3 Ways International Point of Interest Data Can Help Grow Your Business
By Geoff Michener, CEO of dataPlor
When the average marketer or business development professional thinks of location data, they likely think of mobility data, which shows where prospective customers go, helping marketers serve them the much-vaunted right message at the right time. But point of interest data, which shows where businesses and other brick-and-mortar locations are, can be just as crucial to acquiring new customers and driving growth.
For example, let’s say a mobility company like Uber wants to know how to most efficiently get people from A to B in the United Arab Emirates, Walmart wants to open new locations in Brazil, or P&G wants to optimize its distribution strategy in India. All of these growth strategies require comprehensive and accurate POI data, which is generally not available internationally, especially in developing economies.
Three ways POI data can help grow businesses across verticals include identifying new market opportunities, building strategic partnerships, and eliminating inefficiencies. Let’s dive into how POI data can power growth across industries and consider why leveraging it to grow internationally is not yet the norm.
Use POI data to identify new markets
One of the most common uses of POI data is surveying a new market to determine where competitors are and how much room there is in a given city or neighborhood for a business to expand. For example, a quick-serve restaurant like McDonald’s might use POI data to examine expansion opportunities in Hungary. To do this, corporate will need to understand where fast food chains are located, how dense their locations are, and how POI data stacks up to mobility and demographic data to identify ideal opportunities.
A location data-driven expansion strategy can get much more granular than a high-level overview of where competitors are, though. Many POI data providers claim to provide comprehensive information on international markets but only tell a chain like McDonald’s where competing chains have locations. A more comprehensive dataset can tell McDonald’s where local restaurants are so that it can avoid trying to compete in locations where very similar local fare will crowd it out of the market.
Marketers can also pair POI data with other forms of location data, such as mobility and demographic data, to make optimal decisions. McDonald’s might use mobility data showing foot traffic at competitor locations to deduce which zip codes are ripe for a new entrant. Similarly, demographic data might indicate where the composition of the population is ideal for a McDonald’s location, saving the company money and yielding stronger ROI on new locations.
Build strategic partnerships
When many companies think of POI data, they think primarily of identifying and edging out competitors. But understanding where complementary businesses are is often just as key to developing an international growth strategy.
Consider the case of a logistics company like Uber. The ride-hailing company needs a highly accurate understanding of places to foster a positive user experience. But as the food delivery portion of its business grows, it also needs to know where restaurants, supermarkets, and rival delivery services are to understand its opportunities.
Another example of a vertical highly dependent on complementary business POI data is CPGs. A beverage brand needs to know not just where its likely customers live but also where it can partner with distributors to maximize market penetration and limit logistical costs. Beverage and other CPG brands routinely use POI data to build strategic partnerships and sharpen their growth strategies.
Eliminate inefficiencies when growing abroad
In industries with high overhead like third-party logistics, eliminating inefficiencies can make the difference between a highly profitable and low-performing company. Last-mile delivery and trucking companies often use POI data to reduce the frequency of inaccurate deliveries, deliver a better service to their customers, and minimize spend on trucks, raw materials like gas, and personnel.
Data-led companies, such as those in search, customer intelligence, and finance, also have a lot to gain from highly accurate international places data. For example, customers depend on listings sites like Google and Yelp to find local businesses. Organizations depend on banks and investment firms to provide the best possible strategic insight to help them make extremely costly decisions.
Without high-quality POI data, data-dependent businesses like tech firms and banks risk disappointing their customers and end users, compromising the integrity of their services.
Watch out — most international POI data is highly inaccurate
If it sounds like the promise of POI data is too good to be true — why wouldn’t every organization with global ambitions tied to brick-and-mortar locations be buying access to data that helps them understand those locations? — there is a catch. Contrary to what many US-focused location data providers claim, publicly available international places data is sparse, and very few location data companies can provide access to highly accurate data across markets, especially in developing countries.
POI data companies build up their datasets by searching publicly available databases and relying on human intelligence to fill in the gaps. Market leaders follow up on this through several verification tactics, including AI-driven data collection, machine learning data deduplication, and the enlisting of human experts, including academics and locals, to provide last-mile confirmation. But most location data companies rely on the same, limited methods they use in the US to compile international intelligence, with the result being international POI datasets that are up to 70 to 90% inaccurate.
To assess whether location data companies offer accurate POI data in specific international markets, ask them what data verification steps they take, what they have done to understand that market specifically, how their processes differ across regions, and whether they have hired human experts to fill in the gaps in a given market.
Making sure your international POI data is accurate is key — because if you’re getting incomplete or inaccurate data about international places, you might as well not have spent money and time acquiring access to international POI data in the first place.