Finding Geographic Hot Spots for Deeper Prospecting

Oct 09, 2006 5:31 PM  By

Have you looked for geographic hot spots where you have pockets of buyers? If you can find geographic hot spots you can prospect deeper to these states, sectional center facilities (SCFs), or zip codes because they will respond profitably to marginal prospecting lists.

Most niche catalogs have geographic hot spots and cold spots. For contractors, a good example of a hot spot is the western slope of Colorado. For parrot owners, Florida is a hot spot—the state has a huge population of bird owners. Finding these hot spots and cold spots can dramatically boost the response to your prospecting circulation.

Here are three tips for finding your catalog’s geographic hot spots:

  1. Tabulate your top 10 or top 20 SCFs. See how many sales come from them and what the geographic location of these SCFs tell you. Similarly, look at your top 100 zip codes and see where they are located.
  2. Look at the proportion of buyers and sales you get from each state and index it against the population of the states to see which states perform best and worst for you.
  3. Look at the geographic penetration by region and by county type to see where you do best. Counties are divided into A, B, C, and D counties, with A being urban and D being rural.

Once you’ve found where your buyers are concentrated, see if you can build an SCF or zip table to determine if prospects in those areas respond better to your offer than prospects across the United States as a whole. If you segment your prospecting lists by hot spots vs. the balance of the country, you’ll get directional data that tell you whether you can use the geographic select to increase your response rates.

Jim Coogan is president of Santa Fe, NM-based consultancy Catalog Marketing Economics.