Suburbs of New Orleans, LA. View from over Ken...

First, a working definition: psychogeographic barriers are mental or emotional obstacles that keep people from entering a given area for business. As a market research company,we look at these factors for many companies.

It might be a busy street or a perception of an area not being “my area” of town, or even as simple as your boss’ office threshold. The key ingredient here is that there’s nothing physical keeping people from coming to your business, not a wall or a barricade, but only thought barriers, which often can be more powerful than real walls.

The initial thing to do when you are suspicious that your business might be a victim of a psychogeographic barrier is to seek out the help of a professional research company to identify what hose barriers are and why they exist. The presence and location of a barrier are usually easy to identify but accurately identifying the cause can be much more elusive.

By understanding the causes of the barrier it is easier to enact the changes necessary, obliterate those mental barriers and get more traffic to your business.

We helped a doctor’s office break through their a psychogeographic barrier surrounding their practice. Their office sat just on the edge of what was considered the suburb area adjacent to downtown. The pediatrician’s office had no problem attracting parents from the suburban area, but it was as if their sphere of influence was shaped more like half a pie. They weren’t getting patients from the downtown area because of “territorial” psychogeographic issues.

Downtown people do things downtown; suburbanites conduct business in the suburbs, but in this case the doctor’s office was on the border and could really serve both and could even be a bridge between the two worlds. The key was reach out to the people in the city and engage with them around the benefits of this office.

In this case the office was able to simply sent out some mailings targeted to this geographic area telling the recipients how easy it was to get there, how functional and cost effective the parking was compared to dealing with meters and parking garages, and how much they really wanted their business.

In the end, they saw an increase in the size of the pie and, with little investment, overcame the psychogeographic barrier that seemed insurmountable. All it took was accurately identifying and tackling that barrier and then implementing sometimes very simple fixes, and the “walls” come tumbling down.

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