For Businesses, Location Data is the Key to Success

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In the desert there is a saying: water is life. For many enterprise businesses, the saying should be that data is life. Data is essential to helping organisations identify the habits, needs, and wants of their customers and potential customers. A company without data is like someone lost in the desert with no route to the nearest oasis. This reality is borne out by experience.

The aggregate of all of the tiny pieces of information generated each time a person does something with a mobile device – their data – is extremely useful in the aggregate. Every time you buy a latte with the Starbucks app, or tap your phone to pay for a ride on the Metro, or ask Google where the nearest ramen shop is, your phone generates data. Individually, these datapoints are meaningless. But taken as a whole – comprising the mundane activities of millions of people on an ongoing basis – they are a map of the desert.

Given the metaphors employed here it should come as no surprise that one of the most useful types of data is location data. When a business can analyse the geospatial habits of its potential customers, it can effect policies to cater to these habits and win more business. Knowing where these customers are allows businesses to reach them and to more effectively promote their products or services at the right place and time. The effect of this is to increase sales, allocate resources in the best way, make smarter, targeted business decisions.

Here is a real-life example of how location data can be used to improve a business’s operations. For retailers, understanding the ‘catchment area’ - the geographic area from which a retailer is expected to draw its customers - is crucial for gaining and retaining customers. Not focusing on the right catchment area can therefore have disastrous effects on business.

In Kuala Lumpur are two competing shopping malls with overlapping catchment areas: Pavilion KL Shopping and Suria KLCC. Location data gleaned from customers at these two malls reveals differing profiles for the two cohorts, and offers insights into how management should build its customer acquisition strategy.


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The data shows us that most of Pavilion’s customers are concentrated within a narrower geographical radius: only 14% of its total customers come from outside a core geographic zone.


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By comparison, 22% of Suria KLCC’s shoppers come from farther away. Based on this data, Pavilion can reasonably conclude that in order to gain a bigger share of the market, it should target potential customers who live outside its immediate region. By contrast, Suria KLCC should intensify its marketing efforts within the core area in order to woo more of the people in its immediate vicinity.

This is just a small example based on real-life data analysis. It demonstrates how understanding the locational characteristics of a customer base is a crucial first step in determining a commercial strategy. Without location data, all of the marketing efforts of both shopping malls would effectively be shots in the dark. These businesses would be wandering in the desert.

A clear understanding of location data – where it comes from and how to interpret it – also has the benefit of vastly improving an organisation’s ability to meet its compliance needs. Having visibility into the origins of complex datafeeds ensures that businesses are not inadvertently using fraudulent or sensitive information, and that the information they are using is authentic and fit for the specific needs of a project. These benefits are ultimately passed on to consumers: targeted that is fit for purpose ensures that products meet their needs better, and certainty that information is authentic and meets compliance standards adds extra protection to people’s privacy and sensitive information.

Reliable, target location data analysis offers a brighter, more comfortable future for people everywhere. It allows businesses – as well as governments and other organisations – to target their resources where they are most useful and meaningful. This is a benefit for consumers, and it will be increasingly essential for businesses.

This article was originally published by Glenn Harrison on his LinkedIn profile on 24 January 2019.


Glenn Harrison

Senior Data Consultant at Quadrant

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