Back in the day, the only companies that could afford to amass and parse vast amounts of customer information – large enough to do trending and prediction – were the really big dogs. Data and the money that purchased that data were power. Today, not so much. Today, if you want to open a pizza parlor in NYC, it’s not just about walking the streets, counting competitors and feeder locations (tall apartments, schools, nightclubs). Today, there are free online tools. And more coming.
American Express Open.com
American Express has helped democratize information by creating Open.com, a small business repository of data, skills refinement, community and tools which let small businesses make smarter decisions. If not now, in the future, these tools will include access to marketing data like Nielsen and MRI, so that if the pizza parlor start-up wants to know which zip codes in NYC index the highest for pizza consumption. Boom. Or he/she wanted to know what time of day those sales are most robust or weeks of the year? Boom. Might that pizza start-up want to know who serves the best pizza in that zip code according to pizza eaters? Boom. Or what are they saying about that pizza on their smart phones and tweets (Clean bathrooms, near the subway, dollar slices?). Boom.
Today, smart companies like America Express and its Open.com and Booming programs are doing for small business what ERP did for larges businesses 15 years ago. And there will be a wave of new cottage industries popping up to serve small business customers. ‘cause that’s what happens in a democracy. Peace!