There’s hardly a business journal or company blog that you open these days that doesn’t include some reference to big data. In case you’re thinking it, yes, even those dealing with commercial real estate. Included in those articles are details about how with actionable information, businesses can more effectively and efficiently market to their customers, design offerings that meet specific needs, increase revenue with highly targeted lead generation campaigns and improve operations. In the commercial real estate world, some consulting firms are using data to gain a new perspective on property values or assess underlying credit for each tenant. With some creativity, the opportunities are likely endless.
Big Data Defined
Coined in the 1990’s “Big Data” typically refers to datasets that are too large and overwhelming to be manipulated by commonly used software tools. Originally, big data was defined by volume, variety, and velocity. Meaning how much was being created? From how many different sources? Over what period? Regardless of the answers to those questions, understanding what big data is can be a challenge because the magnitude of the data sets being discussed are larger than most humans are able to comprehend easily. In fact, by 2020, some experts predict that the size of the all the data in the world will exceed 40,000 exabytes or 40 trillion gigabytes. As a point of comparison, many modern computers have 500 gigabyte hard drives.
How does all this pertain to your commercial real estate firm? As originally defined, probably not very much. However, current usage of the term "big data" tends to refer to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analysis, or other advanced data manipulation methods that extract value from data regardless of the size of the data set. In this vein, the “big-ish” data generated by your company may hold some importance in how you collect contacts, manage your website or develop marketing plans.
Is it right for your commercial real estate firm?
To successfully compete in today's marketplace, commercial real estate firms of all sizes need to think big. While you may not have all the resources of super-sophisticated consumer packaged goods companies, like data scientists, analysts and researchers, there are ways you can gather, analyze and make sense of the data in your organization. Undertaking these activities on your own or with the help of a commercial real estate marketing firm can lend additional insights into your business and keep you ahead of the competition. To that end, there are few data reliant areas that may be worth looking at more closely.
Enabling your website to be found through Google searches means packing your site with words, phrases, and content that are important to your industry. Making sure your site and your content is found by commercial real estate professionals, and other interested parties are critical to your business. Fortunately, there are tools like Google Analytics that can guide you in how to do this with insights about your site. Webmasters today can analyze keywords, look at page optimization, visitors’ paths through a website, conversions of visitors to marketing qualified leads and other important search factors.
Look no further than your CRM
A customer relationships management system (CRM) can enable you to uncover different customer groups, handle different contact types and relationships, make appointments, attach documents, take notes and histories, create reports and other essential tasks. All of this activity creates data that can be useful in managing your business. By finding patterns and trends in this data, sales opportunities and adjustments to property offerings can be made that will help your bottom line. In more sophisticated applications, your internal CRM data can be combined with other customer data that exists outside of your company, providing deeper insights and allowing you to understand your customers match market trends and other behavioral activities.
Make lead generation data-driven
The simple goal of any lead generation activity is to create more leads for your salespeople to follow-up with. Examing the data you collect in association with lead generation activities can provide a more comprehensive view of your prospects. You can score leads base on which piece of content they reacted to or understand just how many contacts are required before a prospect moves into the sales pipeline. Through data analysis, you can gain a better understanding of return on investment from marketing activities and improve customer engagement by better understanding pain points and other motivators.