Big Data for Small Businesses: Overlaps and Opportunities
How can you use big data to develop your business?
Since this is a topic that’s here to stay, we’ll center this post around two main areas where big data can impact small businesses: Marketing and Operations.
Let’s think of a marketing budget. It had been the case that forecasts and media plans were made by looking first at the goals a company wanted to accomplish; this is no longer the case. Marketing plans are being developed by the needs that users are sharing, and big data is the bridge between those needs and the plans you need to develop.
Let’s expand on the point we’re trying to make: analytics is still a tool to get to big data, what’s changing is the way we look at that data, the approach we take when dealing with it, and the type of strategies we create from there.
For example: take an e-commerce site. From the analytics we can see how users got there, the emails and keywords they used, in other words, the source. Here’s where big data comes in handy: once a user becomes a customer we can tie that marketing data with a conversion to purchases; we are able to put a dollar value to a marketing channel, and from there curate the right marketing efforts to come.
From this perspective, a small business owner can determine the profit made from a single blog post, and even more: from keywords or images. If we go one level deeper: a business will also be able to see how much time it’ll cost to produce such an impact in the future.
Big data is useful to analyze customer service responses. With a look at the content in social media channels (widely used now) and e-mails from customers, a business owner can start seeing trends as to what customers need: unresolved issues, recurring problems, opportunities to retain clients, or to bring them back from a hiatus.
Patterns in the services you’re providing will become evident.
Another area of opportunity inside operations is expenses. If your business is based on time and material, the goal is to start tracking how long it takes to do a certain task or project, in order to analyze this information.
Advice: go granular, meaning; track everything. If we’re talking about the manufacturing and delivery of a product, the tracking should include from when an order was placed, when the product started the manufacturing process, when that stage was over, when it was delivered… this will guarantee data to find shortcomings in your processes.
Stay around, we’ll continue the conversation on big data – still from a business owner perspective – including other areas of organizations soon.