Rand McNally Hits the Road with Tag

Holly Richmond
Monday, Jul 25, 2011 at 10:00 AM

How does a mapping company in business for over 150 years the world's biggest publisher of road atlases–make the jump to digital? Just ask Rand McNally. The company that started out printing maps in the Chicago area just rolled out TripMaker® RVND™5510, a GPS device for RV drivers–and is using Microsoft Tag to integrate a digital component into its print products.

The company started considering how to integrate Tag over a year ago, says Jeff DeKorte, Rand McNally's senior vice president of travel and digital media. "Almost every billboard in Times Square has some version of the Tag being integrated," says DeKorte, who lives in Manhattan. "It was hard to avoid them." The company started investigating barcode options and Tag seemed the most ubiquitous and easy to use. The reporting panel was also a large draw. "We're a really data-driven company, so that's a big plus," says Jennifer Cavallo, director of sales and retail strategy.

Rand McNally Image

Rand McNally is using Tags in its road atlases to replace state-specific URLs, so travelers can instantly get videos, travel guides and other information for each state on their smartphones without having to type anything in. The Walmart edition of the 2012 Road Atlas sports a Tag on the cover, making it jump out when shoppers are looking at atlas options–and getting more scans than any of Rand McNally's other Tags (Road Atlas front covers receive about 52 percent of their total scans).

Speaking of the company's scans, DeKorte says the distribution across the nation was impressive: "When we pulled up the heat map in the admin panel, we saw dots across the country. ... The early data that we've seen is so promising, we're starting to put Tags on many other products, like our print maps and BestoftheRoad.com" (a search for the best small towns in the nation, which the company is leading with USA Today). They're putting Tags on almost every piece of promotional material for the new site, and even adding a giant Tag to the side of an RV. Now that's taking travel into the 21st century!

Do you think adding Tags to maps is a good way to help people on the road? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.


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