Among major corporations and multinationals, a major topic regarding marketing is the use of big data. With more people than ever using smartphones, mobile applications, social media platforms, email, websites and other information-generating tools, marketers around the world are abuzz about how they can garner insights from the zettabytes of data that now exist. According to a March 2012 report from the International Data Corporation, the demand for big data tools will swell the market to a valuation of $16.9 billion by 2015, up from the $3.2 billion it was worth in 2010.

An infographic published by Mashable in June provided a visualization of just how much data is now created every minute of the day. While the concept of analyzing this significant amount of raw data and using it to inform strategic business decisions is new and seems cost prohibitive, there is room for smaller companies to access the wealth of data as well.

Shrinking big data to fit your needs
Companies such as IBM and SAP may be busy turning out solutions that meet the demands of large multinationals, but there is an increasing number of options for smaller organizations. Forbes blog contributors Mark Fidelman – CEO for social business consultancy Evolve! – and The Pulse Network CMO Allen Bonde describes a few of the mobile applications that put the power of big data in the hands of small businesses.

They note that companies such as GoodData and Visible Technologies provide access to business intelligence and social analytics. Fidelman and Bonde say the secret to gaining insights through data is to keep it as simple as possible. For instance, creating a mobile application for your employees can help them collect operational and social data. The marketers on your team may not have experience sorting through and interpreting lines of raw data, so it’s important to look for the information that is relevant and will provide answers.

Start out with a particular metric in mind, such as how many people visit your website to read a blog post, and how long they stay on the page. Do they continue searching the website? Or do they return to the search engine or social media platform where they first found the link? Small bites of information such as this can offer large amounts of insight that can help your company run a smarter campaign.