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Release: Immediate

UI College of Business Administration opens Marketing Technology Lab

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A new computer lab at the University of Iowa College of Business Administration allows marketing students to work with demographic and other marketing data for any region in the country.

The technology, known as geodemographic mapping, is the cornerstone of the college's new Marketing Technology Lab, created by Associate Professor of Marketing Tom Gruca. Geodemographic mapping is the same kind of decision-making technology used by many large businesses.

In the new lab, geodemographic mapping can now be used by students and faculty to learn more about target marketing. With a series of colorful maps and graphics, students can analyze the information street by street. Students can access more than 100 variables, such as income, family structure, spending habits, and lifestyle information, for any state, county, city or zip code.

The technology is an approach that expands beyond charts and graphs to tell companies where their customers live, where potential customers are, and where to locate new stores and deliver products. The application of the technology gives businesses a broader range of solutions.

According to Gruca, this type of technology has been available for years, but is just becoming affordable and accessible to institutions like the UI.

While the lab and the technology are under development, Gruca hopes to make them widely available to students. "My goal is to start training students to use this technology in their first marketing course," Gruca said. "Now we can have our students work with the same kind of technology companies are currently using rather than just talking about it."

Computer equipment and space for the Marketing Technology Lab was provided by the UI College of Business Administration, while some of the software was provided by DecisionMark, a software firm in Cedar Rapids. Financial support was also provided by two other Cedar Rapids firms, D.C. Taylor Co. and Perpetual Savings Bank, both members of the UI Marketing Advisory Council.

For more information, contact Tom Gruca at 319-335-0946.