ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

October 2012

Identify and Reach Senior Citizen Voters

How to Use GIS and Esri Segmentation Data to Target Campaign Messages

By Brent Roderick
Esri Product Marketing

Political candidates can target campaign messages toward seniors who live in the sunbelt.
Political candidates can target campaign messages toward seniors who live in the sunbelt.

More than 40 million senior citizens, age 65 years and older, live in the United States. They are a force to be reckoned with, both in terms of their numbers and for their interest in politics and current events.

This group stays informed, donates, raises money, volunteers, and—most importantly—votes. Seniors also raise unique topics of concern during elections, such as retirement and Medicare. Because being a senior no longer means spending days rocking on the front porch, how can campaigns and candidates identify, understand, and reach different groups of senior voters with the right messaging? Data segmentation can help campaigns resolve this challenge.

Segmentation systems operate on the theory that people seek and live near others with the same tastes, lifestyles, and behaviors. When seniors are segmented by affluence, education, employment, and lifestyle, differences in their preferences become more apparent. Their behaviors—including product, leisure, and media preferences—can be measured, predicted, and targeted.

Using proven segmentation methodology introduced more than 30 years ago, Esri's Tapestry Segmentation system classifies US neighborhoods into 65 unique segments based on their socioeconomic and demographic composition. Tapestry combines the who of lifestyle demography with the where of local geography to create detailed neighborhood lifestyle segments with distinct consumer behaviors.

Tapestry adds valuable lifestyle information to basic demographics. For example, Tapestry data can identify the types of people who are likely to work on a political campaign, donate to it, or vote in an election. Attitudinal data in Tapestry provides information about types of people who consider themselves somewhat liberal or somewhat conservative.

Tapestry recognizes the demographic and lifestyle differences among seniors and classifies them into nine distinct lifestyle segments:

Campaigns can take advantage of valuable segmentation information by adding Tapestry codes to voter address records—they are a gold mine of information. Campaigns can then identify their best opportunities to target volunteers, donations, and fund-raising and other activities.

Messages about concerns and issues can be tailored to resonate with each audience and be conveyed by preferred media for maximum reach.

Tapestry Segmentation data is available in 2010 geography as a database in multiple formats and geographic levels. The data is also available in reports and maps on Esri Business Analyst Online and Community Analyst. Business Analyst for Desktop and Business Analyst for Server users can access and integrate the data and reports instantly via the Business Analyst Online APIs.

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