September 22, 2008

It Never Rains In California: Hillstrom's Zip Code Forensics

Another fascinating geography, illustrated by Hillstrom's Zip Code Forensics (read about and purchase here), is the area between San Francisco and Lake Tahoe / Reno.

There are dramatic differences in customer preference as we move from west to east!

North of wine country, we have a catalog hotbed, with countless Catalog Crazies and Catalog Fans zip codes. In fact, you can follow the coast all the way up through Oregon, you'll find folks who love catalogs and spend $$$!

In the Bay Area, you predominantly find Online Bliss and Online Spend segments. The stereotypes of this geography hold true, these folks enjoy e-commerce.

You'll also notice lower productivity in the inner city zips of Oakland and San Jose, consistent with much of the country.

The valley doesn't have a lot of productive zip codes. But follow I-80 from Sacramento to Reno, and you see an e-commerce hotbed that is surrounded by multichannel zip codes to the north and south. Once again, as we head into mountain areas, we find customers who love direct-to-consumer commerce.

We have opportunities to alter marketing strategies based on customer behavior. Customers north of the Bay Area, along the coast, are not likely to be "multichannel". Why treat them that way? Customers in the Bay Area are likely to be e-commerce fans --- use search and social media to collaborate with these folks. And even our highway system plays a role in customer behavior --- I-80 from Sacramento to Reno spurs development, housing, affluent customers, and e-commerce spend.

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