The talent gap today has many companies scrambling to figure out how to hire, train, or create enough analytics professionals to meet growing demands. As a result, more and more businesses, both large and small, are beginning to utilize big data and associated analytics as a method to gain information, support their company, and serve their customers.
The term big data is nothing new. It refers to a high volume of data that requires a lot computing power to analyze. Typically, large corporations make use of big data to develop or improve their strategies, but you may have a lot more data in your business than you realize—an opportunity to start collecting more data that could truly help your company grow and be more profitable. But how can you use all the data you gather?
Big data is much more than just amassing a vast amount of data. Data can come in a number of forms—unstructured text, or signals such as sound, images, and video. Handling such data require tools beyond the solutions that traditional databases offer. While most of us aren’t actuaries, luckily, there are tools out there that can be used to sort and make sense of the data that can be collected.
Here are some methods for making better use of the data that you likely already have in your business:
Explore trends on Google. Google is one of—if not the largest occupants—of the big data space. Its free website analytics program, Google Analytics, has become a standard among small businesses to monitor web traffic levels. Use your dashboards within Google Analytics. There are predefined ways to present your data in context to help you identify what data to look at among all your data.
Keep tabs on social media. Monitor what people are saying about your brand, your competitor, and other activities related to your business. Professional tools like Adobe Marketing Cloud or free tools such as SocialMention.com can help you spot an opportunity to respond to your customers.
Use email marketing segmentation analysis. Segment your email list according to what your subscribers are interested in. This will help you tailor your email communications to subscribers. Additionally, some programs can even allow you to know what your recipients are interested in based on what they’ve opened, or what they’ve previously clicked on.
Have your website quantified. If you’re wondering who your audience or visitors are on your website traffic reports, big data can answer that. A free tool called Quantcast allows you to type in your website URL and see details about your visitors—from age, gender, income, education, down to the various things they could be interested in.
Retarget. The presence of cookies has led to a complete overhaul of how online advertising works. Adding retargeting to your mix could lift conversion rates for your online ad buys. Be careful not to overexpose your visitors to your ads as there’s a fine line between serving up highly relevant ads and being overtly intrusive.
Now that you can put your data in perspective, you can create new expectations for consistent quality and make better decisions for your growing business.