There is a staggering amount of data created daily by the various electronic interactions between businesses and their customers. In fact, IBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data is created every single day. That’s 2.5 billion billion bytes of data. With so much data out there, it’s no surprise that about 93% of executives in the U.S. and Canada believe they aren’t leveraging the information available to them as well as they should, according to a study released by Oracle in July.
Every business owner knows that more information is available than ever before, but many still assume that in-depth data analytics is a tool only relevant to large companies. That’s an assumption that may be costing small business owners significant revenue.
The term “Big Data” seems to go hand-in-hand with big businesses, but IBM vice president of enterprise marketing management, Yuchun Lee, argues that this is not necessarily the case. Lee says that any business with an online presence stands to benefit from data analytics, and that “Where there’s traffic online, there’s opportunity for Big Data.”
Regardless of a business’ size, Big Data can help pinpoint inefficiencies and anticipate the future. For example, the greatest value of social media to business owners may not be direct interaction with their customers, but rather analysis of those interactions as a means of anticipating potential crises or uncovering evolving needs. Ryan Hollenbeck, senior vice president of marketing at analytics company Verint Systems, says of this value “The conversation and dialogue that takes place on social media may very well translate into a tremendous potential focus group.”
Because analytics software is more accessible than ever, so is Big Data. Instantaneous connections between businesses and current or potential customers are happening constantly, but much of that data goes uncollected. Key Info director of marketing Pete Elliot sees an increasing demand for data collection and analysis. He predicts that cloud-based analysis applications will be available for only $1,000 in the near future.
That would certainly make it even easier for small businesses to access the same Big Data metrics that large corporations do. The key, says Elliot, is to “make [data analysis] as simple as possible–start small, test, and expand your efforts.”
McKee, Steve. “Big Data Can Make a Big Difference in Marketing.” Bloomberg Businessweek, 9/14/12.