Do you think advanced tricks like data mining and predictive analytics are out of reach for a small or medium-sized business? This is not entirely true. Mining your marketing data and using that data to make smarter decisions just takes some planning, some basic analytical tools, and some knowledge of statistical analysis.

You need the right tools, obviously. Most database applications will work, but you need far more than the analysis and visualization capabilities offered by Excel to build a real predictive analytics capability.

Once you have the basic tools and expertise, you need to work on three things:

Collect plenty of different types of data

Web analytics are only a starting point for proper data collection efforts. Collect data on how long people stay on each page, which internal links get the most clicks, how often people scroll all the way down a page, how many products of each type go to what kind of buyer, and so on.

Go for granularity

Related to the first point, look for ways to gather more details on visitors’ behavior. How many people go halfway down the page instead of all the way? How many people click the second and third offerings in that list of related products your site delivers?

Find someone who knows statistics

If you don’t have anyone who understands regression analysis, you will need to remedy that to make the most of your own predictive analytics. To use your new and better data set to maximum advantage.

If you can define the many types of data your organisation could use, and have someone who knows how to analyse the data, any size business can benefit from predictive analytics.

The bottom line is that understanding your data can be extremely helpful and allows for more accurate and successful marketing.