What is Geocoding, and why should you care?
What exactly are we talking about when we say “geocoding”? Geocoding is the process of transforming a postal address to a location on the Earth's surface using numerical coordinates such as latitude and longitude. It’s a process used nearly every time you look at an address on a map online, on a mobile device, or on just about any other electronic device. The simplest explanation is that the device is taking the name or address of the place, and converting it into numbers that can be displayed on a map.
There are a number of ways geocoding can help you with your marketing efforts. First, by plotting geocoded addresses you can spatially display address locations and begin to recognize patterns within the information. A simple example of this would be plotting the location of your customer’s homes, which would let you target a direct mail campaign in a more effective way. Additional information from CASS-certified or other systems can be added to the geocoding information, giving you in-depth intelligence on your customers and prospects.
Reverse geocoding is simply performing the process backwards. It is when you take a point location that is given as a set of latitude and longitude coordinates to a readable address or place name. As an example, let’s say that you click on a point on an online map. The map program takes the coordinate and returns information in the form of an estimated house number. Note that this number isn’t always exact, and may be an interpolated number based on the segment of addresses for any particular stretch of street.
Reverse geocoding is the process that’s used when you click on a Google map and it gives you the address of the spot you clicked. But this is just the beginning of what can be done with reverse geocoding. The real strength of reverse geocoding is in mobile marketing. For example, it allows you to deliver targeted marketing to people who are in the vicinity of a particular store or business. If you use the navigation app Waze, you may have seen this in action. When your vehicle isn’t moving, Waze has the ability to have an advertisement drop down from the top of the screen, alerting you that the business is nearby. When the vehicle starts moving, the ad disappears. There are a number of similar mobile marketing possibilities using reverse geocoding.
That’s the power of geocoding. Letting you know where your customers are, and letting them know when they’re close to you. This allows you to deliver highly targeted messaging to customers who are not only ready to buy, but are in physical proximity to take advantage of your offer. This means more sales and more profit for your organization, with less wasted effort on your part.