SMB and Big Data – Why It’s Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore

When small business owners read reports about how Big Data can help them get ahead, they often don’t take them seriously. The very term Big Data, to them, seems to imply that it’s meant for big business.

Small businesses need to see, though, that Big Data is just a fancy term for some of the market data that they already have and use. Every time they engage their customers over social media or launch an email marketing campaign with clickable offers in the body of each email, it’s a piece of data that they can use Big Data processing methods on for deep insights. Small business owners just need to learn how to exploit Big Data for insights.

SMB and Big Data - Why Its Not Just for the Big Guys Anymore

Track every customer

As a small business owner, you need to keep track of how exactly you have managed to come by each one of your paying customers in the past. Keeping track of this information can help you replicate those moves. If many paying customers came in through a link in an email once or from a search engine result, it’s information you can use to develop your marketing effort in the future. Implementing Big Data software in your business can help you track every customer in this way.

Use marketing analytics

Small businesses spend more on their marketing than almost any other activity. Often, though, for all the money that they invest in their marketing, they are unable to evaluate the effectiveness of their investment. Small businesses end up throwing money at marketing methods with no way of knowing if they get an adequate return on their investment. Big Data can help them here. Big Data software is able to parse the sales and marketing information that small businesses have and put out accessible interpretations that can be used to make effective marketing choices.

How do you identify the best Big Data tools for your needs?

Big Data software vendors offer products for a wide variety of business type and size. While some come with the ability to analyze data from dozens of sources, others specialize in analyzing data in only one or two niches. You need to pick a product that offers you the kind of insight that you need. Here are a few examples of popular Big Data software tools.

Qualtrics helps businesses conduct surveys. It polls website visitors for their opinions by putting up pop-ups with survey requests.

Canopy Labs is able to access your account on MailChimp, Constant Contact and other marketing services, download your information and analyze your marketing and sales numbers to offer predictions. For instance, if you have a number of regular customers and also occasional customers, this Big Data tool can present you with information on the outcomes that you can expect applying your marketing budget mainly on one or the other kind of shopper. This tool is free for very small businesses with under 5000 customers.

InsightSquared is a tool that plugs into your CRM database, QuickBooks, Google Analytics and other data sources to produce marketing cycle reports and sales forecasts.

Radius is a Big Data software tool that helps businesses with their lead generation efforts. It is able to help sales representatives identify the most current and promising leads by tapping into thousands of data sources.

You need to learn how to deploy Big Data tools in your specific business

Often, when small businesses do employ Big Data tools, they don’t grant every employee access to the ideas and results that they obtain. They end up restricting access to the marketing department, for instance.

It’s a much better idea, though, to allow free access to as many employees as possible. Sales representatives who have access to Big Data insights can study sales trends and use it to create more leads, for instance.

In conclusion…

Most small business owners already use a powerful Big Data tool – Google Analytics. No small business owner should ever consider his business too small to take profitable advantage of Big Data. In a difficult economy, they need every tool they can find to help them understand their business and their customers.

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