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MapMechanics’ GIS package cuts dmbgroup’s modelling time to minutes
A package of digital mapping software, map data and postcode data from MapMechanics has formed the lynchpin of a marketing project developed by customer communications and direct marketing specialist dmbgroup for a retail client.
In particular, the system has reduced the time it would have taken to run a catchment area modelling process with the company’s original software from hours to minutes.
dmbgroup has a 25-year track record in communication projects, and has extensive experience in analysing customer data and supporting this with a range of marketing resources. It has established a reputation for its ability to offer a range of services with a single point of communication.
In this case the company had proposed the idea of profiling the areas around the retailer’s store locations to determine the market potential, and then following up with a door-drop marketing campaign. The task involved modelling the drivetimes around each store in turn, and establishing catchment areas that were within comfortable reach of target customers.
Although dmbgroup already had a mapping system in place, marketing analyst Nicholas Emmerson soon realised something more advanced was required. “Our old system didn’t allow us to create templates for the project, so we had to input the data separately for each location.”
Having identified MapMechanics as a possible supplier, Nicholas Emmerson went to a demonstration, and by the end of it was convinced that it offered the solution he was looking for. “I told the MapMechanics people it seemed so well matched to our requirements that I was looking for the catch,” he says, “but I can honestly say there wasn’t one.”
The package supplied by MapMechanics is made up of GeoConcept, the powerful mapping and geographic information system; NAVTEQ Premium street-level vector mapping with navigational details; Geoplan postcode sector boundary data; and ForGIS unit postcode points.
“With GeoConcept it’s easy to import your own data, set up templates and output the results in various formats – for instance, as text files that can be used in other software, such as our back-end database system.”
With the new system, he says, it is no longer necessary to set up the project from scratch every time. “We’ve reduced the time for modelling each location from about an hour and a half to literally a matter of minutes.”
Since the company has been outputting six or seven maps a week in the course of the project, the aggregate time saving has been substantial.
By working at a very granular level, using both postcode sectors and unit postcodes, dmbgroup has also been able to perform more extensive and detailed analysis. For instance, it can use GeoConcept to produce heat maps showing concentration of activity in colour-coded form, or to perform competitor analysis.
“Now that we have these resources in place, we will be able to make use of them for similar exercises in future,” Nicholas Emmerson says. He adds that although the present exercise has concentrated on drivetimes by car, GeoConcept can equally produce catchments based on walking time, and could be used by the company to perform many other kinds of geodemographic analysis if the need should arise.
dmbgroup has 25 years’ experience of communication projects, and offers a full range of services centred around customer communication and direct marketing. Its wide range of resources includes loyalty card scheme development and management; development of bespoke CRM software solutions; analysis and profiling of existing customer data; print production and multi-channel communication;
Its key selling point is that it offers this range of services with a single point of communication, making it easier for clients to manage different areas of a project by dealing with only one external source