Is big data for little companies?

Big data has drastically transformed the business landscape in recent years. Companies have always collected data but not necessarily used it to it’s fullest potential. Rather than storing data in a folder or on a disk, never to be seen again, businesses can employ the big data approach and use this information as a way to gain valuable insight.

Big data involves the analysis of large sets of statistics, whether that be consumer information, revenue, advertising, footfall or ever social media. This data is collected and analysed in order to find patterns that would otherwise be difficult, if not impossible to recognise using standard methods. The information which is produced from big data can offer a wealth of benefits, including financial, promotional and organisational, just to name a few

The reason that big data has become so popular in recent years is because it is now much more affordable and easy to use thanks to the evolution of technology. However, there does seem to be a disconnect between this new type of analysis and smaller businesses. Many small to medium companies won’t even consider big data because they assume it’s suited to larger organisations and out of their reach, but this just isn’t the case.

It is true that larger amounts of data does facilitate more accurate results and this may seem to benefit larger companies but any amount of data can be useful. This is particularly true if the business in question hasn’t been analysing much or any data previously, which tends to be the case with smaller companies.

So why are so many smaller businesses failing to embrace big data? It’s likely that there is a number of factors behind this. Money is probably the main issue, with many smaller companies assuming that they wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of the equipment, software and personnel required to utilise this new technique.

Another problem is the assumption that utilising big data techniques would require a designated department or member of staff with the expertise to run it. The majority of small business owners employ a small number of staff and don’t have the budget in place to hire new employees, never mind a whole team of specialists.

The concept of big data itself can be quite intimidating and many business owners feel that they don’t have the full understanding in order to get the most value from this tool. Even if they are able to collect and analyse the data, there is a worry that they won’t be able to fully utilise the results in any meaningful way.

Although understandable and very common, these worries are often misconceptions and are holding companies back from embracing an invaluable tool. Thanks to the rise of another huge business trend- self service solutions, companies are no longer forced to modify their own infrastructure in order to utilise new techniques, they can simply outsource.

There are many online organisations that offer self service big data solutions, levelling the playing field for every company, no matter how large or small. These services not only help businesses to collect and analyse their own data, they also convert the raw data in to meaningful, simple to understand information. This information is incredibly useful and can be used to make informed decisions that will hopefully cut costs, streamline processes or attract new custom.

The best part of the self-service approach is that it doesn’t require new software, hardware or personnel and is therefore much more affordable, straightforward and infinitely more attractive to smaller businesses.

In the past, techniques such as big data may have been more accessible to larger, richer companies but thanks to the continual evolution of technology- this is no longer the case. Fortunately, the breaking down of technological barriers is helping to create a much more egalitarian business landscape.

In fact, it’s worth noting that there are advantages that smaller companies have over their larger competitors when it comes to big data. For example, they benefit from a much more flexible approach to change- meaning they can react to data in real time. Larger companies tend to be fixed and have many more moving parts- therefore modifications are complex and require more time.

It has never been a better time for smaller businesses to adopt a bigger approach to data.

So where do you start?  The choice is yours but one company we have worked with may be worth a call

Is it possible to Improve your productivity and save money at the same time?

All businesses, no matter how large or small aim to increase productivity. Improving overall efficiency can offer a wealth of benefits, including speeding up production, less down time and less waste. However, many companies worry about the cost of implementing these new procedures, whether it be through training, software or actual physical modification. Fortunately, there is a way to improve productivity as well as saving time and money.

Customer Relationship Management System

Customer Relationship Management or CRM is a system which aims to streamline the overall approach to customer information. Companies can utilise specialised software which collects all relevant consumer data, such as orders, feedback, marketing and contacts. Businesses are then able to access all relevant information at a single location, with additional tools such as analytics which allows users to process this data. Therefore, companies can use this information to spot trends, patterns and potential problems.

The use of a CRM system can lead to changes within the company and its approach to customer service, potentially boosting productivity. Also, by combining each section into a single outlet, you can connect employees within a single system and this also offers a potential for savings in time, money and effort.

Employee Performance

The overall effectiveness of a company’s employees is gauged through a number of processes, usually involving paperwork and manpower. Businesses can opt for a more efficient approach to appraisal through the use of a tailored online system. Employee information such as attendance, punctuality, goals and feedback can all be located within a single platform, saving time and effort.

Collecting all of this information into a single location increases visibility and makes it easier for business owners to judge productivity in real-time. Therefore, issues can be identified and remedied well before they become a larger problem.

This can also be beneficial to employees themselves as it offers a clear and simple outlook of their performance and information on objectives. Furthermore, companies can utilise this system as a way to motivate workers, as those who meet their targets can be rewarded or promoted.

Business Intelligence Platform

Business Intelligence Platforms collect large amounts of company data and then analyses this information in order to gain insight. This is actually a form of big data, a popular technique which is completely transforming the business landscape. The concept behind big data is that users can utilise tools to find meaningful patterns within large sets of data- that would otherwise seem random or insignificant to the human eye.

There seems to be a misconception that big data is best suited to larger companies but this isn’t the case. Any business, whatever the size will collect data, whether it be on costs, sales, promotions, employee performance and customer information. Therefore, any business can utilise tools such as a business intelligence platform as a way to make sense of this data.

What is particularly useful and efficient about employing a business intelligence platform is that it can do the work for you. As well as collecting and analysing company data in real-time, it can notify users with any pertinent issues which may arise from this information, e.g. an employee with poor performance, a product which is selling well or a decline in profits. It may require an initial investment but the benefits that it can provide in terms of productivity will create substantial savings in the long term.

Business Intelligence software can also help to automate many processes, such as data entry which means employees have more time for other tasks. There is also an added benefit of removing human error, reducing mistakes and ensuring a higher quality of data.

Even more impressive, these platforms can provide vital insight into how business owners can cut costs. By analysing large amounts of data on manufacturing and supply, companies can be alerted to ways in which they streamline their finances. Again proving that the initial investment will pay for itself, many times over.

So where do you start?  The choice is yours but one company we have worked with may be worth a call

Is Native Advertising Really Effective?

Native advertising is major trend within the marketing world at the moment but many people don’t actually know what it is. Although this new technique may not be very well known, it’s becoming much more prevalent and it’s likely most people have already seen a native advertisement when surfing the internet.

So what actually is native advertisement? It’s the name given to paid adverts which are created to mimic the content of the platform they are on. For example, a promoted video on Youtube, a paid ad in Google’s search results or a sponsored article on a news website. The whole concept behind native ads is that they “blend in” and are therefore more likely to be engaged with. To put them in to context with other marketing techniques, they’re a middle ground between banner ads and traditional content marketing.

Sponsored advertising can be found on a wide range of websites and platforms but it tends to be concentrated on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.) and major publishing platforms. Basically any online locations which attract a high level of content consumption.

There are specific benefits to native advertising which is why it has become so popular in recent years. As we’ve already mentioned, one of the main advantages to these types of ads is that they don’t look anything like standard advertisements. This is important as many people have become so accustomed to traditional banner ads that they don’t even see them anymore- it’s called “ad blindness”. Native advertisements look and act like content and even when consumers know that they are sponsored, they’re still more likely to engage with them.

There is empirical data to back up the idea that native advertising is more successful than traditional marketing. For example, the MMA report found that users were 40% more likely to interact with native ads with factors such as attention (3x more) and recall (2x more) also higher when compared with display adverts. Further research seems to corroborate these findings with a study from Sharethrough finding that consumers looked at native advertisements 53% more frequently than display ads.

As well as the initial engagement, native advertising also offers benefits in the way in which consumers interact with it. The use of sponsored content is much more likely to leave a lasting impact, with the brand being able to build a meaningful relationship with the user. With so much wariness around business in general in recent years, the ability to reach out to the consumer and create a connection is worth its weight in gold.

Another positive aspect of this technique is that consumers are much more likely to share these ads via social media, which is basically free advertising. This also opens the door for the possibility of “going viral” – when your ad is shared exponentially and reaches a massive audience. The likelihood of sponsored content being shared is dependent on many factors such as the platform it’s on, the title and the images used but the potential is definitely there.

Although it’s quite clear that there are many advantages to utilising native advertising, there are also some drawbacks. One of the obvious disadvantages is that native ads require content production and are therefore more resource heavy when compared with display ads.

Arguably the biggest problem with native advertising is the potential for backlash. More specially, consumers who feel like they have been “tricked” into engaging with a piece of content, only to find that it’s an advertisement. Sponsored content is always labelled as such but since the idea is to blend in with the platform, it’s not surprising that many users assume they are just looking at normal content. This has been reflected in research by CivicScience that found that 61% of respondents thought that sponsored content harmed the credibility of the publication in question and 54% don’t trust sponsored content. Considering one of the benefits of the native technique is being able to build a better relationship with consumers, these figures are worrying.

There is a possibility that native advertising is still too new for us to gauge the lasting impact it will have on the marketing world. There may be a novelty effect happening now and consumers will become just as exhausted with native ads as they have become with display ads. However, it is also possible the sponsored content marketing is the next big step in advertising and an invaluable tool for companies to interact with potential customers.


Advantages of Programmatic Advertising

As technology advances, there has been a trend towards human-free automation and this is affecting many different industries. Surprisingly even the marketing industry is feeling the impact of automation with the rise of programmatic advertising. In fact, according to Zenith there has been a rapid growth in recent years with programmatic ad spend skyrocketing from $4bn in 2012- to a whopping £39bn in 2016, with no slowing down in sight.

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Although there tends be a lot of “jargon” around the idea of programmatic advertising, it’s actually a fairly simple concept. Whereas traditional advertising involves people bidding and negotiating for ad space, programmatic advertising is completely automatic and carried out by computers and software- cutting out the middle man.

The software can target specific groups with relevant ads by utilising complex algorithms. The overall buying and selling of digital advertising is completed on a demand-side platform (DSP) which allows users to access multiple data exchange and ad exchange accounts on a single platform.

What are the Advantages?


Although it may seem quite complex at first, the overall process of programmatic advertising is relatively simple- thanks in a large part to the use of a DSP. The platform allows you view stats such as key importance indicators, cost per click and cost per action and therefore ad optimisation is much easier and less time consuming.


One of the main advantages that programmatic advertising has over traditional methods is efficiency. This is a factor with all types of automation, when you replace people with machines or technology then you are nearly always going to improve efficiency. This is because machines can work much faster, they don’t tire and you are removing human error.

Talking more specifically about marketing, the use of the DSP really helps to streamline the entire process of ad buying. It completely cuts out the middle men and any negotiating which would ordinarily take place. Also, when working with a single platform, it allows you to have access to the complete ad inventory which again makes the process much faster, easier and efficient.


As DSPs have access to a huge wealth of data, the targeting of ads becomes hyper-personalised. This goes further than just the type of ads which are shown but also factors in things like colour, image, price and call to action.

Thanks to the advanced algorithms that are used within programmatic advertising, the personalisation of ads is becoming real-time. This means factors such as specific geographical location, weather and even the time of the week can be used as way of tailoring ads. For example, advertising cold drinks when the weather is hot.


The ability to track which website your ads land on can be incredibly important, especially when company reputation is more important than ever before. Fortunately, programmatic advertising offers greater transparency when compared with traditional methods. Buyers have a real-time view of the types of sites in which their ads are placed, as well as other factors such as costing and the types of people that are engaging with the ads.

Transparency means that buyers have instant access to all the relevant data concerning their campaigns, which not only safeguards against scandal but also ensures a faster, more efficient and more successful campaign.


Programmatic advertising removes the human element and streamlines the entire process, therefore bringing costs down. For example, the ability to purchase media across a wide range of publishers means a reduction in administration costs. Furthermore, buyers don’t have to pre-negotiate a price, they can simply set a budget and pay only for relevant impressions.

Some companies are going one step further to reduce costs by setting up an in-house solution.

It seems as if programmatic advertising is not only here to stay but could also be a sign of things to come. With this form of advertising makes headway in to the mobile world and talk of a programmatic TV boom, it’s the right time for companies to educate themselves on this new trend.