is undermining the rest of a campaign, this stage can turn a struggling project into a powerhouse.
With the ability to A/B test most changes, it’s easy for iterations to be made and trialed with a small test audience before deploying them across the entire campaign. This not only helps to maximize the impact of changes, but encourages experimentation with alternative approaches.
Driving your demand generation campaigns with data
Running a successful demand generation campaign can be tricky, but with a data-driven approach, companies can quickly identify what works and why. This helps to build fully justified campaigns that can be iterated upon to drive performance and ROI.
With the right data points to hand, at the right time and in the right format, campaign performance can be reviewed in real-time, unlocking the opportunity for regular changes and improvements.
Data can turn your demand generation campaigns into ‘live’ assets that adapt as and when required to achieve their objectives. This ensures every component is working to its full potential and delivering the necessary results to drive the metrics that really matter. Using the ‘Discover, Design, Optimize, Deploy’ model you can take your first steps to achieve a data-driven approach in your demand generation campaigns.
As the world remains gripped by the threat of COVID-19, questions over community spread, and prevention tactics loom large. Did cities and representatives do enough to stop the spread of the virus, or could they have done more?
An estimated 68% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, which makes urban development’s role in disaster response essential for protecting the population.
Cities and other population-dense areas have been flagged as one of the major issues impacting the virus’ community spread. Yet, smart cities may have also helped slow the spread of the virus in Chinese communities such as Wuhan.
China has 500 smart cities currently underway, and while the question of whether this smart technology has helped slow the spread of the virus in Chinese communities remains up for debate, here are some ways the urban planning of smart cities could help defend against pandemics.
Disease tracking can be one of the biggest defenses against virus spread as it allows scientists, researchers, and city officials to analyze real-time data to make informed recommendations. So how does it work? This data-tracking system uses artificial intelligence to track the spread of infectious diseases.
Big data and natural language processing make it possible by allowing companies to track the spread of information from hundreds of thousands of sources.
A disease tracking company based out of Canada known as BlueDot was the first to sound the alarm about the novel coronavirus, even before any world health organization informed the public. On December 30, it noticed a cluster of “unusual pneumonia” cases in Wuhan and alerted its customers of the outbreak.
One lesson the world is learning from COVID-19 is the importance of social distancing. Because COVID-19 can live on some surfaces for up to 3 days, restricting access to public areas has been deemed essential in cities across the globe.
Autonomous delivery systems would eliminate the need for drivers to deliver supplies and goods, such as food. Technological advancements such as delivery drones and driverless trucks will make this process more seamless in years to come. Incorporating these technologies into smart city management will give local governments more control over delivery systems to prioritize needs, for example delivering medicines before goods.
Many of our phones are already tracking our location-data, but what if our local governments used this information to make predictions during pandemics? Data companies such as Tamoco make tracking and predicting behaviors easier than ever for marketing and intelligence purposes.
One example of how geolocation data can be useful during a pandemic is by analyzing popular shopping times. It can even be used to understand which houses are for sale in Chatsworth California. City officials could use data around when people are most likely to shop for groceries and goods to help make decisions about store hours and restrictions, and when to establish senior hours.
While the application of robot surveillance is controversial, it has helped countries like China monitor citizens during the coronavirus outbreak. Rather than sending police officers out to monitor cities and streets where shelter-in-place orders are in effect, cities can send out drones to survey the areas and make sure citizens are abiding by city ordinances. Insect drone technology is fast becoming a powerful tool for cities to utilize.
Another technology the city of Wuhan used in its fight against the coronavirus is thermal cameras. While the technology hasn’t been perfected yet, these cameras, which also feature facial recognition software, can detect body temperatures in citizens passing by.
Since a fever spike is one of the most common symptoms of the coronavirus, these thermal cameras could, in theory, alert city officials when infected members of the population were out walking the streets, potentially spreading the virus.
In the age of information technology, the best way to stay dialed in is by staying online. Cities such as New York City have already activated smart technology that gives all citizens internet access in public places. This allows citizens to stay informed during times of crisis, no matter how much they make or whether they pay for WiFi at home.
Giving everyone access to the Internet allows for local city leaders to communicate with their citizens and get public information out faster. Many smart cities also have information kiosks and robust telehealth services that can be updated instantly to spread awareness as situations develop.
One of the scariest parts about the novel coronavirus is the lack of data researchers, scientists, and leaders have. Smart cities that collect data in real-time can revolutionize pandemic responses by making data available faster, and we’ve seen examples of this in action as China utilized their city technology to help fight the spread.
Smart cities can also help cities conserve energy, manage traffic congestion, optimize waste removal, and improve water and energy management. To learn more about how smart cities work, head to The Zebra.
This post is a contribution by Karlyn McKell
Karlyn is a writer who specializes in the technology and insurance spaces. She believes the best ingredients for success are passion and purpose.