How Businesses Use Location Intelligence to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Location Intelligence

Understanding your local area is critical to building a successful business. You need to know who’s within driving distance, what type of consumers are nearby, and the location of your customers. This type of data is what’s known as location intelligence.

By utilizing this information properly, you’ll target customers more effectively. You’ll also make more informed business decisions. This will give you a significant edge over your competition.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to leverage location intelligence in your business. We’ll also discuss which tools can help you gain the insights you need.

What is a Distance Radius/Drivetime Polygon?

Distance radii and drivetime polygons are valuable tools for any business. However, while they are similar, they accomplish slightly different goals.

  • Distance Radius: This is a radius created around a single location based on distance. For example, if you want to know everything within 10 miles of your current location, you can draw a 20-mile radius around yourself. Because you’re in the center, everything within the radius is 10 miles away or less.
  • Drivetime Polygon: This is a similar concept to a distance radius, except it’s based on driving time, not distance. So, if you want to know all the places that are reachable within 30 minutes, you can draw a drivetime polygon around yourself. This tool considers roads and speed limits to show you all the places you can get to within that time frame. Because not all routes are direct, and not all speed limits are the same, the result is a polygon rather than a radius.
    Short Commute Times - Buffalo New York - Maptive Blog

Both tools effectively determine who and what is nearby, which is crucial information for all businesses.

Why Driving Distance Still Matters for Businesses

With the rise of the internet, more and more people are doing business online. eCommerce businesses are thriving, and video calls are beginning to replace in-person meetings. So, is driving distance still something businesses should consider?

For almost any business, the answer is a resounding yes. Here’s why:

  • In-person meetings still hold a number of advantages over online conversations. For example, studies show that people build trust quicker when speaking in person.
  • Driving distance makes it easier to assign sales reps to customers. That way, if an in-person meeting is necessary, reps are never too far away from their customers.
  • In a recent report, 46% of consumers said they prefer shopping in person.
  • It lets you know which employees are within driving distance of different business locations. This is important when creating work schedules.

The Value of Demographic Data

Knowing the demographics of your surrounding area gives you a massive advantage. Location-based intelligence like this allows you to pinpoint the locations of your ideal customers. They also tell you what types of consumers are located nearby to gear your marketing towards them. 

There are many different demographics you can look at. However, some of the most valuable metrics for businesses include:

  • Population
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income levels
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Housing

Location and business intelligence tools can plot this data on an interactive map. With these kinds of data visualizations, you can derive key insights about your market.

Plotting Customer Data

A big part of location intelligence for business is the ability to plot customer data on a map. This includes information like address, average purchase price, and total customer lifetime value. Using this data, you’ll spot important trends like:

  • Where your sales are coming from.
  • Which areas aren’t performing.
  • Where you should invest more money in marketing.
  • Where you have room for growth.

It’s quite likely that you’re already collecting some or all of this business data in your CRM. A good location intelligence tool will integrate with your CRM. This allows you to plot your geographic data and spot new opportunities seamlessly.

Using Location Intelligence to Decide on New Business Locations

One way that location intelligence can help virtually any business is location planning. For example, when you’re expanding, you need to choose locations that set you up for success. Having access to location intelligence data, like distance radii, drivetime polygons, demographics, and location-based customer information means you can identify the very best areas to establish new locations.

Here are just a few of the ways you can use location analytics:

  • Use a distance radius to see how many competitors are located nearby.
  • Use a drivetime polygon and population data to see how many potential customers are within driving distance.
  • Use a drivetime polygon and customer location data to see how many existing customers are within driving distance.
  • Analyze demographic data to choose locations near your ideal customers.
  • Establish locations near large concentrations of existing customers to provide them with better customer service.

Location Intelligence Examples and Use Cases

As we already mentioned, every business and industry can benefit from location intelligence. Here are just some of the ways companies use this geographic information to their advantage:

  • Healthcare: Using population data and drivetime polygons, health authorities can decide where new hospitals are required.
  • Government: Demographic data and distance radii are critical for planning social programs and developing new infrastructure.
  • Telecommunications: Distance radii and population data are used to plan the locations of new cell towers and determine which customers are eligible for new services.
  • Insurance: Distance radii, drivetime polygons, and customer data are useful for establishing sales territories.
  • Retail: By using a combination of distance radii, demographics, and customer data, retailers can create more targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Financial Services: Analyzing their existing customer data within a distance radius tells banks whether they need to open a new branch in their area.


If you want to grow and expand your business, location intelligence is a must. With the right tools, you can:

  • More effectively assign sales reps to customers.
  • Determine which employees should be assigned to which locations.
  • Create more targeted marketing campaigns.
  • See what areas your sales are coming from.
  • Strategically plan your business locations.

Are you looking for effective location-intelligence software? Through GIS technology, Maptive offers distance radii, drivetime polygons, demographic census data, customer data plotting, sales territory mapping, and more. Sign up for a free trial and try it today.


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