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Showing vs. telling – The Esri way

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Esri, the world’s technical and market-leading producer of geographic information systems (GIS) software, develops and delivers technology that enables organizations to create responsible and sustainable solutions to problems on local and global scales. For Esri, geography is at the heart of a more resilient and sustainable future. Governments, industry leaders, academics and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) trust Esri to connect them with the analytical knowledge they need to make critical decisions that shape the planet.

Esri leverages its website and User Conferences to encourage understanding of its solutions and product and drive collaboration in the Location Analytics arena by having users share their work and experiences. The Esri website provides visitors with an easy to navigate destination with rich content – and the company hosts User Conferences across the globe to keep customers connected and bring prospective customers into the fold. “Everyone uses Esri for GIS, but the User Conferences we host are definitely a differentiator for us. At these events, we reinforce to our customers that they are the center of our universe – and that we are totally committed their success,” notes Robin Rowe, Esri Marketing Manager.

Each conference includes Esri customers as featured speakers who tell how they leveraged Esri GIS software and tools to solve problems. As Jack Dangermond, founder and president of Esri, notes, “Starbucks is creating geographic strategies for where they locate or close stores. It’s also being done by Walgreens and PETCO. These are all our customers. And they're… getting the geographic advantage by using GIS to look at factors and model these factors, make maps, and then they design strategies based on top of them. Foresters do the same thing and so does the military, they lay out military plans of action, strategic plans using GIS. Oil companies use geodesign, and geoengineering to make decisions about where to search for oil.”

In 2012, Esri will add a strategic storytelling layer to its marketing strategy to help build an emotional connection to prospects and customers – and to further demonstrate how Esri helps business, governments and NGOs makes smart decisions. In late July, Esri will release a new corporate video titled “Seeing Answers for Everything” – which represents a shift in positioning and marketing strategy for the company.

“Our customers have so many great stories to tell – and it all centers on being able to visualize and collaborate on solutions – solutions that leverage the tremendous amounts of data our customers have at their fingertips,” Robin said. “Telling real-life stories is a unique way for us to break through the clutter and to get interested prospects to truly appreciate the benefits of Esri’s solutions.

One story involves the Loma Linda Medical Center, which serves San Bernardino and three other counties. For this medical center, Esri is installing geo-coding software that automatically verifies patient addresses. Once the project is operational, doctors and other care providers will be able to "see" where a patient lives and what kind of neighborhood stores and social services they could tap into upon discharge from the hospital. For instance, locating pharmacies or farmers markets within walking distance, or helping elderly patients enroll in public transit services to get them to their next doctor's appointment.

“Moving in 2012 and beyond we will show people, instead of simply telling people, how Esri helps people, companies and organizations make better decisions,” said Robin.

The video that will be released later this month at the Esri User Conference in San Diego, CA July 23-27, 2012.

Check back in a few weeks for a link to the video and a follow Q&A with Esri.

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