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Integrating Rank Techniques Within GIS for Marketing Analysis

University of New South Wales, Australia

Key words: GIS, Rank Techniques, Geo-Demographics, Marketing, Customer Profile

Geographic Information Systems are a rapidly evolving technology that can be used for the efficient storage, analysis, and management of spatial information. In last few years the application of GIS to business has begun to grow very rapidly. An important development has been made to increase GIS usability in marketing areas is the availability of census data within a GIS software. For example, Cdata96, 1996 Australia Census data, makes full use of features and tools of MapInfo Professional. Census data contains very important demographic variables for market research; demographic trends will still form the underlying framework for customer analysis. This requires access to and appropriate exploitation of official and other external demographic data. It is also important that businesses make full use of the data which exist internally, that is, the data associated with products and existing customers derived from purchase data. The power of a GIS in these areas is its ability to manage data from a number of sources and its interactive visualisation to explore data and the analysis results.

It is a well accepted argument that current proprietary GIS are failing to address business objectives, because of lack of particular analysis tools. One aspect of changes in marketing technologies is the increased emphasis being placed on statistical methods.  The focus of this work is on unraveling the relationship between a large number of demographic characteristics in census data and the customer database. But current statistical systems are not particularly relevant to marketing and do nothing to help a largely non-technical user community. It is necessary to developing black-box automated analysis tools with robust performance to investigate additional spatial associations between customer characteristics and background population in the catchment area, and to generate additional information which supports effective marketing activities.

In this paper, the operational tool that integrates statistical rank techniques within GIS MapInfo software has been developed using Mapbasic language. The emphasis is on the implementation of methods of exploring an association between demographic variables and a product sale penetration. Measures of association indicate, in quantitative terms, the extent to which a change in the value of one variable is related to a change in the value of another variable. This provides the methodology used to determine which demographic variables best "agree" with the existing customer profile. These variables would then be the best predictors of potential households within a statistical area to purchase similar products.

The procedures developed have been used for a case study in motor vehicle customer analysis. The analysis procedures can be implemented automatically from ranking the statistical areas, respectively, by the number of customers in each postcode area and the values of demographic variables, calculating the correlation coefficient for each demographic variable, and to displaying the analysis results in graph. These less sophisticated procedures increase the levels of statistical competence.