4 benefits of getting to grips with spatial data

The ancient military treatise by Sun Tzu, the Art of War, stressed the importance of understanding geography, stating ‘He who fights with full knowledge of geographical factors is certain to win.’ The same can be said for business: without mastering geography and applying it to your strategy, you cannot hope to succeed. With GDPR now just around the corner, the anonymised, aggregated nature of spatial data has become increasingly appealing as a safe but nonetheless accurate means of targeting.

Here are 4 reasons why location is more important now than ever before...

1. The crux of marketing

Programmatic. Direct Mail. Outdoor. Facebook. All of these channels rely on location and without that, they could not operate. Marketing has always been reliant on location: where should we put that billboard? Which houses shall we send these flyers to? Without the fundamentals of geography, many of these marketing channels wouldn’t exist. It is location that allows them to operate, and as technology develops, it will play an increasingly crucial role in marketing strategies.

2. Where are your customers?

Whether or not you have brick and mortar stores, you certainly have customers interacting with your brand or organisation. As the traditional boundaries blur and more competitors emerge and disrupt previously established players across diverse markets and industries, retaining those customers has become increasingly challenging. One of the most effective ways to increase customer retention? Understanding where your customers live and how you can optimise their sales journey.

No one likes to go out shopping and discover that the one thing they want isn’t available. If you understand which of your customers are buying what and from where, you can ensure that stores around those particular shoppers are adequately stocked with the right products to keep them happy, all year round.

3. Expanding your customer base

You may have satisfied those customers who already shop with you but how do you find new ones? Spatial data can hold the answer to that.  

With the new generation of spatial data, it’s now possible to understand where your current and potential customers live and what they like, even before before they have bought anything. There are existing customer targeting products that claim to do this, however these products are using static, data sets based on ‘claimed’ data sets, including census data, sometimes years out of date.  

For a new age, there must be a new answer based on big data. The rise of social data has allowed brands to identify the passions, motivations and mindsets behind individual people (something that Starcount has been pioneering), allowing increased personalisation and relevance. By enriching social data with spatial data, you can work out where your audiences are, find out what they love and then create multi-dimensional understandings of consumer behaviour based on real-time data.


GDPR is the biggest challenge for marketers, representing the biggest change to data protection for more than 20 years. With the new regulations coming into play this means that brands will have to be extremely careful in how they target consumers based on their data. How can brands retain a personal relationship with customers, while still being compliant? By utilising spatial data like postcode data, brands can accurately map consumers and target them with clarity, while allowing the customer to remain anonymous and thus keeping in line with GDPR regulations.  

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