What sets our generation far above those born decades before is the amount of data available for organizations to glean useful information, insights and patterns. With interconnected gadgets, from smartphones and computers, to home appliances and street sensors that together generate data, there are a plethora of data that people from all sectors can use in identifying human patterns, traffic, weather, marketing trends and what not–useful information that is generally called big data.
Big companies like Amazon and Google are using these data to provide relevant information and timely services to their customers, thus giving their companies the edge in doing business. Since mining big data is predominantly done by multinational large-scale companies, leveraging it can be intimidating for small businesses.
However, you might be surprised to know that big data are way more suitable and useful for small businesses, than for big businesses. Bernard Marr argues: “In many ways, big data is suited to small business in ways that it never was for big business – even the most potent insights are valueless if your business is not agile enough to act on them in a timely fashion. Small businesses have the advantage of agility, making it perfectly suited to act on data-derived insights with speed and efficiency.”
As such, there is every reason for small businesses to leverage big data. To provide you with more information, here are some practical ways SMBs can use big data for their business.
5 Big Ways SMBs Can Take Advantage of Big Data
- Solve Big SMB Problems
The obvious way to use big data is to solve business problems in getting a better market share, improving business process etc.. Regular collection of data from day to day business processes is a useful routine that can reveal patterns where you have inadequacies and shed some new light in whatever loopholes you have.
An in-depth analysis of your data can provide clarity on what you are doing wrong or best, what needs improvement or iterations. The problem-solving potential of big data for your business is hard to underestimate. In your next business planning, a data analytics will prove to be very helpful in doing your situation analysis.
- Forecast the Trend in Your Niche
Big data is your most powerful means to stay ahead of the curve. Monitoring your customer’s patterns of behavior along with external data like economic and social factors can aid you in predicting where the market is heading to. Big data analysis can chart the latest trends in business operations, technology, customer preference, and almost any aspect of your business. It helps you learn what’s going to be outmoded and what’s going to be promoted as a trend.
Moreover, big data can also serve as your health indicator. Predictive analytics can trace the trajectory of your business considering all the internal and external factors. Therefore, to stay on top of the game, you need big data.
- Understand the Habits of Your Customers
Thanks to the internet of things (IoT) that generates huge amount of data right from each customer’s gadget, you can glean some useful information about their behavior patterns. Knowing your customer’s preferences, what they like, when they like it and how they purchase a product/service comes in handy if you use big data analytics. With this, you can deliver the best services and products for the right people at the right time. It helps you target your customer and get a larger market share.
Social media sites are a good source of useful data where you can get a pulse from your target market. These are the channels where you can know your customers on a personal level, allowing you to improve your product by making it more intuitive and personal. This leads us to the next item–offering a more personalized product and service to your customers.
- Offer Personalized Product to Customers
With the advancement of Artificial Intelligence and learning technologies that follow the behavior and preferences of customers, people are getting used to a more personal experience from the products they consume. For instance, Spotify offers their customers a personalized playlist, “Discover Weekly”. This is made possible by analysing data from each of their customer. According to Aaron Shapiro’s recent article “In the near future, brand experiences will differentiate themselves by customizing all of their advertising, products, and services for their individual users.”
By learning more about your customers, you can integrate these information into your CRM (Customer Relation Management) and thus generate more brand awareness and later ROI.
- Spy on Your Competitors
Gone are the days when you have to keep an ear on the latest gossip and rumors in your niche just to know what your competitors are up to. With competitive analytics tools, you can spy on your competitors without leaving your desk. However, the same goes for you: your competitors can also spy on you.
There are free tools that can help you do your espionage. One is Google trends that offers insights about the popularity of keywords related to a brand/product. There are also paid tools like SEMrush, Buzzsumo and Ahrefs. It is also good to start on social media, e.g Twitter where you can monitor the mentions or popularity of your competitors.
The potential of big data is limitless. There are even more ways you can creatively use big data for your business. Clearly, now is the time to forgo of any intimidation or fear of big data.
About the Author, Micah de Jesus
Micah de Jesus is a Digital Marketing Professional and a data / cybersecurity news junkie. She works as the Managing Director of GrowthScout SEO Services, a digital marketing firm and a Contributing Editor for INOC – NOC Center, The Partnership UK and Solus Multi Factor Authentication.