Friday, April 07, 2006

Google Earth -- A Virtual Map Marketing Machine

Well, if you have not yet already gone to Google Earth or its counterparts on other search engines, you probably will be doing it soon. The Today Show just did a story on it and that puts Earth in a much higher level of visibility.

Katie Curic showed how a real estate agent is using Google Earth to zoom in from a far off view of the earth spinning on its axis to a closeup, 3-D view of a neighborhood in Chicago where she is "showing" a home for sale to a client sitting with her -- in her office, far from the home site. She, of course, also discussed the potential invasion of privacy that such virtual mapping services pose for all of us as the search engine cameras catch real people walking on real streets (perhaps where that person should not be, completely blowing a white lie told to his wife).

I recently used Google Earth to find our two dogs who escaped from my mother-in-law's kitchen door. A view of her house revealed a series of streets on the other side of a wooded area. I could see from the aerial view of the neighborhood that these streets were a short distance from the home "as the crow flies" (or as the doggies run). For us, it was a circuitous 4-mile drive to get to these streets. When we got there, sure enough we found Cinder and Clover.

I also use Google Earth to find offices near the Cincom Systems World Headquarters, where I work as the manager for Direct Marketing and Internet Services

But the real bonanza is for marketing managers who want to run local marketing campaigns. Sitting behind your desk you can zoom in on targeted neighborhoods and map out where you want to drop your marketing flyers or door knob hangers ... or you can easily spot potential retail partners who serve the same neighborhood ... or you can survey the natural market area for a hospital to get a visual understanding of the residents who might be patients. This tool is limited only by your imagination.

I will be checking Phoenix and Scottdale on Google Earth ... to get a feeling for the location of my hotel where I will be staying next week and getting a fix on the nearest golf courses and restaurants.


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Jess said...

I remember downloading "Google Earth" last semester when I lived in the dorm. It was the "craze" at the time and everyone was Googling their house. I must say that it is somewhat freaky to know that you can zoom in on your own house from another location.

I think Google Earth is a great tool for real estate agents to use, and I am glad that they have this new technology. When new technology comes out for different businesses, it usually only strengthens them. I can't think of any new technological advancements in real estate these days, so I'm excited for this new discovery.

And about Google Earth finding people doing something they shouldn't me old fashioned, but I guess that is why you shouldn't be doing anything you wouldn't want everyone to know or see!

Hopefully this new feature can be used to help the world in other ways. Who knows...maybe it can help find missing persons (and dogs!), identify endangered species, and catch "bad people" who are doing "bad things!" Maybe it's a long shot, but hopefully this new discovery can be used for good things?!

At 1:24 AM, Anonymous Heather said...

I love Google Earth! I always used it to find my house, like Jess, or different spots around my hometown. I never really thought of using it from a marketing standpoint. Any type of campaign that needs maps and photos of cities can use it as an advantage to give more visuals.
The real estate agents using it are genius. They can show a potential home buyer the neighborhood, schools nearby and the traffic patterns around the house. It is a great tool for real estate and other fields that could use it to help showcase their product.
Another great way this can be used is when you are re-locating to a new city or starting a new job in a different area. If you are unfamiliar with the place, you can use it to look around the area to find restaurants, shops or even directions to where you are going.
It can potentially have its downsides, like getting caught doing something you are supposed to. But that can also help too as well. The police could use it as a tool to help catch criminals. Maybe, maybe not.
I think the major plus this has is to marketing practitioners. They can benefit from it and appeal to clients in a more effective way.

At 3:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is more of a question...
Can I use Google Earth (free) to mark where all my retail locations are? I am marketing manager. Or do I have to use Google Pro?


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