How Small Businesses Can Utilize Big Data to Grow Big
Big data is precisely what it sounds like – massive data. To contextualize it, businesses can understand big data as terabytes (or even petabytes of data). Mostly, big data has volume, variety, and velocity. Every day, every moment, and in every business transaction, there’s data generated. Over the long term, this data can be organized and analyzed to find out highly valuable patterns, trends, and information bits. These bits of information become vital inputs for the whole strategizing machinery of the business, with great benefits that span across marketing, strategic business management, financial planning, demand planning, etc. Let’s understand more on how small businesses can use big data to grow big.
Making Sense of Social Media
Every moment, there’s somebody writing a comment about your business, brand, products, or your target market. Imagine the mountains of valuable information out there on social media networks, right from negative comments about your products (which needs an immediate response) to positive feedback about your products (which needs to be promoted). Because all this information is scattered and unstructured, it’s a Herculean task to analyze it.
Big data comes to the rescue, enabling small businesses with cloud-powered tools that help organize social media content, identify and report critical mentions such as complaints or positive experiences, and analyze unstructured data to find actionable business information. By tapping into valuable information stored within social media comments, brand mentions, and detailed messages, big data tools can transform the way you understand your own business from the viewpoint of end customers and product users.
Benchmarking, Market Understanding, and Comparisons
Benchmarking against competition, aligning growth strategies with the pace of the market, keeping track of the market size – all these are critical strategic objectives for any small business. However, conventionally, small businesses only rely upon surveys, quarterly reports of big firms, industry veteran comments, and other means of unstructured and often contrasting information. Big data applications change that. For instance, QuickBooks and Compass are two applications that aggregate data for important metrics such as revenues, expenses, profitability, operating margins, growth rates, product category growth rates, pricing trends etc. These and similar benchmarking tools allow you to understand how your business stands when compared to similar businesses, market leaders, and in the context of the entire market.
Enablers for Understanding Customer Preferences To Drive Product Improvements
Product design improvement is a critical area of concern for small businesses. In fact, most of them need to innovate and improve products to stay in the fight against big businesses with massive resources that can be used to crush smaller firms. Big data applications come to the rescue of businesses of all scales and sizes and within all kinds of industries. These applications can collect critical information relating to aspects such as the most desirable product attributes, unused product features, the context of product use, the frequency of use, differences in use patterns across demographics, etc. Big data can not only organize all this massive data, but can also crunch the numbers to reveal actionable business insight that can be used to improve products, reduce costs by weeding out unnecessary features, and by creating different versions of products, appealing to different target sections.
Enabling Smart Marketing Decision Making
For several SMBs out there, marketing expenses and investments overshadow the costs of product manufacturing and employee salaries. This is understandable, and this is precisely why SMBs tend to focus in adopting tech tools to help them take control over their marketing campaigns and the GBs of data generated ever so often.
Big data has proven effective benefits to confer on SMBs in this regard. Right from applications that collate all existing marketing data to wholesome big data suits that integrate separate marketing management digital apps to create unified data repositories, the options are multifarious. Big data allows businesses to access all critical products, customer, pricing, and any marketing related data quickly, and in the form of actionable reports, driving positive and well-informed actions that directly improve marketing outcomes.
Understanding and Optimizing Lead Generation Sources for Business
Tracking leads, monitoring the journey of leads throughout the conversion funnel, and organizing lessons in the form of tactics, best practices, and strategies – all these are critical customer purchase behavior analysis activities. Manually tracking this varied information is difficult, if not entirely impossible for small businesses.
This is where big data applications can help; these applications enable regular capturing of vital information pertaining to sources of leads, such as company blogs, email marketing, social media support and marketing, word of mouth, online landing pages, etc. Even businesses that don’t have massive existing data can leverage these applications to make sense from smaller data sets. When SMBs understand the best performing sources of lead generation, they can align their efforts towards the best ones, which significantly improves inbound traffic, leads, and conversions.