A New Tapestry


According to Wiki, the word tapestry is Old French used as a noun to refer to textile fabrics formed by weaving colored threads to create pictures or designs. Sometimes tapestries were used to portray a series of events or stories. A more modern use of the term links it to cultures, races, and customs, along the lines of ‘the world is a tapestry of individual uniqueness all woven together’.

That descriptor gets us to a mapping and data analytics company called Esri. The company’s tagline is the science of where. Software is a powerful tool. Esri uses geographic information system (GIS) mapping to help their subscribers see what others can’t. This includes spatial analysis, mapping and visualization, 3D GIS, real time GIS, imagery and remote sensing and data management.

Where’s this going? Esri launched its own version of woven threads to tell stories, called Tapestry Segmentation, to better understand customers’ lifestyle choices, what they buy, and how they spend their free time. Esri’s Tapestry service gives its users the insights to help identify the best customers, optimal sites, and underserved markets, leading to higher response rates, avoiding less profitable areas, and investing resources more wisely. As Esri proclaims, Tapestry Segmentation is the Fabric of America’s Neighborhoods.

And now the fun part. Esri uses 14 LifeModes to describe America’s Neighborhoods. They range from Affluent Estates to Cozy Country Living, and from Middle Ground to MidTown Singles. Each LifeModes has numerous subsets. The Family Landscapes LifeMode includes a subset called Soccer Moms and the Rustic Outposts LifeMode includes Diners & Miners.

And now for the really fun and intriguing part. Esri gives online browsers the ability to search communities and neighborhoods free of charge to learn a tapestry’s local story. The zip code 54016 for Hudson, Wisconsin shows 26.4% are Soccer Moms, 22.4% are Bright Young Professionals, and 15.2% are Savvy Suburbanites, all with detailed summaries. New Richmond’s 54017 zip yields Middleburg, Rustbelt Traditions, and Old and Newcomers as the subsets. Results for Baldwin are Middleburg, Rustbelt Traditions, and Green Acres. Are these communities, all within close proximity, close reflections of the descriptors? If there’s a zip code, Esri has it covered with a Tapestry Segmentation. Even the Goliath-like Twin Cities directly west of St. Croix County, Wisconsin is carved up into market segments.

Use this link for a test drive of favorite neighborhoods and zips, Enter a zip code and select a couple of fields like population density, median age, or graduate and professional degrees to get started. Half the fun is reading the subsets. At another link, Esri has all the communities and neighbors in America mapped, and as they download, it’s easy to see why their program includes the Tapestry name. Give the two-page download a look here

Ersi’s GIS tool is compelling technology. The consumer spending of Soccer Moms is far different than, say, Green Acres. For prospective investors contemplating new market areas, the results help predict the best locations and a better bottom line. It’s proof once again there’s an exacting science behind most capital investment decisions.