Honey I Shrunk the Data!

(c) Walt Disney Pictures

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So I am really showing my age with this post title, but the point made at yesterday’s Marketing Technology Summit (#MarketingTechAZ on Twitter) was that “Big data needs to be made small.”  And that’s all fine and good for the companies attending and presenting, most of which are 50+ employees.  But what about the smaller-small businesses with less than 50 employees and the microbusinesses with 1-10 . . . How can they apply the principles of “Big Data” and do marketing right?  How do we as marketing-savvy small businesses shrink the data (and task of herding the data)? Here are my uber-simplistic recommendations adapted for the smaller SMB market based on what I heard:

1. Google Analytics is of course at the top of the list, even with the enterprise.  Of course, the big guys can afford agencies (like the Lifelock-Elevation relationship) and even in-house marketing analysts to sift through and find/interpret the metrics that matter.  Conversions are the most important . . . Kevin Myers (my hero) urged everyone to look at “convertable events.”  You may already have forms and offers  for content so explore what is happening there. And if you don’t have such content, especially if you are in the B2B space (as most of my clients are), start by dedicating some strategic thinking to how you will drive conversions with content marketing. Then, measure, measure, measure.  (Need more details? See 10 Top Tips for Using Google Analytics.) Kevin also says “Focus on one data element;” great advice to shrink the overwhelm as well as the data.

2. While there is the “creepiness factor” around prospect interactions based on Big Data, I think small businesses are better positioned to build relationships based on publicly available information. It is always an individual comfort-level choice, but conversations can always be prefaced with “I noticed on {social media channel} that you like {whatever}.”  Refresh was the app mentioned, although for a low-tech, targeted approach, you can find the individuals’ profiles and just read ’em. Although expressed in a different context, Insight CIO Mike Guggemos has it right: “It’s relationships. Either they trust you or they don’t.” Small business owners and solopreneurs build relationships by caring . . . and being curious enough to know your prospects and customers is an expression of caring.   And an important part of marketing, genius Aaron Stead reminded us, is to answer the question “How does your organization display care?”

3. It sounds so basic and yet can be so elusive . . . “Use information about customers to win, serve, and retain customers,” advises Forrester’s Laura Ramos. The enterprise, of course, has mounds of data at any given stage in the buyer’s journey (aka funnel) plus marketing research budgets so they can effectively “see” trends in sales and buying cycles and the triggers involved. For small businesses, we might have grassroots and anecdotal data instead.  Our collection methods may be less sophisticated (as well as our tools) BUT we can still excel in this area.  If you haven’t already been hyper-focused on observing and being curious about prospect and customer behaviors and relations, now is the time to start–and start documenting, whether it’s in your CRM or a crude spreadsheet.   Data collection efforts might include any or all of the following: a facilitated brainstorming session with those closest to the prospects/customers, interviews with those employees, modifying and/or mining the CRM system for key indicators, developing buyer persona and exploring existing touchpoints’ effectiveness on their journeys . . .  there are many more possibilities here; what have I missed?

Of course, if you get stuck, you know where to find us . . . even though TDA doesn’t specialize in all these areas, we can help put you in touch with the expertise you need to “do it right.” And if you ARE a specialist, please connect with Tracy so you can be on our referral (or partner) radar!   (Be sure to mention the blog post and how you help small businesses achieve greatness.)


Image (c) Walt Disney Pictures

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