August 13, 2008

Zip Code Forensics And Regional Differences

Geography continues to play a significant role in our marketing efforts. It's the reason for introducing Hillstrom's Zip Code Forensics.

In the social media world, folks are beginning to take notice.

In the multichannel marketing side of the world, zip code models have been in existence for a very long time, as evidenced in this article from 2000.

We haven't done a good job of drawing intelligence from our models. It's one thing to see if we can improve the effectiveness of marketing activities by treating customers in certain geographic areas differently.

It's quite another thing to change how we practice marketing, based on what the information tells us.

Looking at the map above, we notice a lot of orange in Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri. These zip codes tend to be less productive than average, and skew toward traditional marketing techniques.

In other words, we shouldn't expect these areas to be highly responsive to tactics like e-mail marketing or social media. This doesn't mean individual customers won't be responsive. But on average, we need to think differently about these customers.

How do we merchandise a catalog for the customer who lives in a rural area? How do we merchandise a catalog for the customer who has 1,443 retail opportunities within two miles of her home? How do we execute an e-mail marketing campaign for the customer in Northern Missouri? How do we execute an e-mail marketing campaign for the customer living in Silicon Valley? What version of a home page or landing page could be created for the rural customer, or the urban customer?

We're going to get better at using the tools already available to us. We will change how we present ourselves to unique customer segments.


  1. Anonymous3:13 PM

    Hi Kevin,
    You might find this stuff interesting:

    I enjoy your blog. Humorous and informative!


  2. Thanks for reading the blog, I appreciate it!

    Those are interesting articles, aren't they? That's a good application of the concepts in the social media world.


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