How Businesses Use Big Data To Gain Competitive Advantage

Big Data is a concept that’s been around for years, but thanks to the advances in computing, social networks, and mobile communications, it’s been taken to all new levels. And with these new advances come new tools for businesses to increase their customer base and sales. Those companies that refuse to embrace the new ideas will become old news.

Here’s how businesses can use Big Data to gain an advantage over their competitors. Businesses can turn up their noses if they want to, but their competitors most likely won’t.

Big Data can help your business stand tall and be seen

Big Data Defined

Big Data is the vast amount of information brought together from many sources, everything from old school media to the latest web-based tools, and made available in both structured and unstructured forms. And it’s not only the quantity that’s classified as big, but the increase in both speed and ease of access of said information. Big Data features, but is certainly not limited to current trends, Internet traffic, popular searches, geographic information, buying patterns, and demographics.

Got it? Now on to some ways to use that information to put yourself at the front of the pack.

Social Media

Whether it’s Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter, or another of the myriad ways to socialize, it seems like the entire world is connected in some way via social media. Unfortunately, other savvy businesses realize this as well, and they are clamoring for those eyeballs, those visits, and those dollars. If you don’t reach your target audience, you will be wasting your time and probably also get lost in the crowd.

Fortunately, Big Data culled from social media helps you focus on your potential customer base, including what interests them, how they prefer to be reached, and what brings them back. If you conduct campaigns via social media, you can see how successful you are, and see which things you call out generate the most buzz.

How Businesses Use Big Data To Gain Competitive Advantage

User Profiles

Your marketing department can collect histories of a large sampling of Web users and monitor their behavior and habits. Using data such as web-search histories and spending habits, you can put together user profiles, which in turn help serve as guideposts to what sort of campaigns you should launch, when you should do it, and who you should target. It’s like the principle of not working harder, but rather working smarter.

User profiles are also useful in working with niche marketing. If anything, it makes the strategy easier to accomplish.

Keyword Tool

Keywords are great ways to get your business noticed in web searches, but overloading your site with keywords will actually work against you thanks to measures such as Google’s search algorithm updates that punish excessive keyword use.

Fortunately, Google Keyword Tool Box helps you exploit the power of Big Data by letting you test and find the best keywords your business’ website. You just type in a keyword and end up with a list of comparable words, and a count for how often they’re searched. If you have AdWords, then Keyword Tool is even more helpful, as it lets you test which words you should be bid for in search page ad placement.

But How To Make Sense Of It All?

With this over-abundance of information, how can you actually practically put it to good use? When you get right down to it, you have two options.

The first one, brace yourself, is trying to wade through this sea of Big Data in-house. Get yourself a data processing platform like Hadoop, roll up your sleeves, and give it your best shot.

Otherwise, there’s always engaging the services of a company that specializes in making sense of Big Data and presenting it in a useful format. And this is something that’s becoming increasingly popular. “Demand for quicker access to multiple integrated sources of data continues to rise. Customers want immediate access to data stored in a variety of systems – such as mainframes, data warehouses, and data marts to mine for business intelligence that drives competitive advantage,” said Bryan Ashley, Vice President Business Development, Data Integration Business, Syncsort.

No matter which route you take, it will be an investment. But considering how hot of a concept Big Data is these days, can you really afford to not take advantage of it? Big Data helps you work smarter, and offers the potential of a lucrative return.