Big Data Analytics For Small Businesses and Non-Profits: Increase Your ROI By Working Through the ‘Noise’

When you’re the head of a small business the bottom line is always the same: you always want to see a profitable return on investment (ROI). The easiest way to do this is to increase your flow of customers and many small businesses and non-profits are beginning to use big data analytics in order to create that larger flow.

The Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington has been able to increase their online ticket sales by seven hundred percent, with an additional increase of twenty-five percent by the end of the year. The History Colorado Center in Denver was able to deliver a better museum experience by tailoring to their audience, of which analytics revealed more than forty percent as families.

These are just some of the stories that IBM has helped to create with their big data analytics program, which is helping small businesses and non-profits with smaller budgets flourish by creating programs that focus on individuals. By sifting through all of the minute details of customers, such as gender, age, groupings, time of day, etc., IBM is able to report to what factors should be used to increase ROI. This allows businesses to create better advertising and programs, like promotions and discounts, that are more focused to better reach an audience that will use them.

Ed Abrams, the VP of IBM Midmarket Business, explains a bit about how big data analytics works. “IBM’s analytics help businesses understand what data they should be looking at, and what is ‘noise’. By working closely with them and listening to what specific challenges they are facing, we then go and architect the solution based on the business needs.” Using this data can be a bit daunting, but luckily if you’re a bit stumped on where to start, IBM and their business partner, Brightstar Partners, can “offer solutions for companies to help create guest segmentation strategies, creation of marketing materials, eCommerce strategy, social media strategy, etc.”

The earlier examples seem to be geared toward a specific “attraction” type of business, but Abrams assures me that it is not the case. Analytics can be used for “stadiums, ski resorts, small retailers, local food growers, etc,” and IBM is partnered with more than five hundred thousand small businesses, in one hundred and seventy different countries, providing tools to better help them grow and manage their businesses.

Using analytics solutions such as those offered by IBM, small businesses and non-profits can really hope to find marketing strategies to increase business. While it would be far fetched to hope for results like these for every business, especially in a recession, it is for that reason that every extra dollar your business can make counts.


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Dimitri Jordan

Dimitri Jordan is a student working on a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology and a second in Ancient Studies. He is also a freelance writer, often concerned with concepts in technology and media.

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