Imagine knowing before launching a marketing campaign in a new neighbourhood that the profile of your customer is already there. Or being able to gain a first mover advantage by selecting a new business location in an up-and-coming neighbourhood based on the socioeconomic trends before your competition moves in driving up real estate values.
As business evolves, getting an edge in the marketplace can be very advantageous. Today, with new technologies popping up and data becoming more readily available, businesses can take advantage of both data and technology to gather valuable intelligence about their customers, business locations and socioeconomic trends.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) marries the art of cartography and strategic decision making by utilizing geo-referenced data (data with location markers attached, e.g. postal code, county, or neighbourhood). This specialized data has been long underutilized in strategic planning and decision making, mostly due to its unavailability. However, this trend is reversing. Most of today’s demographic and social media data that is being collected is geo referenced. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Microsoft are just a handful of companies that have realized the potential of these specialized data sets.
The days of business leaders using subjective techniques to map key target market characteristics to strategic plans are dwindling. By utilizing GIS and the most up-to-date quantitative datasets, businesses can take the guess work out of identifying existing and potential customers as well as competitors. In addition, depending on company owned source data, trending, regression and other analysis can be combined with geo referenced public data to provide further insight into your customer base and competition.
Within the next ten years - because of the ship building contract, the off shore oil and natural gas exploration and the Muskrat Falls project - many businesses will be vying to find their place in Halifax. It is our belief that the businesses which will truly succeed within this expanding marketplace will be the ones that are most familiar with the city and its population. Today in our great city of Halifax the municipal government has been kind enough to open their data sets for anybody who wants them. One of the greatest things about HRM’s data is that much of it is geo referenced. Geo-dem will take full advantage of this data not just in displaying it but also data mining it to explore the true potential of it.
Analyzing things such as real estate prices, population density, and neighbourhood profiling and general services can be very valuable to businesses at any stage of growth. These are only a few examples in a vast range of options when it comes to business intelligence and Geographic Information Systems.
Author: Charles McIlveen
Charles McIlveen is the CEO of GEO-DEM, a Halifax-based consulting company specializing in providing clients with demographic analysis and information needed for effective strategic decision-making. For more information visit www.geo-dem.com.