And why spatial marketer?
Basic definitions first: Geo means earth. Spatial can describe anything that takes up space. Geospatial, then, would apply to anything that takes up space on the earth. Data provides information, so geospatial data provides information about something that takes up space on the earth. Okay, so this definition can pretty much include anything that is not abstract…not very helpful, but important. It means that we can use this data to model the real world.
Inherent in the meaning of geospatial is the analysis that can be applied. Similar to applying statistics, analysis with geospatial data describes patterns and relationships. Geospatial analysis seeks to find correlation between objects because of where they are, where they were, where they are going, etc. If proximity is a significant factor, it can explain a myriad of outcomes.
This is where marketing comes in. The definition of marketing includes activity intended to offer value and invoke a direct action or response. So marketing nirvana is the ability to predict what actions or factors will obtain the desired response. Factors such as location, proximity, distance, speed, demographics, or anything else that reveals spatial patterns help explain non-spatial relationships. Correlated relationships based on “where” help fill in the last piece of the puzzle. This is geospatial marketing.
Even though I typically use the word marketing in a broad sense that brings to mind traditional marketing, there are many types of marketing. Here is a great list provided by Design and Promote of the many types of marketing today: http://www.designandpromote.com/the-many-types-of-marketing/. As you can see it the list is pretty comprehensive and that geospatial marketing is not on the list. Geospatial marketing can be considered a type of “precision marketing” (segmentation and targeting), however, one difference is that geospatial marketing principles apply to almost all other types of niche marketing.
So why haven’t I heard of geospatial marketing before?
I try not to get too hung up on the terminology as these definitions are broad and the term is just a coined phrase. Geospatial marketing goes by many names because it is something I think most marketers ofttimes do without conscientiously realizing it. Why do I think this? It is most often referred to as “location” or “proximity” and was usually mentioned in the context of being an additional filter or consideration among many steps of marketing procedures. I think it is often mistakenly lumped in with the term “demographics,” which actually has additional meaning in the context of marketing. As a GIS professional I am actively looking for any mentions of overlapping marketing principles with geography.
In real world application when a marketer thinks in terms of location, they are applying geospatial principles. So geospatial marketing just another set of tools to apply? Perhaps, but who would have thought five years ago there would be so many job openings for “Social Media” marketing managers?
Marketing is a diverse field and should be used by organizations to advance their mission. There is no “one size fits all.” I believe, however, that the intuitiveness of geospatial visualization offers a unique advantage to marketing that cannot be found elsewhere. I hope to demonstrate this by citing specific examples in future posts. Afterall, talking about this is getting me nowhere and I live in a world where seeing is believing.
So in the end, why did I call this blog “spatialmarketer” (in case you are wondering)? Simple. It is my goal. Not to mention, when I registered my Twitter name, there were not enough characters to make “geospatialmarketeer.” Practical limitations I suppose!