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The amount of data in our world is exploding, which means data sets can be a little tricky to analyze. However, for those able to harness this beast, big data can prove a gold-mine for innovation in the workplace.

More than ever before, big data has become accessible to companies of all sizes. New innovations like artificial intelligence and machine learning are raising the bar for competitive excellence. If analyzed correctly, big data can help inspire innovation in your business’ workplace in four specific ways.

1. Specify Segmentation

The customer is catalyst for all major company decisions and is the sole determinant of a brand’s success. Therefore, obtaining a 360-degree view of the consumer is critical for businesses looking for a competitive edge.

Big data allows you to gain this edge by narrowing segmentation of customers. In other words, big data lets marketers skip the broad-scale, shallow information and better understand each individual customer’s needs and wants.

Traditionally, segments are based on four characteristics — geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral. But the days of broad segmentation and the “one size fits all” — or, in this case, the “one size fits one in four” — approach are over. Many marketers using this method aim too broadly by either not narrowing down segments enough or targeting too many segments, running the risk of going unnoticed and unassociated.

Big data can eliminate these problems by both tracking current segments and the evolving customer base. Customers’ behavior changes quickly and is often unpredictable by human means. Consumers are more dynamic and demanding and wish to be individually recognized.

So, segmenting has become more complex in recent years. Big data, however, has kept a track record of these rapidly evolving, even sporadic, consumer habits. It only takes some proper analyzation to find trends and allow you to better segment your target audiences.

2. Spur Product Development

When you know your audience better, it’s easier to make things they want and need. Big data, therefore, helps developers create bigger and better inventions that adapt and change with the consumer, to match their preferences and interests.

Traditionally, new product development involves a substantial amount of trials and errors, but big data takes the guess work out of this too. Now, developers can zero in on what data merits further study, reducing time spent on product development. Once testing is complete and successful, businesses can determine how to integrate it into their brand and incorporate its reveal into existing operations. This includes everything from choosing optimal suppliers to planning for contingencies.

In addition to developing new products, big data also improves existing ones. For example, customer service feedback often contains constructive criticism, providing valuable insights into the future of current items. By determining how and why products fail to meet consumer needs, developers can better adjust to meet these needs by improving their products in the future.

3. Optimize Customer Service

You’ve created a product for a specific audience. Now, you just have to spread the word — easier said than done. Creating a marketing campaign that will resonate with both the potential and current consumer base is a difficult task, one that requires the help of big data.

Every business’ success rests on bringing in new customers, and big data can help do that. Customer and product insights can help businesses by fine-tuning their customer service strategy. Ultimately, understanding who you’re targeting will always help you communicate more effectively.

Success also rests on retaining current customers. Personalization is quickly becoming a crucial part of customer service. By analyzing which customers have purchased more recently, frequently, and have spent more money, you can determine who is more likely to buy again. Targeting your loyal customers with personalized deals and content is a surefire way to keep them connected with your brand.

 4. Improve Decision Making

With an endless supply of big data at our fingertips, it’s only natural we should make quicker decisions. Because big data analysis happens quickly, in real time, businesses are able to make more prompt decisions and shorten the length of time between idea generation and product delivery. By eliminating data throughout the analyzation process, it becomes easier for developers to plan and pinpoint more focused goals. Thus, they can carry out a quicker, more efficient analysis and optimize procedures to meet these goals more swiftly and easily.

Additionally, big data allows companies to make more informed decisions. In the past, companies operated as satellites. Data from different departments was stored separately with no connections, restricting collaboration and potential brainstorming.

Now, different data sets across various departments are linked, allowing cross-functioning collaboration. This provides businesses with a big picture view, as well as deeper insights into product failure and success. These big-data-driven, informed decisions promote long-term growth in businesses.

Talent Over Everything

Big data may be a game-changer in marketing, but technology doesn’t work without the people who know how to bring out the best in it. Fill your team with people who can analyze big data and can draw insightful conclusions from its patterns. Look for people who can translate technical information into tangible, real world outcomes. Only then can big data drive innovation in the workplace and push your business forward.

About the author

Kayla Matthews, a tech-obsessed innovation writer, has written featured pieces for InformationWeek, The Innovation Enterprise, The Muse and more. You can see more of Kayla’s work on her site, Productivity Bytes, or follow her on Twitter @KaylaEMatthews.

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