Do SMBs Hold the Big Data Advantage?

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For today's data-driven marketer, more advanced omnichannel campaigns have become standard. But, as companies begin to crave more data in an effort to gain deeper understanding of their customers, many are beginning to recognize that Big Data isn't about volume--it's about what's actionable. SMBs, however, are uniquely positioned to use data to develop closer customer relationships and obtain insights that bigger brands can't, as the explosion of cloud-based technologies has put these companies on equal footing with their larger counterparts.
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For today's data-driven marketer, more advanced omnichannel campaigns have become standard. But, as companies begin to crave more data in an effort to gain deeper understanding of their customers, many are beginning to recognize that Big Data isn't about volume--it's about what's actionable. SMBs, however, are uniquely positioned to use data to develop closer customer relationships and obtain insights that bigger brands can't, as the explosion of cloud-based technologies has put these companies on equal footing with their larger counterparts."Small businesses have access to the tools and talent that used to only be available to big companies," David A. Steinberg, CEO of Zeta Interactive, highlights. "Access to cloud-based data hosting and powerful, inexpensive analytics tools, as well as access to data and analytics professionals working as contractors domestically and overseas, have leveled the playing field. Small businesses are closer to their customers, making them uniquely positioned to integrate Big Data insights into their business operations."

Because of these emerging technologies, SMBs can avoid struggling beneath the weight of abundant data by establishing which data elements are the most valuable and actionable with regard to the brand's bottom line, thereby preventing marketers from drowning in data. Though analyzing raw data can be extreme, data mining for the sake of data mining remains pointless. Instead, marketers must understand what the company would do with specific information to determine the most efficient way to gather, store, use, and measure its impact. Planning ahead will help marketers identify what they want to achieve and obtain the information needed to accomplish such goals.

Steinberg notes that, in this quest for 'enough' data, most of the primary obstacles stem from the absence of an overall methodology for capturing data, the lack of understanding how to best warehouse data, and nonexistent plans for using the information to improve business operations. SMBs that create their own Big Data Plan, however, are on the right course for determining how and where to capture data, including the value proposition to their customers.

For those who aren't sure which data elements are the most value, Steinberg suggests SMB leaders solve one conundrum: "If I know X, then I could improve my business by Y percent." By figuring out how to get X--either by asking questions or observing behaviors--companies can seamlessly guide the Big Data Plan to the next level. Of course, there's no single SMB strategy, as success remains contingent on tactics that pertain to the industry at hand. But those companies that narrow their data analysis and bring insights to action with care have the power to combine their backend strategies with their frontline relationships in ways that larger companies have yet to master.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION