Many businesses will now be familiar with the term Big Data. It sounds like something out of Blade Runner or Star Trek and for many organisations it is seen as just another headache to deal with, along with cyber security, doing tax digital and auto enrolment.
However, data - or more accurately what you do with data - is something that will underpin your business.
Below is a diagram that shows some of the data sources that most organisations will now have to deal with.
Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). This is your database of clients and contacts. Is it in a neat Excel spreadsheet, a shared folder on your devices or is it just a clump of old business cards at the back of a drawer?
Data Security. With data breaches happening on almost a daily basis and causing real headaches for businesses large and small, it is critical that you keep your data secure. And it'll be even more critical once GDPR (more on this later) comes in next year.
Competitor Analysis. It is now simple to keep tabs on what your competitors are doing, particularly online. Every organisation has a digital footprint which can be monitored. The question is whether you are looking in the right places.
Brand Monitoring. At the same time, it is important that you are monitoring your own brand to see what your customers, competitors and the press are saying about you. There is a vast array of software available from free to thousands of pounds per month to do this.
Hashtags. On Twitter, these are conversations that can be tracked to give you insight about events and conferences. Whilst on Instagram, it is possible to search for specific topics. Tracking hashtags should be a day-to-day part of your strategy.
Google Analytics. If your website is your key marketing tool then the analytics will give you a breakdown of just how well it - and indeed all your marketing - is performing. Check it daily if needs be!
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This piece of legislation is coming in next May and has big implications for how all organisations use data. If you don't know what exactly this means, then you have just over 6 months to get up-to-speed. Check out this resource for a basic overview.
Facebook Insights. As with Google Analytics, it is imperative that you check the performance of your Facebook Page, and indeed all your over social media sites. This will enable you to see whether you are meeting your original objectives.
Research & Development. In order to innovate, meet the needs of tomorrow's customers and keep creating new products, it is vital to listen and analyse trends. Large brands will be spending millions analysing data from social media to aid their R&D divisions.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator. There was a key reason why Microsoft bought LinkedIn. They wanted the huge amount of data contained within the site. Using paid-for LinkedIn products like Navigator, Careers Pages and Marketing Solitions, it is possible to use this data for your own business.