Get to Know Your Customers Better with Spatial Technology: Traditional Business Intelligence Tools Cannot Answer Questions Such as Where Customers Live and Work. but So-Called Spatial Technology Can. (Technology Supplement)

By Cartwright, Brian | Journal of Banking and Financial Services, June-July 2003 | Go to article overview

Get to Know Your Customers Better with Spatial Technology: Traditional Business Intelligence Tools Cannot Answer Questions Such as Where Customers Live and Work. but So-Called Spatial Technology Can. (Technology Supplement)


Cartwright, Brian, Journal of Banking and Financial Services


Location intelligence--the ability to analyse a business based on customer demographics--is an immensely valuable asset for a financial services organisation. Along with some appropriate variables on customer wealth levels and demographics, this technology can enable an organisation's database to become a key asset in terms of managing product, sales and branches.

Traditional business intelligence tools cannot answer location-based questions such as where do customers live and work; where can a new product be most successfully introduced; where do you place assets and resources to best service customers; what business divisions are under or over performing; and where new customers will emerge.

Spatial technology products leverage location information to help answer these critical questions. As well as using existing database information, spatial technology also relies on demographic, lifestyle, business and financial data and mapping technology to provide a unique view of both customers and operations.

Applying spatial technology

The benefits offered by integrating spatial technology are many and varied and have application across the financial services industry.

Spatial technology has particular relevance to several key business areas, including:

* Strategic business planning

* Sales and marketing operations

* Asset and resource management

Strategic business planning

At a management level, all financial institutions need to continually review and refine performance. This should occur at both enterprise-wide and departmental level. It is this review process that underpins the strategic planning and corporate direction of an organisation.

Spatial technology can support management decision making by enabling efficient and accurate evaluation. It helps to simplify the process of predicting future trends and requirements as risk analysis, as well as making appraisal current performance easier.

Application examples include:

* Management can measure performance by branch or region on a number of factors, such as the value of loans in a given period. This can be displayed visually, either as real values or as a ranking with other branches or geographies.

* An insurance company can perform risk analysis based on relevant factors such as crime rates, or environmental factors like flood propensity. Premiums can be set and risks managed based on the profile of the insurance company's customer base.

* Fund managers can predict annuity exposure based on current and future demographics; and adjust investment strategy accordingly to minimise business risks and maximise revenue.

* Business planners can analyse demographic trends affecting the current business plan for future growth or diversification.

Sales and marketing operations

One of the real strengths of spatial technology is the insight that it gives into the characteristics and behaviour of a customer base. Most information held by organisations about their greatest asset--their customers--is often inaccessible and hard to analyse.

The use of spatial technology can make patterns and trends instantly visible and allow the value of the existing information to be mined. This can enable cost effective, targeted marketing. In addition, spatial technology can be used to review and manage sales territories and enhance customer relationship management.

For instance:

* Call centre operatives can immediately locate an incoming caller and the likely profile of that individual, based on both account information and demographic cluster characteristics.

* Marketing executives can accurately plot existing customers and can easily identify prospects with a specific profile for a target marketing campaign.

* Companies can tailor a direct marketing or advertising campaign to appeal specifically to the demographic profile of the target audience. …

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Get to Know Your Customers Better with Spatial Technology: Traditional Business Intelligence Tools Cannot Answer Questions Such as Where Customers Live and Work. but So-Called Spatial Technology Can. (Technology Supplement)
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