Big data – it’s in the name. Big. As small business owners, we all can’t help but think that big data is for big enterprises. After all, why would microenterprise ever need to collect large swathes of information on their clients in the first place? Well, thankfully the world has changed a lot over the last few years, and small businesses now have a number of tools at their disposal – allowing them to reap the full rewards of big data.
Here we’ll take a look at a few ways in which small businesses can take advantage of big data, and what they need to do so.
Use software that collects publicly held information
Being a small business, you won’t often have the resources available to conduct large-scale market research and data collection. Fortunately, there are a number of providers out there that will combine information you hold with that in the public domain. This way you can analyze whether the information you hold correlates to the bigger picture – such as how many people are using products in your niche, the age of your target customer and their demographic. As Forbes points out, without these tools at your disposal, big data would be almost impossible for small businesses to access.
Marry together the perfect analyst with Google Analytics
Sure, Google Analytics might be the tool that anybody can use – but to truly harness its power, you need someone with a steady knowledge of business analysis. There are many popular colleges out there, such as the Merrimack College of Business Analytics, which now offer Master’s degrees in big data and business analytics. These guys truly understand how to take complicated data sets and marry them with efficient search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns.
But is it cost effective for small businesses?
The real question you should be asking is – ‘is it worth my time and is big data cost effective?’ And to answer that, you need to know whether big data will work for your organization. If you’re a corner shop with no online presence, then no, investing in big data probably won’t work for you. However, if you run a small e-commerce site and are looking to drive traffic to your store – take your database of previous customers and cross-reference it with social media, government databases and the usage patterns from mobile phones – there’s software out there that can do just that. Sure, you may have to pay for it, but if the potential return on investment (ROI) is there – by targeting the right customers – then it is more than worth it.
So, big data could work well for small American businesses. Take advantage of software available, get the right people through the door, but most importantly – ensure that big data works for your company. Nail all three of these on the head, and the ROI on your marketing campaigns will improve exponentially.