Neighborhoods Eat ZIP Codes - and other Urban myths

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ZIP Codes are dead. At least, that's what some web marketers might have you think. Here's why they are (mostly) wrong.

Local Targeting

In cities, people don't think about ZIP Codes so much. They think about neighborhoods. So, if you want to speak in the voice of your market, you better allow for neighborhood search. Especially if you are in a retail-like business in a major city. Maponics can help you with neighborhood boundaries so you can tag locations by neighborhood, a prerequisite for allowing local search. But what about that ZIP Code?

"Reports of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

Have you ever tried to do a direct mail campaign to specific neighborhoods? Nearly impossible (though, postal carrier routes might help). That entrenched system the USPS built for mail delivery has many years of life left in it. Most companies approach marketing through many channels. Unless you are going purely virtual, don't throw away those stamps just yet.

Gotta Have It

Neighborhood level searching is fast becoming a "gotta have it" for metro area business and real estate. Everybody who lives in a city knows where different neighborhoods are. And your customers are not finding you from print ads anymore. No, Google is making sure that the next generation of consumers is trained to look on Google for the best pizza places, shoe stores, or even where to buy a home. And people naturally think by neighborhood unless forced to do it by ZIP.

Don't Know ZIP

In contrast, most people only know 3 ZIP Codes: their own ZIP Code, the ZIP Code where they work, and the ZIP Code where their mother lives. All this might make you think I agree with the obsolescence of the ZIP Code. But really, I've got two dogs in this fight.

Long Live ZIP!

ZIP Codes and Neighborhoods work in tandem. Using one alone only serves half the need. ZIP Codes are perfect for

  • Targeting mailings
  • Analyzing your customer data (since every customer has a mailing ZIP Code field, right?)
  • Viewing demographics

So why would you ever try to kill the lovable ZIP Code?

Maponics self-sources location databases for both ZIP Codes and Neighborhoods. Give us a call to license the data for a multichannel local targeting effort: 800-762-5158.