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Compliments of the Season

This has been a fantastic year for GeoSmart and if you read through our blogs you will see that we have made many milestones in development of new products, new clients, new projects in New Zealand, Australia and India. We have many exciting things happening in the new year on both sides of the Tasman, but I’m not going to tell you about them yet, you need to come back and find out about them.

You may have heard a little about our new application BIonaMAP. This is the exciting new Software as a Service application that unlocks your business information and displays it on a map. You can find out more about it at www.BIonaMAP.co.nz. We had planned to launch this earlier in the year, but our development team kept getting excited about new features they thought of and it really has evolved into something very special, which we look forward to demonstratingto you next year.

As you know AA Traffic is one of our products and the call centre will continue working 24/7 throughout the holiday period. If you are going away, we have a Christmas present for you, a free One Month Email Subscription to AA Traffic Route Alerts. All you need to do is go to this page on AA Traffic and click on the button that says SET UP YOUR TRAFFIC ALERTS, then ckick on the button towards the top left which asks “Got a Promo Code?” This will then open up a box for you to enter the following code: GEOSMARTBLOG

Please note that this code must be entered in the next 4 weeks or it will not work.

So Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year from us. Thanks for following us, enjoy our little gift on your trip, it might save you from getting stuck somewhere in holiday traffic. We will be closed from today until 9 January. If you have any thoughts, ideas or needs to do with maps and locations in the new year, please Contact us, we would love to assist you in any way we can.

December 21, 2011 Posted by | AA Traffic, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, maps | | Leave a comment

Socialisation Game Mechanics on Loyalty Cards

In our last blog I wrote about achievements such as points or rewards and the appointment dynamic. Another aspect that is very powerful is socialisation. There are many aspects to this including profiling, recommendations and forums and using the appointment dynamic to get more people in the same place.

There are many for and against aspects to profiling and it is happening from a Google level down to individual retailers. It is very important if you are profiling to correctly interpret information and to ensure that if you are doing it in a loyalty environment that the loyalty members understand what you are doing and that they have given their permission.

I have said on many occasions that done in the right way, combining educated opt in, location, interests and open to buy is very powerful. As I’ve said before, if Borders (I have  VIP Card on my key ring) sent me a notification saying that the new Stephen King Book 11/22/63 is in store and they will hold a copy for me with a special promotional offer for the next half hour, knowing that I am in the neighbourhood, I will probably go and buy it.

However, if they sent me the same message about the latest top 10 recommendations of a certain radio host were in stock, I would probably opt out of their service, even though I may at some stage have bought one of those books as a gift for my wife.

There are many ways to mine data about what people are buying and it doesn’t have to be down to product level, category level would be very powerful, and it amazes me that retailers don’t use this as a tool.

Profiling needs to be relatively smart and needs Business Analysts able to interpret information and look for trends and not make assumptions on the basis of one or two retail or other destination visits. Buying a hammer doesn’t make me a handyman, but buying tools on a regular basis would constitute a trend. Of course where someone lives can also be a valuable pointer and our new BIonaMAP application that I’ve blogged about before can provide valuable information in looking at trends from multiple people, especially when combined with data from the Department of Statistics Census which the application supports and Mesh Block and Area unit level.

Recommendations are powerful. In 2009 Nielsen’s released the results of a study that said that 90% of consumers trusted recommendations from people they know, 70% trusted recommendations from people who post them online and 24% trusted text ads that appeared on their mobiles. There are many ways to encourage people to comment on products or locations in a mobile environment. Some organisations worry about what people will say about them, but if that is the case, perhaps they have some work to do and better to know what they are saying and be able to engage with them, or as was agreed at the last Social Media Club meeting in Auckland, the common scenario is that if someone criticises a business in an online forum, others very quickly come to its defence. In a closed environment it is of course much easier to encourage the behaviour you are looking for from participants by providing them with the value they want. This can be done by rewards such as points for participation, bribes such as prizes and by engaging and showing an interest in them.

It has been expressed to me that social media requires additional resources and expertise often not available within destination businesses, particularly retail. Yes it does, the key cost is time and you do need someone who knows what they are doing, but what does traditional advertising cost. If you buy a reasonable sized advertisement in a newspaper, or get an agency to generate letter box mail, what does it cost for creative, artwork, printing and distribution? How many hours of a person’s time would that buy? It’s just another tool and the great thing is that to test the market using services like Foursquare, Facebook and Twitter is that you can try them for free. Add location in an app or mobile web site does involve cost, but done well the return can be huge.

Socialisation offers many more exciting opportunities, but to find out what I am talking about, you will have to come back for the next blog. Please feel free to add your comments in the meantime.

September 27, 2011 Posted by | Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Data Mining, Loyalty Card, proximity based marketing, Retail, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Location To Loyalty Card Apps

There are obviously lots of different kinds of loyalty cards. I have somewhere between 10 and 20 cards ranging from Coffee Cards through to Airline Frequent Flyer Cards. I have so many I can’t carry them all in my wallet, which is unfortunate when I find myself in a position to use one. I do carry a Smartphone, so there are opportunities to carry apps. Many retail companies in New Zealand now have apps, mostly on iPhone and Android. They range from cafe’s and fast food companies to tourism and banks. Features include the ability to order food from a specific store, the ability to view the store on the map, make reservations and view points.

A lot of companies have had back on using Smartphone applications for loyalty programs on the basis that there are not enough people using them. At the last Social Media Club Auckland event one of the panel questions was what is the penetration of Smartphones in New Zealand. No one had an answer as the telco’s generally don’t want to share this competitive information. However in this month’s IT Brief there was a quote from Tony Baird of Vodafone saying that 66% of their mobile users now have Smartphones. That’s pretty high penetration and growing rapidly as is their data traffic which grew from 60TB in June last year to 135 TB in June this year. It would be reasonable to expect at least Telecom to be showing similar penetration.

So, in my last post I talked about a number of aspects of getting to know your customers. Given the statistics in the poll on my previous blog almost 70% of loyalty card holders do not specifically head to shop at a store where they have a loyalty card. In effect this says that the loyalty card in most cases is not attracting people to do business, or effectively be loyal to the retailer or group who invest a lot of time and money into the card systems in manufacture, distribution and all the other aspects of running a loyalty program.

What is missing? I believe that one aspect is not really understanding the customer. Let’s start simple. How do you get a loyalty card? Obviously it varies. Some cards like a coffee card are as simple as the retailer offering the card to a customer when they are in the store buying a coffee, the retailer invites them to start using a card, typically offering your 11th cup free. At the other end of the scale there are forms to fill out, which confidentially provides the company with significant information about the person. This may include:

  • Home address
  • Home and Mobile Phone numbers
  • Age
  • Household income
  • Interests
  • Family details e.g. single, married, children under or over a certain age
  • Occupation
  • Email address

In theory this enables the loyalty program to target information to the member and under strict Direct Marketing opt in guidelines, make offers to the members, which typically comes in the form of eDM’s and Direct Mail. The latter is a very expensive form of marketing as is normal advertising such as print, radio and TVC’s. For many industries and products this is tough business. How often do you buy a lawn mower, a TV or an iPhone? The marketing only works when you are open to buy. I recently purchased a new lawn mower, but it was the first one in over 10 years. If I had kept every lawn mower advertisement that arrived in my letter box trying to sell me one and looked at the creative, print and distribution costs, it might have been cheaper for them to give me a lawnmower. Of course all of this advertising is focussed on products that everyone is selling, there is very little focus on products that are unique. Everyone has a promotion on a printer, a TV, an iPhone which forces everyone to focus on price, heavy discounts and the consumer wins if they are looking for that product. Profits up the value chain are massively eroded through the competitive pricing and costs of marketing.

Data Mining and Business Intelligence are already used by some companies and very soon GeoSmart will be launching the much anticipated BIonaMAP we have discussed in many blogs in the past. This will allow companies to better understand their customers on the basis of the data provided, including the ability to view their customers and query their information in relation to the Department of Statistics mesh blocks and area units.

Canberra Income $100,000+

In this example we looked for   where the average household income in Canberra (yes we do Australia too) is equal to or greater than $100,000. If we were looking for loyalty members who had higher than average discretionary spending capability, this could be a very useful tool for target marketing. We could potentially make special offers by overlaying our loyalty card members in this SaaS (Software as a Service) application and then querying them from a combination of the information we have about them and the information the statistics department has about people in the area.

In the coming blogs I will get into more detail about what the implications are from the perspective of location, but like anything you need to start at the beginning and in many cases as I have outlined,  scatter gun marketing, throwing leaflets into letter boxes does not effectively target people who might change their behaviour in favour of your product or brand.

The key to loyalty is a relationship and this comes from engagement. You don’t engage well by putting something in someone’s letterbox. You engage by understanding who they are, what their needs are, when they are out and about and open to buy. As a retailer with a loyalty program you have huge amounts of information about your clients at your fingertips, which is untouched.

Here’s a simple example to finish this blog. Paper Plus not only supports Fly Buys, but they also have their own card called My Big Deal. They run promotions for people who use that card. Right now they have a sale on certain children’s books. If you buy the books using your loyalty card and they store that information, they now know (if they didn’t ask in their registration form) that you either have children or have a relationship with children, perhaps as a grandparent. So they know you buy children’s books. This is valuable information that you could take advantage of in your proximity based marketing application.

More on the location based aspect for apps is coming up, now that we have covered some basics. If this is of interest, please bookmark or subscribe. If you know of someone else who might be interested, why not send them a link? If you would like to discuss these concepts with us about your own business, please contact us.

September 20, 2011 Posted by | Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Mapping Applications, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Print Advertising, proximity based marketing, Radio Advertising, Retail, Retail Profit, SaaS, territory management | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sead Latest in IT Seminar – Mobile Technology

A couple of weeks ago our Sales & Marketing Manager, Luigi Cappel had the privilege of presenting to a group of ICT professionals at the Mercure Hotel hosted by Sead I.T. People. The presentation in the series of Sead Latest in IT Seminar was on Mobile Marketing.

Sead Presentation

The audience came from a wide range of industries and were encouraged to remember the passion that encouraged them to join the industry as innovators in their companies, showing them how to use technology to grow their companies, solving business problems, improving efficiencies and increasing productivity and profit.

Covering topics including the latest Gartner Hype Cycle predictions, Location and Proximity Based Marketing, Check In Marketing, Mobile Computing, QR Codes, Business Intelligence using maps and the hot topic of the use of personal devices in a corporate market, there was something in it for everyone. Case studies illustrated not only practical use of technology, but professional processes to ensure that projects were well designed for success.

The presentation outlined the ongoing chasm between people in the ICT profession and their colleagues when it came to understanding and use of new technologies, particularly mobile and location based. Luigi encouraged the audience ranging from consultants to CIO’s to consider how they can educate and encourage their companies to understand the new technologies and how they fit into their business frameworks. There are great opportunities for IT people to be welcomed back into the boardroom by working closely with the management team to show them how to implement and benefit from new technologies, safely and securely.

Luigi and the Sead Team at the Mercure

September 5, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Business Tools, Check Ins, Data Mining, facebook, foursquare, geosmart, GIS, ICT, iphone, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail Profit, ROI, territory management, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumers are Checking In to Retail Stores

In my previous blog I pointed out that that retailers were not adopting strategies for check in location based marketing. In the blog prior to that I quoted Comstat research that shows that in the first 3 months of this year 16.7 million people check into locations using Foursquare and similar applications, representing 7.1% of the total mobile population. I don’t know what the statistics are for New Zealand, but I suspect the numbers are somewhere between 5 and 7% of the NZ mobile user population.

Comstat also came up with some interesting statistics about the demographics of those users.

Firstly a lot of people think this is technology for men, that they are the geeks, but of course women love to shop, they are social shoppers and as the graph shows, there are in fact more women than men checking in!

The predominant age group should be no surprise, we would expect 18-44 year olds to be the most tech savvy and of course having disposable income for Smartphones which are the predominant mobile used for check ins. Again from Comstat for the first 3 months of this year in the USA Android pipped Apple at 36.6% to 33.7$ of devices used for checking in.

The largest group of users were in full time employment 46.6% and the second largest at 23.3% were full time students.

Just as a footnote to my blog on Group Deals and Bricks and Mortar Business there was an interesting story in eMarketer a couple of days ago. The story contained statistics that from research by Cooper Murphy Copywriters in July this year, 82% of Groupon users expressed dissatisfaction with the level of repeat business they generated from their campaigns and 49% would not use them again. This is interesting when many companies use daily deal type promotions to introduce new customers to their stores.

Of course you know where I am going with this series and that is that Location or Proximity Based Marketing offers far more compelling tools for retailers and other destination businesses to entice people into their premises. Obviously a fundamental component of that is not just how to get them to come to you, but how to get them there when you want them and to have them purchase or consume products or services that achieve your goals. For a retailer that might be those same products you were quitting on a daily deal, but like the Auckland superette owner who has been selling milk at 10 cents below cost as a loss leader, part of the strategy behind that is the opportunity to merchandise other products those same people will buy with a healthy profit margin. If you have an aged stock problem, location based marketing can get people into your store and while they enjoy the low price of your distressed inventory, put something at eye level in from of them that increases the profit of your sale. Cherry pickers do not make you profit.

Likewise if you have a cafe or restaurant, don’t just offer a free coffee with $5 worth of food. Offer it only at times when your business is empty and not to the people who were coming in anyway, they are dealt with using your normal loyalty program. Of course loyalty marketing is also very important and fits into location, but you’re going to have to come back to a future blog for that.

Thanks for reading our blog. If you think this is of interest to people you know, please tell them about it or send them a link. You can also subscribe using the RSS feed.

August 11, 2011 Posted by | Android, Auckland, Business Intelligence, Check Ins, competition, Distribution, foursquare, iphone, lbs, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, proximity based marketing, Retail, Retail Profit, ROI, Sales, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Analysing Car Sales Using Web Map Part 2

Last week I blogged about analysing your car sales (picking an industry at random) from a dealership on a map. I looked at comparing sales between reps by looking at where the clients lived on a map.

The concept is that we have a rich amount of data about our customers, especially when it is large ticket items and their are warranty and other ongoing commitments, not to mention the desire for repeat business. I used examples such as gender, personal or business use, age group, whether there was a trade in and so on. There is of course a lot more information available and there are also of course KPI’s. Please note that in order to do the things I’m talking about, you do not need expensive GIS software or specialist engineers. You already have the people you need, although in some cases an external consultant may help you see things from a fresh perspective.

Selling high ticket items like cars, real estate, quality furniture and furnishings is a tough business, especially in New Zealand and Australia. It’s competitive and the industries also have high staff turnover meaning that personal relationships are likely to be lost. This means that business intelligence and the ability to data mine becomes a lot more important. But at the risk of playing a broken record, finding useful information from your CRM or accounting software other than basic information is difficult. Now most companies in these industries have done business a certain way for many years and often the sales people go from one company to the next, staying in the industry and reinforce the concepts that this is the way the industry does it and we know the industry.

Our focus takes a different tack. These industries have leaders who swim against the current and use whatever technology or new ideas they can find. Are the over achievers or sales champions working harder? I would argue that most of them are working smarter rather than harder. The difference is that they look for ways to work smarter, whereas the other 95% plus use what they are given. The fact that you are reading this blog puts you in the top 10%. I’ve been told that in the industries I’m writing about here, the Pareto Principle is actually way out. They say that the best business is actually done by less than 5% of the sales people.

So what can you do as a company to improve your odds? How about trying something different? Let us help you find the low hanging fruit that has been eluding you. Lets use some business intelligence and move on. Now ideally what I am talking about would start at Head Office with the Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, Financial Controller or perhaps all of the above. Who is motivated to increase your profitability and productivity? How can you make it easy for your branches or dealerships to improve their performance?

In the last blog we talked about measuring performance at the dealership level, by the dealership. I’ve been in those offices and seen sales people going through the accounting system looking for people or companies whose leases are about to expire, or who last made a purchase 3-5 years ago and making prospecting phone calls. I’ve seen them cold calling using Yellow Pages or other directories. I’ve attended some of the sales meetings as a guest and seen the white board which shows the branch budget by model, the sales to date for the month and the stressed looks on the faces of all involved whose income and livelihood depend on achieving those targets. It’s very seat of the pants and very reactive.

Imagine if at head office, you could provide the dealerships with business intelligence that increased branch sales nationally. If you could give them information that allowed them to increase productivity and profitability and at the same time increase your brand market share. Wouldn’t it be nice to achieve the KPI’s you or the manufacturers are setting? Selling the cars (or whatever your product is) that have the higher margins, or perhaps more accessories which carry that extra margin.

How? I’m sorry but I’m going to tease you here. Have a look through the previous blogs here because a lot of the information I have to share works across multiple industries. Bookmark this page because I am going to write Part 3 of Analysing Car Sales Using Web Map some time in the next few days and give you some specific examples. Where are your potential low hanging fruit? Do you want to pick them? Jump on the school bus and drive through the opposition.

Drive through the opposition

Of course you can also contact us and discuss how we can help you or ask for a demonstration. You can also email me directly. We would also like to hear from business and franchise consultants looking to add tools to their toolbox.

Also please feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions here on the blog, we welcome your feedback.

January 26, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Australia, Australia Maps, Business Analytics, Business Intelligence, Car Sales, competition, Data Mining, Distribution, geosmart, GIS, location based services, map tools, Mapping Applications, maps, Marketing, new zealand, new zealand maps, Real Estate, ROI, SaaS, sales territory, software, territory management, Uncategorized, Web Map, web maps | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment