Maps have always been important. Fifteenth century mariners couldn’t have gone around the Cape of Good Hope or made it to the new world without them. How can you plan for something when you aren’t aware of its existence? In fact, if Christopher Columbus hadn’t had a map that showed India a lot closer to Spain than it really is, the people who were here already wouldn’t be called Indians.
Maps split big geographies into pieces we can understand and work with. Instead of looking at all the roads in a state, we can focus on the roads around us. Our ability to understand where we are and how to get where we want to go is enhanced. Marketing maps are equally valuable. If you run a TV station, you’re unlikely to send sales people outside your DMA – the area that defines your signal coverage. For newspapers, the NDM (Newspaper Designated Market) has long served the same purpose. Other media have maps of their own. Postal routes and sectional centers are important to direct mailers. Cable MSOs need to see where the wire has been laid.
In fact, as of right now there’s only one major media choice with no map – no marketing geography – of its own: digital media, where more marketers make their money every day. Until now, digital marketers have seen their plans shoehorned into the brown wingtips of legacy media geographies, some too big, some too small, none just right.
At Borrell, we’ve been delving into this issue for more than five years. And this year, we’ve come up with a viable solution.
In a few weeks, you will see the unveiling of our DMR (Digital Marketing Region) geography – the first effort to define a marketing map specifically designed for new media. We’d put a trademark after the name like Nielsen does with DMA™, but we have no delusions of controlling or restricting usage of the name. We want everyone using it – and giving us feedback on how it might be improved.
A DMR’s footprint is based on the boundaries of local online marketing spending. There are three key benefits of using this new geography:
- Sales people can be allocated to specific areas where locally spent digital advertising is most prevalent. Coverage and closed sales can improve.
- Market share can rise, as marketing efforts are compared to better-defined territories.
- Benchmarking becomes more relevant, as sales organizations will be able to compare their performance with others in similar-size digital regions.
We haven’t developed DMRs in a vacuum. Other media companies have provided feedback as we’ve assembled the new shoe. It won’t end there, either. After the initial release of our DMR, we hope to get a lot of critique from digital marketers. Some may want counties added to a region. Others may want some removed. We look forward to this exchange of ideas. They will only make the geography stronger and more useful.
After all, given the share new media holds of total marketing budgets, isn’t it high time we had our own maps?