When some people think of Big Data, they often think of terabytes of data that only the largest enterprises can leverage to build insights and gain competitive advantage. Local business owners as a whole have not participated in the Big Data revolution because most have simply concluded the technology of working with Big Data was too difficult, too expensive and just plain intimidating, and that Big Data is strictly for the realm of large corporations with advanced technology know-how and deep pockets. The truth is Big Data is not only about the sheer volume of the data, but it’s also about new ways to integrate multiple data sources with completely different and unstructured datasets and to correlate data in unique ways to provide an organization with a 360 degree view of their customers.
If you are a local business owner, whether you realized it or not, the information world is changing rapidly around us. It is no secret that there has been an explosive growth of digital data in just the last several years. According to IDC, the world produced more than one zettabyte (1,000,000,000,000 gigabytes) of data for the first time in 2010. A study by IBM concluded that more than 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past two years alone. Fueling this data explosion are over 5 billion mobile devices, and on any given day there are almost 3 billion Google searches, 1 billion Facebook updates, 500 million tweets, 300 billion sent emails, and 70,000 hours worth of video uploaded to YouTube. All this data for just a single day!
Like the customers of larger corporations, customers and potential customers of local businesses are also the same Google searchers, Facebook updaters, Twitter posters, email recipients, and blog readers. Local businesses need a deeper understanding of their customers; they need to know what makes their customers tick—just like franchisors big and small do. Consumer behaviors evolve, and technology is changing the relationships between businesses and their customers, whether you are multi-national or local.
Despite the obvious motivation to leverage data, many small businesses still hesitate to jump in with both feet. A recent Nielsen poll of 2,000 small businesses in the U.S. found that 41 percent of small businesses think conducting market research is too costly, and 42 percent say they just don’t have the time. And even more surprisingly, 35 percent went so far as to say they’ve never even considered it, most likely because they don’t even know how to get started. Another survey found that 70 percent of companies are overwhelmed by the amount of data generated in their daily operations and only 25 percent of businesses had a plan to deal with big data.
The fact is data is fast becoming the one technological advantage that differentiates winners and losers in the large corporate world. This trend will also be relevant for local businesses. Going forward, the companies, big or small, that have the best data strategy will succeed. It matters not the industry or size, and the companies that understand precisely what their customer wants, what they don't want, how they want it and when they want it, will be the ultimate winners.
The good news for local business owners is that there are solutions specifically designed for them to benefit from the data revolution. They can track customer behavior on their websites, measure social engagement, optimize email campaigns, and provide personalized offers, all from a single platform and without the need for an army of analysts. Large competitors no longer have the advantage of size. Every organization has a need for data and the insights provided by that data. It’s even more important when it comes to the challenge of identifying your most valuable consumers. When you have the right data, collected, integrated, combined, aggregated, analyzed and presented intuitively by a simple to use platform, the challenge of finding your most valuable customers and creating products, services and experiences that matter to those customers becomes so much easier.
SimplyEngage is paving the way for a future where local businesses can do this just as well as the biggest and most sophisticated multi-nationals.