Big Data is not just for big businesses with huge budgets, even the small and medium sized businesses can reap benefits from it, and that is because of the new tools available in the market in recent years, falling tech costs (e.g. disk space, cpu power,etc.) and expertise built into the day-to-day of today’s marketers and business analysts.
By using big data for your company’s marketing strategy, you can compare and cross reference your existing databases with a whole treasure trove of existing data already out in the public realm such as government databases, social networks, mobile usage patterns, and digitized transcripts from call centers. And most importantly, you can do all that affordably. This helps companies to understand the needs of their prospective clients, alter their service offerings in the right way and give their employees sharper tools to be more efficient.
The truth is, even the smaller companies have been analyzing their data for years, this information is usually scattered about the organization in data information silos closely guarded by the select few guardians of the realm. Without breaking down those silos to discover correlations, patterns, and trends, this information remains largely unusable and untapped to what could be its full potential.
Here are five ways small and medium sized businesses can use big data:
1. Store Your Big Data – Modern Cloud Integration
There was a time when the majority of information processing costs a company incurred were tied to server hardware and high priced analysts that were able to extract the data. Using big data starts with recording and storing large amounts data. In fact tons of it, and you need lots of storage space for that in your server room – or do you? Using cloud storage for your company involves little investment overhead, and can be found with pay-as-you-go models which helps you scale easily according to your requirements.
2. Correct Big Data Measurement
Data is only as valuable if it really helps you achieve or measure some sort of tangible business objective. Before doing anything else, you need to measure your data against your company’s metrics, SMART goals and objectives. By aligning your data mining efforts with tangible outcomes, you are able to answer pertinent questions your sales and marketing teams may have. A classic one with B2B companies is, who are our customers today? Who has been a customer in the last three (3) sales cycles? What motivators helps them get through the sales funnel? What is your Customer Lifetime Value? By asking yourself simple, yet extremely poignant core business questions, then and only then should you start looking to find the answers in your data.
3. Find Hidden Big Data Trends
Data has always been there, stored in the same place for years and years but the real trick is to decide what to make of that data. Correct data analysis is the key to everything.
The first thing that a small business needs to do is find out exactly what they are looking for and how the big data can help them. Spend time with your marketing team and ask them what they already have and what more information would they want to know. Then through the data trends, you can go looking for it.
4. Start Simple and Start Small
Always start by getting a handle on your own data. Install tools that can provide you with real access to data and at the same time allow you to measure metrics like ad conversion, cost of a new customer and leads generation. This is important to build a strong foundation.
5. Hire a Big Data Mining Expert
There is a valid reason why Harvard Business Review claimed that the Data Scientist has the Sexiest Job of the 21st Century. Of course, every company needs a data mining expert. Someone who looks at unintelligible charts, graphs, and numbers, and finds the real meaning in them. Now this person doesn’t have to have a double PhD in statistical sciences, but someone that is handy with spreadsheets (Excel), databases, data interpretation, and general business intelligence (BI) tools. Don’t have the budget for a full-time employee (FTE), no problem. By using outsourced models, such as Upwork, you have access to a plethora of highly skilled data scientists who will consult by the hour.
Big data is the new buzz word, and it is definitely here to stay. While it might seem a bit scary for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) to get started with it, the fact is big data can give them the edge they need to compete against big companies — be nimble, win clients.