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Perhaps the better question is, how can big data help your business? Whether you’re a fresh-faced startup or an established corporation, you’re bound to utilize plenty of data for customer acquisition, development planning, and product development and marketing. Here are a few ways that you can utilize big data to add depth to your business operations

Expand Social Media Marketing

As social media continues to rise in popularity, and with over half of Americans citing social media as a helpful customer service tool, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of digital marketing. Specifically, social media has become a method of expanding marketing and communications capabilities for businesses big and small. Tracking software has become popular alongside business social media, allowing market researchers and data analysts to see where, when, and how their business or product is mentioned. Creating social profiles and using this software can help businesses tailor posts to fit the needs and expectations of their customers.

Monitor Communications

Who is your target audience? It may be middle-aged white rural men in southern Idaho, or perhaps energetic children ages five to seven in urban areas. Whatever the case may be, you likely are drawing in individuals from outside of that target audience. Businesses can use big data to understand the demographics of customers who interact via social media, email, and telephone. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems have found their footing with big data, and when used in tandem can provide helpful databases and other resources for storage and analysis of data.

Evaluate Opportunities and Threats

One huge benefit of big data is the ease of predictive analytics, or techniques that explore future events. By drawing from the web and honing in on pieces covering your business, your industry, or your market, you can utilize big data further to identify opportunities and threats. This is much faster and simpler than flipping through a newspaper or searching the web, and the system can be refined to bring you the clearest, most relevant information possible. This analysis reveals not only environmental threats, but also opportunities to expand into new revenue streams.

Provide Competitive Advantage

Ivey Business Journal cites big data as “the new competitive advantage,” and for good reason—big data is one of the fastest ways to gauge various elements of the market. From how a product is utilized to whether a marketing campaign is a hit or miss, big data provides businesses with valuable insight into public perception. Mining social media using big data can inform businesses about why customers are turning to a competitor’s product, or why they came to your business in the first place. Such information is crucial in gathering and retaining customers as well as improving business operations to maximize revenue.