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Winter 2003/2004
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Community Tapestry Segmentation System Classifies U.S. Neighborhoods

  click to see enlargement
This image shows new Tapestry segments in Nashville, Tennessee.

The new Community Tapestry segmentation system from Esri Business Information Solutions (Esri BIS) classifies every United States neighborhood into one of 65 segments based on socioeconomic and demographic composition. Built on the foundation of ACORN-proven methodology introduced more than 20 years ago, Tapestry allows users to profile consumers, constituents, or members by

  • Standard geographic areas including census tract, block group, and ZIP Code
  • User-defined areas such as rings and polygons based on distance, drive time, or user specifications
  • Customer addresses or site locations

For a broader view of the 65 segments, Esri BIS combined them into 12 LifeMode groups based on lifestyle and life stage composition and 11 Urbanization groups based on geographic and physical features such as density, city size, the location in or out of a metropolitan area, and whether or not it is part of the economic and social center of a metropolitan area.

Segments will usually give users more differentiating power than groups. However, if a user wants to analyze a smaller number of markets, groups would be appropriate. Choosing between the two groupings depends on the application. For certain products or services, Urbanization groups may distinguish the consumption pattern more effectively than LifeMode groups (e.g., going to movies). But for certain lifestyle or life stage-related behavior, such as domestic travel, grouping by LifeMode would be more effective.

Users can also define their own groups to capture the dynamics of Tapestry for specific applications. This can be accomplished, for example, by grouping the 65 segments based on the rank order on the index from customer profiles and consumer surveys.

What Can Be Done With Tapestry?

What does this information mean to businesses, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations? Most organizations must identify and differentiate their consumers, constituents, or members; supply them with the right products and services; and reach them via their preferred media. Tapestry can help to identify the best markets, discover how to reach them more effectively, and define the products and services preferred by consumers in those markets.

For example, retailers use segmentation to find customers who prefer to shop online, those who might respond to a customer loyalty promotion, and those who always shop in the store. They use segmentation to tailor promotions to each segment based on this knowledge.

Local governments' homeland security departments can use segmentation to determine where the community's vulnerable population is located such as those who frequently travel abroad. Segmentation can also help local governments define the types of community services to offer such as child care or senior day care.

Nonprofit organizations can use segmentation to profile their current members, tailor targeted prospect messages, and define the services preferred by their members.

Where Can Tapestry Be Obtained?

Tapestry data seamlessly integrates into software such as ArcGIS Business Analyst and Esri BIS' Community Coder and Portfolio. Tapestry is available for use in a variety of deliverables including

  • Report format via Business Analyst Online at—The Tapestry Area Profile compares the top 20 local market segments, ranked by household percentage, to their national counterparts. The report also includes data for the LifeMode and Urbanization summary groups. Esri BIS has added charts to illustrate the best opportunities in various markets. Information in this report can help users
    • Define market penetration.
    • Compare local markets to their national counterparts.
    • Identify opportunities.
    • Discover untapped potential.
  • Projects—Esri BIS will use the Tapestry segmentation system to develop a variety of marketing analysis projects based on client requirements. These analyses may include customer profiles, territory and competitive analyses, and modeling. Projects will contain comprehensive information about the market, interpretation of the findings and Esri BIS' recommendations for application improvements.
  • License—Users can contract to use Tapestry to develop their own analyses. These licenses are available by geography (national, regional, market, etc.) and/or by length of the license.

To learn more about Tapestry and its applications, contact Esri Business Information Solutions (tel. East: 1-800-292-2224 or tel. West: 1-800-394-3690) or visit

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