If you think Big Data is only for big enterprises, then you’re sadly mistaken. Big Data might be more accessible, more crucial and more intrinsic to big businesses, but SMEs can’t let the Big Data boom pass them by. Big Data is a throw away term now, and is slighting enigmatic, a phrase that heads advertisements as something to sell, but it’s not as simple as that. The worst thing as the owner of an SME is panic you’re being left behind and invest all of your money into big data without knowing where it can take you, or if you even need it…
If you’re a B2C customer there’s no doubt that data can increase your marketing direction and home in on precise demographics and their sentiment of your products or brand. But do you need to buy big data, or do you simply need to mine and refine it from the sources and tools you’re already using? The latter is not only more cost effective, but a lot more efficient and workable within an SME environment. Have you considered that even if your small or medium business and can afford to spend money purchasing big data, there will be the knock on effects of mass storage, man hours, and professional outsourcing you may require at a hefty cost? Okay so great you can afford to buy it, but you can’t store it, access it, decipher it or use it to increase on ROIs.
So what do you do then? Well, looking inwards and taking all the necessary internal measures is a great place to start before branching outwards and spending. Here our 3 top tips to do before moving outward…
Assess the Need
There is no reason for you to go in blind like a bull in a china shop on the rampage for all of the data you can get your hands on. You need to put in place a full audit of what data you NEED and WHY you need it. A.k.a. why would the ages/locations/gender of your users be crucial to your business. Well, for a start it’s only a beneficial attribute to understand the specifics and needs of your users, but the real question is, why do you need big data for this and how can big data achieve this at the lowest possible cost?
The need for big data needs to outweigh the costs that it will incur and needs to be understood in the larger context of the business’ priorities and demands.
2. Learn to use what’s there
Big data infiltrates our lives whether we like it or not. It’s at every touch of every button and it in the clouds and warehouses. There’s no doubt then, that the software you’re already using daily will hold data, you just need to learn how to capture and interpret it for your own advantage. If you’re a beginner why not try using tools such as Google Analytics to look at your online presence and long term trends to make the relevant improvements to your business.
If you’re already doing this with the data you capture from your online users from either your website or social media accounts, why not look at historic data and new ways of exploiting it? This will require some investment, but will see you reap in benefits further along the line.
If you’ve previously used archaic data input methods, pre-digital boom, don’t fear that this data is lost or useless, there are ways to save it and bring it back to life. Products such as biology eln by IDBS are designed to replace all of your previous paper heavy environments with one simple manageable data system. It’s an ideal starting point for SMEs to transer important physical data to the digital world as it supports all existing templates and documents.
3. Think Outside the Box
Once you’ve acquired, stored and filtered the data, next you need to know which ways to use it. There is an infinite number of different routes data can take you, and this can be either a blessing or a curse depending on how you manage it. The most crucial thing to do is to check what your competitors are doing and who they’re targeting with their data. Next, take it to the next level… get one over them and consider what leads they’re missing out on, as remember what they’re not doing is just integral to what they are. Is there a missing link that you can fill with new information about your audiences, perhaps work in some different factors besides the obvious demographics of age, gender and geography. Think about fine-tuning and micro analysing data, looking into specific key areas and attributes such as seasons, dates, times etc. Whilst these might mean very little on their own, considered alongside other specifics these new insights might just give you the missing pieces needed to refine your remarketing strategies.
Don’t let your SME get overwhelmed by Big Data then, take this three initial steps and you’ll see your data evolve and come to fruition leading to a more strategic and logical research and development process.