Anson C J
Cochin University of Science and Technology, India
Email: [email protected]
Management decisions are highly dependent on vision and mission of the organisation but there are decisions like segmentation, targeting and positioning; sometimes they have some common code of practice. In certain cases the firms are using the following method and in certain cases they adopt the decisions of rival firms in order to get the attention of the target group. They use GIS to take key decisions to find out the market opportunities and threats. It helps firms identify and find location of potential customers.
Nowadays, organisations are searching for market gap and building the correct strategy to build up their own consumers and thereby fixing another set of the target group. This paper examines how GIS can help marketing managers in decision making and how far it is useful in advertisement decision making.
GIS – Geographical Information System
This is a system by which we can see the geography in a different angle and make interpretations and judgment regarding the issue. A most suitable definition of GIS in the marketing context is that:
‘A system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analysing and displaying data which are spatially referenced to the Earth. This is normally considered to involve a spatially referenced computer database and appropriate applications software’
GIS concepts are not new
The concepts used in GIS are not new to Geographers. In the purest sense Geographers have made use of such systems for many years, but these have been manually operated – card indexes with paper map overlays, atlases and similar systems. The following is one example:
“In the London Cholera epidemic of 1854 Dr. John Snow was able to locate the source of the outbreak by plotting the locations of fatal cases.”
The key to establishing this type of technology within an information framework for the purposes of decision making is integration: the linking together of technology, data and a decision making strategy. What GIS is all about today is the bringing together of spatial analysis techniques and digital spatial data combined with computer technology. But for many, GIS is much more than a computer database and a set of tools: it is also a philosophy for information management. Often GIS can form the core of the information management within an organisation. There are of course other definitions too. GIS is sometimes referred to as the tool whilst the user may be the Spatial Information Scientist! In recent times the whole subject area has also been referred to as Geographic Information Management (GIM) or even Geomatics.
Each of these components will now be examined in further details.
- Software & hardware tools
- GIS data manipulation & analysis
What makes data spatial?
Spatial data refers to information that is associated with a location or place. It may be recorded on a map, held as records in a database or even be represented as a photograph. Geography is, in fact, the study of spatial information and that we are surrounded by geography. It will also discover that most information is either spatial or has a spatial component.
Examples of spatial data
Socio-economic data is widely available, often from national and local government, and is usually the product of population surveys and censuses. This data is also used by a number of commercial vendors who combine census information with other datasets to produce neighbourhood profiles classifying particular areas for marketing purposes. This ability to recognise particular markets based on geographical datasets is known as Geodemographics and is one of the fastest growth areas within GIS.
The collection and analysis of information about the environment was one of the driving forces behind the development of GIS and continues to be an important application area. Environmental data sets often tend to be large and require considerable management. Environmental data often includes boundaries between vegetation types, for example, which are fuzzy i.e. they are not defined by a simple line. Conversely, socio-economic data is usually related to administrative boundaries, which are sharp if artificial.
Example of vector data (land use parcels)
This shows a typical example of some vector data. It represents land use parcels from an American dataset. It is possible to colour code different types of land use.
This shows a typical example of some raster data. It represents an aerial photo/satellite image of a river valley. The benefits of GIS include:
Use of GIS software and spatial data should lead to better information management; higher quality analysis; the ability to carry out ‘what if. . ?’ scenarios and improve project efficiency.
However, that many of these achievements are dependent on:
- the ease of use of the GIS software
- the understanding of the problem to be solved
- the time available
- the amount of funding for the project in hand
Facilities management: Utilities such as electricity, gas, water and cable communication companies all use GIS systems to store, retrieve and analyse their plant and materials. Areas such as customer responses, demand forecasting, fault analysis, network assessment analysis, site planning, and strategic planning and market analysis can be generated by the GIS. Marketing and retailing: these applications tend towards targeting customers and identifying potential markets for customers. The extensive datasets generated from the use of loyalty cards can also be used in conjunction with GIS. Other applications may include: media planning, territory allocation and prospect analysis.
Environmental: Forestry management, impact analysis, resource management, coastal zone mapping, geophysical & geotechnical surveys. Transport/vehicle routing: this is an example of ‘real-time’ GIS and is used particularly by vehicle routing companies and the emergency services who need to know where there vehicles are located at any given time. Vehicle routing can also be assessed in terms of least cost or efficiency. In addition GIS may also be used for; dispatch, scheduling, franchise planning as well as route planning.
Health: Disease mapping as well as epidemiology, facility planning, provider & purchaser planning, expenditure monitoring and patient analysis can all be carried out using GIS.
Insurance: risk distribution analysis, catastrophe planning, customer service analysis, hazard & prediction analysis and underwriting
GIS- Marketing and retailing:
GIS and marketing very important area of making decision in the right time strategy of business decision making. We can confine the major points into the following:
- These applications tend towards targeting customers and identifying potential markets for customers.
- The extensive datasets generated from the use of loyalty cards can also be used in conjunction with GIS
- Other applications may include: media planning, territory allocation and prospect analysis.
- It shows opportunities in marketing and advertisement
The experiment was conducted in a firm and the targeted to find out the customers that are exist in the geographical area of a particular firm. For that purpose created database with last six month consumers with their geographical location. And collected another set of database compiled with geographical location firms ads with the set of coordinates. Using the technologies of GIS latest software’s like MapInfo Google earth and other free open source software’s plotted the data on the map and compiled the customer database with outdoor ads. The system produced an overview of the firms current position in the geographical market where is their customers is the most important thing that database provided.
In the present model as explained in the picture shows a decision support system. After implementation it provides an outlook that where is our consumers. Once we implemented the system in a firm it developed some sleeping points in our geographical areas. By the use of geographical plotting of consumers it can identify certain clusters in geographical area which have no consumers of the present advertisement strategy. By the identification of consumers some rural areas are out of focus in the present advertisement planning and there are some customers their needs can be net with our business offers. The experiment result shows reasons for no ads in that area there are firms with same business
The system provides an outlook that determination of geographical rivals has an important role in decision making. Moreover, while planning strategic decision on overlapping of geographical area we have to measure the present geographical locations and its consumer potentialities and the decision should be incremental. The present study reveals that there are certain geographical areas which don’t have our customers. The study experimented with textile industry.
Discussion and conclusion
After implementation of this system the firm designed a strategy in focus of geographical sleeping points. The first two weeks the results are started. The customer data base is opened with two customers in the same week. After 3 months he got frequent customers from the sleeping point. Another level of study involves finding of present geographical rivals. The analysis can be pointed like this:-
- GIS planning can make ads and direct the consumer through its interpretation
- Can develop advertisement strategy
- Trace out the consumers through a database
- Trace out the ads in that area
- Plotting the areas of consumers in the GIS maps or software
- Compilation of ads with customer database
- Interpret and develop consumers were not attracted by the ads
- Make better strategy to avoid outdoor advertisement
- Right action in the right time
- Identify new geographic market segment
- Optimise resources
- Evaluation of advertisement equity
- Customer segmentation
- Can identify new market segment
- Decision making in marketing
- Consumer identification
In the functional analysis of this marketing system GIS helps in decision making and strategy planning. In the present discussion it can be used for the advertisement myopia which means moving towards outdoor advertisement without knowing the actual customer segment. In the outdoor advertisement planning through GIS helps to optimise the organisational resources; like finance optimisation, advertisement strategies planning and to identify new market segment. Brand promotion is one of the key concepts in marketing; GIS application can draw out brand promotion strategy with its present information compilation system. In the continuous building of customer database it shows which strategy we should follow on. In addition to that GIS can control the market with on the axis of micro elements.
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