At MQ&C analyzing a client’s customer base or trade area is step 1 before we start recommending any advertising strategies or tactics.

Back in 1993 a client introduced us to Neilsen’s PRIZM Clusters, the original segmentation system. As an aside PRIZM is an acronym for “potential ranking index for zip-code marketing.”

By the late 1990’s MQ&C had come to the conclusion we could not effectively practice marketing and advertising without using segmentation to understand a customer base. Who is your best customer, what are they like, where can you find more of them? Or, put another way: know your trade area, know your customer and leverage the differences

The more we studied segmentation, the more we realized consumer behavior was not about the product or service being sold, but about the psychographics of people buying the product or service.


We’ve come a long way since we used off-the-shelf systems like PRIZM 20+ years ago. Since 2007 MQ&C has maintained in-house the unabridged U.S. consumer and postal file containing over 235MM active individual records, 153MM active household records, all with up to 1,000 data points appended. We’ve enhanced this file with over 40 major data licenses from providers as diverse as the USPS to Tom Tom Geo-spatial.

To manage, query and extract results from this data, we use the Alteryx platform for very-large-database management. This is the same software the US Census Bureau uses for their file and Experian utilizes for their billions of worldwide records. Having the ability to summarize and analyze up to a trillion records empowers us with quick, meaningful access to big data to make it immediately actionable for marketing, advertising and site selection purposes. Big Data is great, but does little good when you need an answer in an hour for a marketing plan and it takes IT a week or a month just to pull the data you need.

At MQ&C analyzing a client’s customer base or trade area is step 1 before we start recommending any advertising strategies or tactics. Determining the smallest psychographic portion of the market or trade area that will yield the highest response, revenue and lifetime customer-value is key. We can then hyper-market to those tightly defined segments with a message that uniquely resonates with them. We can utilize the analysis results for everything from Radio, Zoned Cable, Direct Mail, Google AdWords campaigns, Site selection, Lead-scoring, creative messaging, landing page optimization, lead triage at the call center, and much more.

If your current agency is not basing your strategies and tactics on knowing your trade area and customers, remember the old adage from over a 100 years ago: “I know half of my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half, so I keep doing it all.” To see if you qualify for a no cost no obligation report on your trade area click here and fill out this short form.