Got a Map For That? by David Orsi, GIS Specialist

When people get lost, the first thing they search for is a map. Its “birds eye view” provides clarity through direction and perspective that helps us reach our destination. But have you ever stopped to think why maps are so effective? Because ninety-nine percent of human brains are hardwired to process information graphically as opposed to numerically.

A map is nothing more than a graphic representation of data, which makes them enormously valuable in this revolutionary age of data marketing. By transcribing a complexity of numbers into an intuitively discernible story, maps help marketers know who their customers are; where they live, work and shop; their buying habits and preferences, and more. They can also be used to help determine the best methodologies and routes for logistics and deliveries (think UPS and FEDEX); they can identify sales territories that overlap; or identify protected or restricted areas that should be avoided. Whatever the need, maps can help diagnose solutions to perplexing problems, and can explain it in a way that is quickly and easily understood.

types of maps

As the volume of data collection swells, and as technologies like Artificial Intelligence allow mapping tools to be far more intuitive and sophisticated, the accuracy and detail of maps improves exponentially. As a result, marketers are increasingly reliant on maps to help guide their strategies. For example, sophisticated software now makes it possible to pinpoint latitude and longitude within inches rather than feet. This produces refined, and more accurate, drive-time catalogs that are used to transport goods and/or people from point A to B. As more triggers and touchpoints are identified, customer journey maps are more precise. With a continual data loop, new data is perpetually fed back into the system, invariably improving the accuracy of data and the predictions for how it will respond or change.

Yes, maps have become phenomenal marketing tools, but fair warning: it takes more than mapping software to unravel the consumer mindset. Software is only as good as the people that use it. This primarily involves data analysts (left-brain thinkers) and mapping specialists (right-brain thinkers). Whether the ultimate goal is brand awareness, customer acquisition, or retention, a detailed analysis of data must occur to ensure the marketing strategy is on-point. Typically, this involves the left-brain engaging in a thorough review of the data to “decode” results, which are then transferred to the right brain to design a graphically detailed map (or maps) to help guide the marketing strategists. However, when faced with a particularly complex set of data, DXM pursues a rather unconventional tact. Flipping the process, our mapping team will take the first pass at the data and map it before it goes to the analytics team. The visual representation of the data gives our analysts a firmer starting point from which to dive into the data and produce a more accurate assessment than numbers alone can do. This is where our mapping is truly transformative and becomes unlike the services most other data marketers provide.

Another significant advantage to the DXM mapping process is having in-house mapping and data analytics teams. Many marketing firms outsource these services, which inherently leads to three significant issues:

  1. Key facts lost in translation;
  2. Cost markups from the middle man; and
  3. Surface-level understanding of the depth and breadth of the map.

In-house mapping services provides a seamless process and far stronger and effective communications to ensure the maps we produce allow us to see the full marketing potential of our clients’ products or services.

If your brand isn’t making significant advancements toward its marketing goals, implementing a thoughtful mapping strategy can provide a dynamic solution. To understand the full story of how mapping can improve and streamline your marketing efforts, give us a call for a free consultation. With accurate data and a thorough investigation, DXM will help you find the best solution for your marketing needs.

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