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We’ve all heard the term ‘big data’ but how does it apply to our rural business?
In this blog post I share with you what you need to know about big data along with 3 ways that big data can help you build a stronger rural business.
What is big data?
Big data is exactly as the words imply; a large volume of data that pass through a business daily. Doug Laney divides big data into 3 components: volume, velocity and variety.
Businesses garner a large amount of data from a variety of sources, such as business transactions, social media posts and feedback from marketing campaigns.
This data is often fast-paced and presented in a variety of formats such as images, video, email, text, audio or spreadsheets.
Rural business owners can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of big data!But data-driven decisions are often the best. There are no guessing games; decisions are based on clear facts. Click To Tweet
Rob Thomas, General Manager of IBM Analytics at IBM, reminds us that it’s not about how you manage data as much as it is about how you get outcomes out of data.
You can read more about what big data is here. In the meantime, let me let you in on a little secret…big data is your best friend.
Get Customer Behaviour Insights
Social media and technology has changed the way rural businesses learn about their customers. Beacons, for instance, can be installed in stores to collect data to learn about the most popular path customers’ take in the store. A beacon is a tiny device that constantly sends out radio signals to nearby smartphones. Mobile apps can tune into signals being broadcast and, when they hear a relevant signal, can trigger an action on your phone. This is when you receive a ‘push message’ that tells you to BUY the Angus Beef Burger that you can smell from your Toyota Hilux! Data collected on spending habits can uncover exciting customer insights that can be applied to future marketing campaigns. This information can also help you adjust your products and services to meet the diverse needs of your rural customer. Processing unstructured data from brand sentiment and social media channels can be expensive but it can also pay dividends in the way of getting a better understanding for your customer purchasing patterns and preferences.
Improve customer experience
Big data enables you to improve the customer experience. It is consistently available in real-time. You can, for instance, get direct feedback from customers about what they like and dislike about your product. Data feedback can come from a variety of channels. Some examples include online surveys, Facebook comments, Instagram or Twitter Direct Message or LinkedIn messages. The key is to identify sources for feedback, assess what the data is telling you and act quickly. Don’t let the data just sit there. Analyze it and use it to improve the customer experience.
Detect Fraudulent Behaviour
Keeping tabs on your digital and financial networks will ensure that your fraud antenna is on high alert. This is a REAL issue, and rural businesses can’t afford to ignore it. Keeping tabs on data will ensure you or your accounts officer can identify any discrepancies with the data that is available to the business. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) consistently reports on global incidents of fraud which makes for some interesting reading! In 2014 they reported a median loss of 5% of revenues by companies. Don’t be a part of this group. Use your data wisely to stay out of trouble.
Big data plays an important role in rural business development. Data shouldn’t just sit on your social media dashboard, analytics program or folders, begging to be seen.
Data can help you uncover customer insights, identify better ways to connect with and serve customers, and improve the overall customer experience.
Pay attention to what the data is telling you and if you have to, get an expert on board to help guide you on how to best capture, track and analyze big data to take the right action.
Over to you! I’d love to hear your thoughts on the way you see Big Data impacting Australian rural businesses in 2017?