Big data has been defined as “data sets that are too large and complex to manipulate or interrogate with conventional business analytics software”. Up until recently, conversations about it had been linked to big brands, but today, big data is more accessible and manageable because it’s relative to a company’s size and goals.
The Age of Big Data has been addressed for a few years now. Steve Lohr from the New York Times writes about the possibilities of big data in advancing trends of technology that open the door to a new approach of understanding the world and making strategic decisions. However, we would like to start a conversation on big data from the perspective of small brands, and to outline the benefits that can be obtained from their existing data to grow and improve their business.
Big data is a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside of the company that represent a source for ongoing discovery and analysis. The mainstream media has adopted a definition of big data that’s broadly synonymous with “analytics”.
Some people like to constrain big data to digital inputs like web behavior and social network interactions; however Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Information Officers agree that we can’t exclude traditional data derived from product transaction information, financial records and interaction channels, such as the call center and point-of-sale.
The goal is that every enterprise needs to fully understand big data, and the potential of data-driven marketing. Data-Driven Marketing is the combination of collecting and connecting large amounts of data, rapidly analyzing it and gaining insights, and then bringing those insights to market via marketing interactions tailored to what’s relevant for each customer.
Here are some aspects to remember when deciding next steps towards marketing efforts based on big data:
- The focus shouldn’t be on analyzing massive amounts of data but instead looking at the data that matters to your business
- When it comes to the data that you should care about, it’s a good idea to focus on the information that can improve customer service and business operations. For instance, data can be analyzed to better serve loyal customers and target new ones
- Even small businesses who don’t use social media can benefit from some data analysis, for example, with a customer relationship management program. CRM systems keep track of interactions with customers and give insight into them
- If there is no chance to spend any money on data analysis, small business owners can start with simply capturing customer email addresses and talking about customer surveys. Basic data skills undoubtedly help to understand customers better
- Use open data, readily available on the Internet. Sometimes government and federal data pertaining to things like weather, traffic patterns or property registrations, can be used to help a business
- If facing big data for the first time alone seems like it’s too much (it could feel like too much), find contractors who can do this for the business. Setting up some analysis of data feeds and having consultants review the findings is a great place to start
How does this relate to Small Businesses?
Big businesses have embraced big data already, they understand its power and capacity; however, small businesses have more access to big data than bigger ones because big data is lots of small data points, and the best way to get new data is through interactions.
A small business owner has an opportunity to interact, track and learn from their customers, directly, every day. That’s their greatest advantage.
In sum, Big Data represents a new world of features that allows the small business owner a better perspective about the business and allows them to use that big data to become more efficient and cost-effective.