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Analysing big data key to strategies

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Digital technology can help businesses better understand and target their customers

Big data is a term that overwhelms businesses on an everyday basis.

It is often mistaken to simply mean a big volume of data, but it actually refers to the analysis of growing amounts of stored data.

After all, the amount of data is not what is important; it is what companies do with that data that counts.

Big data can be used to gather insights on customers, supply chain logistics, products and their usage, and can lead to better business decisions and strategic moves.

Opportunities to create efficiencies and savings through the smart use of data are seen across every industry.

Both the public and private sectors in Singapore are increasingly empowered by digital technology - especially with the Government speeding up the roll-out of its Smart Nation initiatives.

But what does that mean for businesses? And how can they make better use of the raw information that flows into their organisations every day?

In Singapore, the smartphone and technology penetration is among the highest in the world - which provides a wealth of data on an organisation's consumers.

Analysis of this data is no longer strictly the domain of large organisations.

Analysis of (big) data is no longer strictly the domain of large organisations.

Digital tools that analyse data have never before been as readily available, accessible - and more importantly - affordable to employ, ideal for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to better understand and target their customers.

Big data analytics is in many ways geared towards SMEs, as they are often more agile and can act quickly on the insights produced. Small businesses can tap into its capabilities and gain a competitive advantage in the market with only a small initial investment.

When big data is combined with high-powered analytics, companies can glean deeper insights into consumer behaviour.

This includes understanding which websites they frequent, social media channels they use, and even which buttons they click while on a website or mobile application.

As a result, effective and efficient digital marketing is becoming an increasingly important component for businesses across all industries, regardless of their size.

With traditional advertising, it can often be difficult to track impact and return on investment.

But data analytics help companies to make optimal ad buys across many different channels and better allocate their marketing budgets for the highest return on investments.

Big data, combined with machine learning algorithms, also give marketers the opportunity to personalise their offers to individual customers in real time.

So the first step is to research the technologies that help make the most of the data flowing into the organisation.

Smart marketers are now relying on data more than ever before to inform and test their strategies, as it helps them drive overall business objectives, understand their customers better and sustain the longevity of the business.

The writer is the head of sales for South-east Asia at marketing analytics firm DataXu.

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