Customer mapping deals with a customer's journey to a product (the steps that led to the product's acquisition). Customer maps are more straightforward: they show where actual customers reside on a real-world map.
Benefits of Customer Mapping
There is much analysis and opinion available on the first type of mapping and even Forrester has produced a report which gives examples of 5 major companies that use customer journey mapping.
Key benefits of this type of mapping include: it can create a business roadmap, it helps define customer needs and it can motivate and inspire. However, there are also problems. As one of the Forrester report's headings suggests “Firms Are Drawn To Journey Maps But Struggle To Put Them To Use.”
A customer journey map is often little more than an aspiration, detached from the reality of the marketplace. Should we therefore be surprised that it often remains unimplemented?
Real world, real customers, real opportunities
On the other hand, a map of customers on a real-world map, created from spreadsheet data, reveals things as they are – not what a business hopes they might be. Given its practicality, in this age of Big Data it is little wonder that the second type of mapping is bringing more immediate and tangible benefits to businesses, globally?
Above: the types of map you can create using eSpatial
And what are those benefits?
Immediate access to key data and demographic information: your Excel data can quickly and easily be imported into an interactive map by a non-expert, providing the first level of real-time information – on a pin map.
It's a working tool: once you have imported the relevant Excel data, you can interact with it. You can test changes to your marketplace (e.g plot a new office with relevance to available demographics: population size, customer's social strata, etc).
See previously hidden insights: analytical functions (heat maps, radius maps, etc) provide a range of visualizations that correlate or compare data contained within the software, producing insights that would otherwise have remained invisible.
It can be segmented and shared: mapping software allows you full control over your business locations. This includes not just territory mapping tools, but also the facility to focus on particular areas and share insights into those areas with particular personnel.
It is flexible and adapts to the data available: you may start off with a small amount of data (e.g. a list of the locations of your outlets and a rival's outlets) but then add to it over time (e.g. nearest distribution warehouse, etc.). This makes mapping software an exceptionally good planning tool.
In today's data-driven marketplace – and whether you operate locally, nationally or globally – mapping software has surely become an indispensable business tool?
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