Everyone is talking about big data. This is the popular kid on the block for the past 5 years. There are apps, softwares, gadgets and digital platforms to collect and interpret information and algorithms. You bet this is VERY expensive. Though, some are starting to realize, what's all the fuzz of big data if we don't collect the right quality data to maximize our business potential? As a small businesses owner, I need to understand my audience??s behavioral and purchasing patterns to effectively invest on efforts to advance my business. However, I don't have the funds to invest on big data science, digital resources or extra man power. So I designed a roadmap to collect quality data through free resources, so my clients and I can generate useful cost-efficient forecasts: FIRST -> Divide audience in 4 visitor-profiles: This allows us to segment all the traffic we receive in order to prioritize efforts: 1) Curious, those who stop by our online and offline business without buying anything. 2) Socials, people who spread the word about our business/products/services offline and online using for example nametags, hashtags, likes, keywords. 3) Influencers, users and sites who link back to our properties such as shares, referrals, hyperlink/backlinks and online reviews. 4) Buyers, actual clients who purchase our services/products online and offline. SECOND -> Take advantage of free data collectors such as Facebook analytics, Twitter analytics, Union Metrics, Iconosquare, SimplyMeasured, Crowdfire (formerly known as JustUnfollow.) Depending on your industry and preferences you will be inclined to one or another. You just need to make sure to choose the tool that meets most of your goals and it is easier for you and your team to use and understand. THIRD -> Create a list of goals and an actionable plan to accomplish them. A well thorough strategy is needed to accomplish this step. FOURTH -> Assess which data is critical to increase ROI and drive competitive position. Those will be the pieces of right data that you should seek out fervently. To get there, you could ask yourself few questions, such as: - What??s your demographic??s characteristics on each online property? - Which content is driving more brand awareness? - What call-to-actions, colors, headlines are effective? What aren??t? - Where can you find each of the 4 visitor-profiles discussed on the first step? is it Facebook? Instagram? Twitter? forums? magazines? - What platform sends you more traffic back to your site/e-commerce/blog/etc? Here is a very interesting article about big data vs important data -> http://bit.ly/BigDataQualityData