Whatever kind of business you run, there are others out there providing the same service or product. To outperform them, you need to take advantage of the information you have at hand. Through a variety of sources, you'll better understand your audience and be able to target their specific needs. Big data provides small business owners with everything they need to reach their consumers.

How do you get started?
Most things that you look at – customer transactions, social media, your website – provide you with big data. With the amount of information that comes in, it can be confusing without a reason for looking at it in mind. Before analyzing anything, you and your team should have established an outcome for the data and have predictions, Forbes explained. This allows you to see how much you actually know about your consumers and your company. If you don't have any goals, you're going to have a lot of information you don't know what to do with.

"We'll see people do a ton of data analysis and everyone in the room has a different interpretation of the results," Ashley Stirrup, chief marketing officer at Talend, told the source. "That's because they haven't thought it through before."

Another issue you'll face while analyzing your data is not having it all in one place. You won't have a complete picture of your company, consumers or the problem if you have the information scattered throughout the business, according to VentureBeat. You can't fully leverage the data in that case. Once you've collected everything into one place, you can categorize it into groups that make sense.

What can you do with big data?
The information you gather means nothing if you don't have the proper system to analyze it for you. Business intelligence software can scan through all the data and detect patterns that will help you better serve your clientele. While it may put a dent in your business banking account in the beginning, it will be worth it once you see what the program offers. There are endless ways that you can take advantage of the insight BI and analytics provide.

You can't sell your product or service without marketing, and the steps you take will mean nothing if you don't reach the right people. Big data and analytics help businesses retain customers while attracting new ones. A study by Forbes Insights and Turn showed that 61 percent of marketing executives have noticed an increase in return on investment with data-driven ad campaigns. The information collected from a variety of sources allows companies to create ads and articles that their audiences will want to read or view. Using analytics, they can see which type of content – videos, articles, graphics – their site's visitors click on most, and then produce more of that style to appeal to a larger audience.

Big data also gives companies the ability to see how they're performing. Any information can show them where they're doing well and in which areas they need to improve. Maybe it's changing the content format or it could working on customer service. Whatever the issues are, big data and BI can help businesses fix them.

For businesses to be able to reach their audiences successfully, they need to utilize the information big data and BI can provide. They can help companies create and narrow marketing strategies that will truly hit their desired targets without significantly setting back the financial plan.