2014 – The Year of Predictive Analytics for SMBs

I know what you’re thinking. The summer of 2013 has just begun. Why on earth would I think about 2014, let alone make predictions for next year?


I’m doing so to get all you SMBs geared up for the rapidly changing world of data analysis and marketing analytics. And whether or not the business intelligence world intrigues you, there are big changes coming and those that embrace it more than likely be rewarded.

Those in the enterprise realm and within Fortune 1000 companies have already been beaten over the head with “big data” and “predictive analytics.”

Many of you are probably already utilizing its capabilities through IBM, SAP, or SAS. This blog post is not for you. This is for the rest of us who are wondering what this all means and why it will be so important.

As you are well aware, the business world has gone through some of the most rapid and substantial changes within the last five years.

Between the housing bubble, recession, and vast advancements in technology, often times it’s hard to keep up with the ever-changing business intelligence world. But with the advent of digital marketing and online analytics, we are beginning to learn more about our customers than ever before.

In fact, it’s been reported that 90% of the world’s data has been created within the last two years alone.

All this data can be overwhelming, but if you use analytics and Business Intelligence software, it’s steadily been able to tell a growing picture about your business.

What times of the day are customers more likely to buy? What marketing channels convert at the highest rate? What advertising messages drive more people complete a desired action?

The terms “big data” and “predictive analytics” take all of this a step further.

By analyzing an enormous amount of data in real time, organizations will become quicker to make decisions on competition, internal efficiencies and customer insights.

IBM’s Smarter Analytics and Google’s push for Universal Analytics moves away from placing customers into particular segments and allow businesses to serve unique opportunities to individuals, not a pre-defined “group”, as well as take offline advertising channels and learn their associated influence on digital trends.

There is a misconception that all of this user tracking and mass data collection as seen as “spying” on everything a person does online.

In reality, predictive analytics works to collect relevant information on what interests and excites you. This allows organizations to theoretically create a “score” for each customer based on their behavior and buying history, among other things.

For marketers, this boils down to a greater opportunity to serve the right advertising message, to the right prospect, at the right time, while at the same time drives down acquisition costs.

Keep an eye out on this industry over the next year. As software evolves, it will inevitably become much more reasonably priced and allow SMBs to take advantage of its capabilities. If you don’t take advantage of it sooner or later, you can bet your competition will.

We would love to hear what you think about predictive analytics. Please leave your thoughts and questions in the comments box below.