AdAge defines big data as “relatively large amounts of structured and unstructured data that require machine-based systems and technologies in order to be fully analyzed.” Yet, while loads has been written about the merits of big data, the challenges of getting the proper analytics in place (including vendor selection, confidence in data sources, hiring qualified data scientists) and the immense time and energy commitment can throw up huge roadblocks to gaining actionable insights.
As a marketer, don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed. Small data, which I define as data you already own and is easily accessible, like website traffic analyzed through Google Analytics, has underexplored advantages that if given proper attention can enable you to make small changes in your marketing campaigns that can have big impact. Starting here can help you analyze what information you truly need to get in the future.
Three Reasons to Focus on Small Data
1. The first of small data’s underappreciated advantages is the simple fact that a company can already derive actionable insights from this level of data. There’s no big third-party integration and dozens of engineering man-hours required. The data is already waiting to be pulled and read.
2. Furthermore, these data points will be solely focused on the areas you care about, rather than a massive system of infinite data that can be sliced and diced in a million ways but does not offer actionable insights.
3. Lastly, your data is free! Instead of shelling out tens of thousands for machine-based systems to analyze your data, you can get your own data with a little know-how and a bit of time. Impressions, unique page views, purchase history—these are direct lines to your customers. Even if you don’t know how to analyze the information at the moment, it is easy to learn and you likely have folks on your team who do know how.
Tip: If you are unsure about where to get this type of information, check in with the people who manage analytics or insights for your company and ask what current initiatives they are looking at. A few easy places to start include site metric analysis via tools like Google Analytics and using SQL to pull data from your company logs.
Sold yet? Now that you are committed to analyzing your small data, here are three ways to immediately have a big marketing impact with your small data:
1. Figure out where your quality customers come from so you can increase your marketing investment (financial and human capital) accordingly. Analyze your logs that ask where customers heard about you, leverage tracking links to find out how people got to your site, and be sure to stitch site visits together with purchase history to ensure you are focusing on the customers who really matter. This is the first step in becoming what we at Skimlinks like to call the marketing funnel master, the one who has a pulse on who arrives at your site, how that person accessed your site, and the levers you can pull to address drop-offs on the way to purchase.
2. Use captured data to personalize your marketing campaigns to your current customers. If you are in e-commerce, invest in customized product recommendations. If you are a B-to-B company, provide guidance on how to succeed in the relevant vertical to the customer. You will earn their ongoing trust as a market leader and, as a result, will see high levels of engagement with your current and future products.
3. Guide your company’s product marketing based on product usage data. Figuring out how usage (or purchases) of your products differs according to demographics lets you tailor the messages you distribute to different groups to maximize success. Marketing at its core is a simple profession: Find the groups of people interested in your product and tout the benefits (as opposed to the features) that appeal to each respective group. Another potentially game-changing perk of analyzing product usage data is that it generates great feedback for your product and engineering teams, which can lead them to build even more desired products.
The next time you’re thinking about trying to make significant improvements to your company’s bottom line, don’t forget that small data and small changes can make a big world of difference.
Link to original article – http://www.forbes.com/sites/gyro/2013/03/05/dont-worry-about-big-data-sweat-the-small-stuff/