Location Intelligence, Spatial Data Analysis | Pitney Bowes

3 Reasons Every Business Should Think About Location Intelligence

Learn how your mobile advertising, social media marketing and business intelligence can all benefit from GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

The ease-of-use of mobile apps like Google Maps and Strava (which is now being used for urban planning) has inspired a lot of companies to start thinking differently about location. Consequently, a lot of IT professionals are getting asked to create location-based applications.

“IT is now being required to build spatially-aware or enabled applications, without a history of working with these technologies,” says Clarence Hempfield, Director of Product Management at Pitney Bowes. “That means organizations like Pitney Bowes have had to deliver these capabilities in such a way that a non-GIS expert can build and deliver spatial applications, without that foundation of years of working with the technology.”

This rapid consumerization of GIS technology has allowed anyone with a smartphone to use aspects of GIS technology with a few taps of their fingers, revealing valuable location intelligence data that they use to find new stores, directions and more… and consumers are expecting companies to follow suit.

While many businesses have been hesitant to adopt location intelligence platforms, expecting a degree of difficulty in implementing the technology, some GIS tools can be effectively used by IT professionals. Thanks to the increasing demand for location-based applications, solutions have been developed that can be used by both a Fortune 500 company and a local coffee shop.

As more consumers incorporate location into their everyday lives, businesses need to keep up. Here are three reasons LI can be a boon to your business:

1. Local Can Amplify Social.

If you need any more proof that GIS tools have become consumerized, you don’t have to look much further than social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. All three offer paid advertising options that businesses can use to target local customers.

For example, a restaurant in Dallas can use Twitter to send a Promoted Tweet offering an exclusive discount to people who are in the Dallas area. Or an insurance company in Atlanta can target prospects in the Greater Atlanta Metro area with LinkedIn.

These kinds of tools only take a few clicks to activate and very little knowledge of underlying GIS technology. By using Promoted Tweets, Sponsored LinkedIn Updates and Promoted Facebook Posts, every business can leverage the power of local through social, and vice versa, growing social media channels with local customers, building brand awareness and generating sales.

2. Data and Maps Can Help You Plan for the Future.

With the right GIS platform, you can aggregate and visualize data like never before. A retail store planning a new location, for example, can overlay demographics, socioeconomic data and criminal activity across the map – visualizing opportunities and potential risks based on historical patterns.

This won’t just help when building a new store, it will help plan inventory accordingly, too. A town with a median age of 35 may require a very different kind of stock than a town with a median age of 65. By combining location with third-party sources of data, businesses can glean insights that allow them to plan for the future and better anticipate what the local community really needs.

3. Location Can Super-Charge BI

Business intelligence (BI) has come a long way in recent years, with new platforms offering dashboards and detailed analytics that allow companies to visualize and slice data for unprecedented visibility. Yet when it comes to location, that information is usually set off to the side somewhere. GIS professionals work hard to create coherent strategies based on LI, but those efforts are often siloed from the rest of the organization.

However, combining BI with location intelligence is critical to improving the customer journey. You may be able to segment your audience by zip code or country, so why shouldn’t you be able to review past, present and future customer trends across different areas?

By applying location to BI, companies can see exactly where sales are strongest, which region may be most receptive to particular marketing offers and where customer service needs to be improved.

Location can super-charge BI, creating a new way to visualize, analyze and track partnerships, sales, customers and prospects.

Location, Location, Location

Mobile advertising, social media marketing, business planning and business intelligence can all benefit from location intelligence tools and – thanks to the consumerization of GIS – it’s finally possible for any business to really get local.

Learn more about our geocoding solutions.