A Look Beyond - Part 1

By Directions Staff

In the next, few issues of our December and January newsletters we will present the results of a few questions we asked industry executives about the adoption of spatial information technology among the Fortune 1000, the platform that offers the most investment potential and how their business unit faired during this past year.In this issue, we offer insight from Lee Finniear, Managing Director of IntelliWhere the location-based services division of Intergraph, and Steve Egge, Sr.Vice President Business Development and Marketing for Claritas, one of the leading demographic information suppliers:

1. Geographic information systems and spatial technology is a mainstream IT function in a majority of Fortune 1000 companies.Do you agree? Why or why not?

Lee Finniear: While GIS is a mainstream function, it's rarely recognized as such.I see a major opportunity for Fortune 1000 companies to integrate more geospatial information into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems to improve revenue and market penetration.With the use of GIS and location-based services (LBS), these companies can gain a competitive edge by better targeting their advertising and store promotions to drive local traffic.The combination of geospatial information with demographic and socio-economic data should be used more widely as a powerful marketing and analysis tool.

2. What applications, for the web, desktop, or wireless platforms, will provide the most return on investment for companies needing to understand the benefits of spatial information?

Lee Finniear: How a company can best use spatial information really depends on what type of business and industry they're in.But for most companies, the opportunity to spatially-enable CRM systems can improve return on investment by allowing more personalized customer service and better customer targeting.The web and wireless platforms are great for ensuring that the right people get this information at the right time at minimum cost.

For companies in the freight and people movement business, there is exciting potential in wireless tracking and enabling customers to keep tabs on the current location of their freight in real-time, across the web.

For telecommunications carriers and portals, the opportunity lies in providing LBS services to small and medium businesses [SME] in the areas of wireless tracking, workforce management and customer relationship management.In the B2C [business to consumer] arena, experience from Japan would indicate that simple "maps on mobiles" type location services make little money, whereas peer-to-peer applications are much more popular and people are prepared to pay more for them.It boils down to how essential or desirable the outcome of a transaction is.I venture that SME and corporate business sectors gain more value and therefore are prepared to pay for, suitable wireless services - and that this is where Location Based Services will really start to come into its own.

3. By your own measure, has your company been as successful as it could have been this year? Why or Why not?

Steve Egge: Claritas was successful in providing comprehensive and highly effective intelligent marketing information and target marketing services throughout 2001.Our clients, who include marketers from most Fortune 500 companies, continue to rely on our information to define and target their customers and markets.With today's marketplace - one with increased fragmentation and heightened competition amidst a slowing economy, marketers need an efficient, sound marketing strategy and a way to implement that strategy.They need that now more than ever.

In 2001, Claritas responded to the longstanding commitment to provide the most accurate and comprehensive demographic data available.Claritas became the first such provider to incorporate Census 2000 results in the release of its 2001 estimates and 2006 projections.The update provided the value of the new census data to our clients' analyses.

We also continued to develop new and better information delivery systems.In 2001, we raised and once again set the standard for target marketing systems with the introduction of a software product called ConsumerPoint™, which extended our overall business approach of melding Claritas data with the client's.Essentially, this platform harnesses the collective power off a client's customer information with market demographics, consumer segmentation, and behavioral survey data to increase marketing effectiveness.

ConsumerPoint allows the opportunity to compare trends of internal data against contextual information, such as competitive, market and industry benchmarks, thus uncovering valuable and exploitable 'gaps' in the marketplace.Additionally, it makes it simple to compare actual performance against market, competitive and industry norms to reveal new consumer prospects and an array of marketing opportunities.

4. If you had to do this year all over again, how would have prepared your company to provide better services or products to your clients? (please exclude the events of September 11 and be specific about the technology or products in which you would have invested)

Steve Egge: Recognizing the integral role that e-business plays within the marketplace of the 21st Century, Claritas prepared itself by adapting its product line into customer relationship management and online marketing.The economy and Internet focus changed in the last year, causing our services to be somewhat ahead of the business need.We dedicated many resources to product development and I feel we are very well prepared when the high tech competitive landscape will again dictate that businesses need to find new and better ways of making things faster, easier, and, ultimately, more profitable.

We introduced IntelliServ™, an online cross-sell solution blending online and offline behavior.We effectively expanded our reach by becoming an application service provider [ASP], and in so doing, our clientele could instantly obtain customer profile information.Using offline and online profiles, which are developed by combining our MicroVision® and PRIZM® customer segmentation with syndicated research information, IntelliServ determined which products and services the consumer is most likely to purchase and returned this information rank-ordered to a customer service representative instantly online.Additionally, the profile information could be easily integrated into a web site to allow first click relevance with a more personalized browsing experience, increasing web site "stickiness" and e-commerce sales.IntelliServ enabled companies to define and target their best customers and products regardless of delivery channel.

Claritas then embedded PRIZM and MicroVision into a cookie environment called eMAGE, allowing web marketers the ability to tailor content, advertising and promotions to increase customer conversion rates and site revenues.It gives marketers the much-needed capability of linking offline marketing with online marketing programs via a consistent consumer segmentation system, since both PRIZM and MicroVision are linked to countless offline marketing databases.These offerings give our clients an opportunity to take advantage of cutting-edge, etargeting services that marry the worlds of online and offline marketing in order to capture target customers for their sites.

Published Thursday, December 13th, 2001

Written by Directions Staff

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