One emerging trend in the IT industry is data…Big Data – a collection of data sets produced by large numbers of people, places, and things. Imagine city-wide populations, states, nations, each one of us, you and me, all of it all are data points that move and behave in certain ways. Collecting all that data and analyzing its structure allows us to predict markets and societal movements.
Businesses with traditional data retention processes typically collect data from their day to day operations which is then used to develop their processes for optimum performance. So for instance you collect data on the products that your customers buy and you probably know what part of the year where sales will increase due to seasonality or some other reason. This is all very localized data. Big data on the other hand is a collection of every single business, and their customers, and their seasonality, the time of day in which every transaction happens, every comment, and it just goes on and on until you have a large data set from which you can derive patterns and trends.
The new age of data can now be harnessed for foresight. The good news is that this type of data is not only for big companies who produce big chunks of data, SMB’s can also make use of this trend so they can compete in today’s market place.
How can small business benefit
The question now is how can this be accomplished? Data can be a big help for SMB’s to help boost online marketing, advertising strategies, and the business overall. Using tools like Google Trends, small business can see geographic interests and movement and act accordingly.
Online it’s important not only to keep track of the number of clicks, but to also have a record on where the traffic comes from, what makes people follow through and buy once they’ve visited the site, the time factor, time spent on a page, as well as the time spent browsing from one page to another. All of this valuable data can help business owners learn more about their consumers and keep them engaged.
Most of the necessary tools that small business can use are available from various sources such as Google Analytics, InsightSquared, Canopy Labs, and others; making it within reach for small businesses. But the main point for analyzing data is to create conversation with a target market. This helps a business anticipate where the market is going, and what obstacles may be at the forefront. Having your ears in the conversation ensures a proactive response instead of a reactive one.
Imagine being able to pivot in relation to customers desires six months before that desire is manifest. Small businesses are in this day and time fully capable, and are implementing these big data insights that put the best small businesses ahead of the curve. And for the most part a lot of these tools are relatively free, case in point Google trends again.
The use of Data
The use of data can lead a small business to have a competitive edge over their competitors, providing for a real competitive advantage and the sooner a small business utilizes data the higher the chances of them leading the race. If you’re using Google adwords in your advertising and marketing strategy, you currently have access to an incredibly optimized big data platform inherent within Google. Once an Adwords campaign is set up properly with conversions optimized according to traffic patterns. then your campaign is virtually operating within a big data network and benefiting from the results that come of it.
The use of data allows the measure of advertising impact, giving small business an added advantage compared to large-scaled ones since they have the ability to start small and slow as they test different markets products, and demographics throughout the process. Once data is acquired and properly analyzed, SMBs can now create new platforms to test their marketing value.
To date, many small businesses have found ways to make use of data, realizing how it can be of great help in business analytics.
Even though SMBs should start out small, they can make use of technology for processing large amounts of unstructured data. With the aid of data analytics, SMBs can gain more insights about their business operations in relation to market potential, and how to make improvements.