Data, Marketing-Strategy, & The Small Business

We love data
December 25, 2018

Data, Marketing-Strategy, & The Small Business

Ask any seasoned marketer, and they will tell you that data is extremely important to the success of their job. Data helps marketers improve conversions, increase customer satisfaction, create targeted advertising campaigns, analyze the market for brand awareness, repositioning efforts, design product development as well as a host of other things. We’ll stop there and leave it at data is super important to marketing.

Not everyone in the business community is sold on the importance of data though, and the holdouts are probably the ones that need to use data the most.
I'm talking about small business owners. We made this post for the small businesses, in the hopes that we can convince other small business owners and entrepeneurs to rethink what they know about data, what they know about marketing when they have none, and what copying someone else's data can mean for their marketing strategy.


First things First...

We need to clarify what we mean by small business, because there seems to be some confusion in the business community on what "small" means... When we say small business, we define small as anywhere between 1 freelancer working for themself, all the way up to a 9 employee operation. We take a position similar to these contributors over at Forbes:

In ordinary conversations, if you ask someone to describe a small business, they paint a picture that includes that lovely couple who run the corner store, perhaps, or the freelance web designer working from the live/work loft space in the newly fashionable part of town. Maybe the furniture-finishing workshop, with their half-dozen artisans and beautiful craftsmanship. Or the farmer operating with the help of dedicated family members...

We do not mean small business as the small business administration ( defines it, which says small business is "any company with less than 500 employees or less than $7 million in annual sales."

That is not a good definition for small in our book.

So what gives? Whats with the strange definition of small business? Why are small businesses so... big?
Well we don't really know. Through our research, we discovered that being considered a small business is beneficial from a taxation point of view, which might partially contribute to why everyone wants to be considered a small business. One thing we do know, or at least what we learned during our research for this post, is that this is not a new problem. It seems like it has always been notoriously difficult to define the term small in small business.
NPR did an amazing piece on this back in 2013 that helps shed some more light on this situation.
Check it out, we created a thing
This demonstrates what we mean by small business.

So why does this matter anyway?

What does the size of your business have to do with data & marketing? Well the size of your business is a good indicator of how much data you are able to collect, to store, and to use in your marketing efforts. The smaller the business size, the less likely you are to be capable of using research intensive marketing tactics and strategies the big guys use. Big data collection, big data storage, and big data manipulation are all great, if you can afford them.

From a strategic marketing perspective, the difference between what a small business and a big business are capable of handling might be... well BIG

Lets take a look! Below you will find a comparison between the marketing efforts of your Small Business Ma' & Pa' VS a Nationwide Big Box Chain.


Developing your own strategy with data...

As you can see, there is quite a big difference between a 4 person operation and a 400 person operation. Although it of the most common ways many small businesses adopt new strategy is through mimicry. They look at large, successful competitors in their industry and copy whatever it is that they're doing. Sounds like reasonable strategy right– do what other successful businesses are doing and you will find success yourself?
But, simply copying and pasting a competitors strategy wholesale without eventually taking into consideration the critical differences between your businesses, can quickly put you on to a road to failure.

If you find yourself committing this tactical faux pas, take note of some important differences between small & large business operations:
1. Different Goals
2. Strategy Changes With Scale
Bigger companies tend to have bigger marketing budgets. With bigger budgets they measure volume & quantity in much different ways than a small business would.
3. Strategy Is What Differentiates You From Your Competitors

Big Business Problems...

Big businesses might have a lot of resources to invest into the latest and greatest marketing methods and tactics, but they are not immune to struggles of their own. Being at the forefront of technology means they are the destined to be the first to encounter problems. Understanding what challenges the big boys are facing might help smaller business prepare for what lies ahead. Here is what some Big Businesses are saying are their biggest challenges of 2019:

      1. Data Overload!

      According Researcher IDC predicts the size of the global datasphere will be 163 zettabytes (ZB) in 2025, up from 16 ZB in 2016.

      2. Its So Hard To Find Good Help These Days

      With the exponential rise of data, a huge demand for big data scientists and Big Data analysts has been created in the market. Many large businesses have begun to complain that there is a market shortage of professionals who are able to understand big data analysis.

      3. Gaps In The Infrastructure

      In addition to finding qualified analysts to interpret the data, many organizations complain that once meaningful data has been found, they do not have the appropriate infrastructure in place to ensure the relevant department has access to this information.
      4. Security & Privacy Issues

      Data security has been a concern that tops the list of big businesses for some time now. As big businesses learn and develop their strategies in storing, accessing, transferring, analyzing their large amounts of data, many have expressed concern when it comes to the privacy and the security of the data.

      5. Deterioration of Public Trust.

      The technology industry is facing a continued deterioration of public perception and trust as consumers gain a broader understanding of the monetization models of tech giants. The issues only seem to worsen as some of the Biggest businesses in the tech industry continue to commit privacy violations and security incidents which continue to top major headlines.


Main Take Aways

  • Data is super important to a quality marketing strategy. If you're ever in doubt about how to improve your marketing, use data!
  • Small business might not have all the resources big companies do, but that doesn't mean they are doomed, use high quality strategy to stay a step ahead of the rest. DONT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF STRATEGIZING TO COPY !
  • Big businesses have problems too. Too much data and too few good employees are problems that will challenge business both big and small until the end of time!
Still Having Trouble Coming Up With Your Own Marketing Strategy?
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Or if you'd like to add to continue the conversation here, leave a comment below!

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