Small companies have data edge over big business: Torque Data

Big business in Australia is losing the big data race to smaller companies, which are able to employ simpler models and less administration in their data-driven marketing activities, according to a new report.

A new report by Torque Data and Sweeney Research, in partnership with ADMA, has found that not only are smaller companies in Australia using big data as much as big business for marketing purposes, they are experiencing greater success with data than their larger counterparts.

"Smaller companies report higher levels of usage than the bigger ones and somewhat greater success. In our experience, this is often driven by simpler data systems, nimbler administration and a strong drive to establish competitive advantage," said boutique analytics firm, Torque Data, in a summary of the report (PDF), The Big and Small of Big Data.

The report found that, in general, smaller companies in Australia are engaged in big data initiatives to a similar extent to large companies.

The study captured responses from 75 senior marketing executives in Australia, including CMOs, marketing directors and heads of marketing. Participants responded to online questionnaires and in-depth interviews.

60 percent of the respondents were from large companies with over 500 staff members, while the rest were from companies with fewer than 500 staff members.

According to the report, most respondents were more focused on data input rather than the benefits of big data capability for marketing purposes.

"Whilst the marketers we spoke to are using big data to some extent, all foresee growth in the volume of initiatives. However, initiatives are primarily targeted at acquisition and retention with little focus on cross or up selling," said Torque's report summary.

The report suggested that the focus of big data initiatives is likely to shift once marketers have achieved "satisfactory" traction with acquisition and retention strategies, allowing for more time to be spent on developing cross and up selling initiatives.

The results found that 42 percent of big data initiatives involved acquisition, while 34 percent involved retention and only 24 percent were for cross and up selling.

Despite this, the report suggested that Australian marketers are taking the emergence of big data very seriously and regard it as essential for sustained competitive advantage. In many companies, senior level decision makers are ensuring it is a priority for the business.

The report also found that 78 percent of respondents say their ability to design and implement a strong big data strategy will define their business for years to come.

63 percent of respondents said they expect big data usage to increase in the next two years, while 82 percent of participating Australian marketers said their marketing budget for big data will increase in the next two years.

The study indicated that, although the current in-house expertise in Australian marketing departments is suitable for what is currently being done with big data in business, it would not be enough in the near future.

"Investment in people who know how to work with big data and translate it into customer-centric insights will be key for marketing departments moving forward," said Torque.