The economy has been in an uncertain place for the last half-decade, as consumers have found themselves with considerably less disposable income to spend, and as such, it's been a precarious climate for aspiring new small businesses.
For an entrepreneur looking to get a young company off the ground, it isn't always easy. The endeavor requires tapping into local areas where there's the potential for big profits, and those places these days appear far and few between. There's one thing that's helping these small and medium-sized businesses stay afloat, though - data quality.
Collecting information on one's economic surroundings is the best way for fledgling businesses to stay competitive. Social and financial data about consumers is a powerful weapon, as it helps entrepreneurs fine-tune their strategies and figure out exactly where to target with their marketing and sales initiatives.
Data has had a profound effect. 1to1 Media recently reported on this growing trend - 170,000 small businesses closed their doors between 2008 and 2010, according to census data, but small businesses saw a $5.7 billion influx in sales in 2013, up from 4 percent in 2012. Data analysis is largely to thank for this turnaround.
Can big businesses follow suit?
Small businesses have accomplished big things with advances in data quality. Now that they're focusing on having more accurate information about the economic climate around them, they can achieve more every day. Naturally, one question follows - will larger corporations pick up on this strategy and try to accomplish the same feat on a greater scale?
1to1 shed light on this question by revealing the results of the "Business Traction from Smarter SMB Interaction" study, a new release by the Chief Marketing Officer Council. The CMO Council polled more than 160 senior marketing executives and found that approximately 36 percent are "looking to improve their SMB-centric experiences." Meanwhile, only 42 percent of companies have internal departments focused on local engagement.
Data is the key to both small businesses' survival and large businesses' ability to engage with customers and small B2B clients on a local level. So far, the big corporations still have work to do. The CMO Council found that 56 percent of marketers say their strategies are only "somewhat evolved," while 14 percent say they are not evolved well at all. As for improving their strategies, 45 percent said they're hoping to see better integration and use of customer data.