USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute Logo
USC Logo

The Relationship Between GIS and Marketing

October 26, 2011

Students who want to utilize the knowledge they learned in a geographic information systems (GIS) degree program will have a variety of job opportunities at their disposal in various fields. Although it might not seem obvious on the surface, marketing is one of these fields, one whose connection to GIS technologies has become quite significant in recent years.

To improve their chances of obtaining a favorable employment opportunity in GIS-based marketing, GIS graduate degree holders may want to bolster their understanding of the relationship between these two disciplines. A thorough knowledge of how GIS is applied to marketing will aid these individuals in their studies and job search after graduation.

General information on the relationship between GIS and marketing

Individuals who are enrolled in GIS master’s degree courses of study who want to get into marketing with their education will need to begin by having a comprehensive knowledge of the the technology. The resources provided below offer explanations of the job opportunities and purposes of GIS as a general category, in addition to supplying some specific information about marketing with GIS.

California Employment Development Department: This state government webpage lists general information about the job requirements of a GIS specialist, with examples of the various fields the technology can be applied to, including marketing.

Vermont Center for Geographic Information: Although the information provided here is fairly broad, focused more on the general purposes GIS is typically used for, it does make note of an important aspect of GIS’ role in marketing: determining where a given business’s customer base is located.

Cartographic and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS): This PDF brochure details the wide-ranging purposes of GIS technology and also lists a number of potential job opportunities in the field, including the position of a GIS industry marketing manager.

Specific research on the uses of GIS technology in various marketing efforts

After amassing knowledge regarding the general uses of GIS in a variety of industries, students in online GIS certificate programs who are interested in marketing will need to delve into how the technologies benefit their field of choice. They may find that such benefits are even more extensive than they had initially believed.

Esri: In this exhaustive brochure, the specific role of GIS in marketing efforts is well explained. Purposes for the technology include the identification and targeting of a company’s best customers as well as the facilitation of complex, multi-channel marketing initiatives that have the highest potential for success based on their location.

National Library of Medicine: By reading the abstract, backgrounds and methods detailed in this study, those enrolled in GIS online certificate programs can see how GIS was used to determine the marketing areas for a specialized library with the greatest degree of efficacy and success.

Information Systems Educators Conference: A research paper titled “Visualizing Opportunities: GIS Skills for Retail Marketing,” this document explains in detail the need for business students to learn how best to apply GIS technology and the data it can gather to their chosen field. GIS students looking to enter marketing may benefit from the arguments presented here.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): As explained here, GIS technologies are frequently used in community support initiatives, including as a method of assisting awareness and marketing campaigns related to this purpose.

United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division: At various points throughout the handbook contained in this PDF document, the use of GIS data and technology in marketing – as well as several other areas of the private sector – is concisely but informatively explained.

Examples of programs and projects where marketing and GIS are brought together

To ensure that GIS master’s degree program enrollees have the most broad understanding of how GIS and marketing are connected, they may benefit from looking into programs, courses and projects that exemplify that connection. In doing so, they may develop a specific approach to how they choose to enter the field.

Multnomah County Library: Along with a number of other GIS databases, the list provided on this webpage includes SimplyMap, a GIS application used to create business-related maps and reports using demographic and marketing data.

2010 Governor’s Technology Winners and Honorable Mentions, Virginia: One of the winners listed here is a project called “Accelerate Virginia,” which involved students using GIS data and technology for a marketing campaign intended to promote awareness of broadband internet availability in the state.