We often think of data as the not-so-secret weapon of big brands, slowly replacing intuition and traditional market research with extensive A/B testing that means every tiny detail has been optimised to reap the greatest rewards.
But what options are available to the small businesses and start-ups that don’t have access to the huge amounts of data filling servers around the world?
Matthew Falla has been producing data-driven content and business intelligence tools since Signal Noise was launched in 2010, around the time Big Data started to come into its own.
For a short-term fix, says Falla, take advantage of a growing industry of data wholesalers, who aggregate the latest metrics on a huge range of criteria just waiting to be cherry-picked.
A longer-term solution is to start collecting your own data, to provide a richer, more nuanced picture of your consumer base.
Falla cites Bibendum, a wine distributor that created Plonk, a consumer-facing app to better understand what people are drinking.
‘In the traditional sense that wouldn’t be big data, but it was big enough for them,’ says Falla. ‘As a starting point it’s a good idea to work out the data you need, understand what you want to know and then come up with creative ways of opening that up to consumers.’