Maps and geography are an incredibly important part of telling our story, even in the digital age.

At The Sacramento Bee, we employ at cartographer and other staff members who have degrees and certificates in geographic information systems (GIS). This pays dividends in the resulting visuals and database capabilities we add to the arsenal.

Cartographers create dynamic visuals that are an important part of our proposals and storytelling. Mark Benson, our cartographer, is building out our base mapping layers to include important, actionable data.

The Sacramento Bee's area block group map that helps in proposal and storytelling purposes.
The Sacramento Bee's area block group map that helps in proposal and storytelling purposes.

For example, an area block group map that illustrates the year a home was built (age of the home) can be used to segment areas with older homes that may be great target areas for window replacement companies or other remodeling or landscaping opportunities, especially when pairing age of home with size of lot.

Layer on top of those variables a target customer profile (by address) and maybe even an aerial photo base for context of what is on the ground, and you have a multi-layer base map that can now open opportunities in many situations.

Imagine being able to go out to meet with a nursery owner and show him the market potential with a map segmented by size of lot, age of home, homes for sale (hot targets for remodeling and landscaping), and consumer demand potential for landscaping or home remodeling.

You can direct the conversation toward revenue producing, ROI programmes that your advertisers will appreciate.

Now, take it a step further.

Once you have sold the programme, work with the advertiser to analyse the customer database and map where customers are coming from and what type of customers are actually transacting with your advertiser’s business.

Katie Murphy is our McClatchy Consumer Data Center (MCDC) market analyst and also a GIS cartographer. Katie integrates the advertiser’s customer address file and then profiles the type of consumer that is driving the client’s business. She then maps the footprint of where consumers are coming from and where to find more of them.

Or take a large ethnic grocery store that draws shoppers from a great distance. The company may be interested in covering pockets of high ethnic populations. A good map illustrates the opportunity and generates discussion.

Mapping consumer types, consumer demand for products, and land and building characteristics can help you sell.

Whether through digital or print channels, mapping audience segments, residential characteristics, and more can be such a strong complement to your sales proposal. Often times the map and the data will make the difference.

I highly recommend the use of more maps and cartographers in the future of your successful sales team.