Data Mining

data mining cybrary

Data Mining refers to the mathematical techniques used to exam large data sets including but not limited to search histories or social media posts, looking for statistically significant inferences that will extract trends and patterns from the data. We leave data contrails behind as we conduct our lives online today.  These digital wakes or contrails are closely examined by many companies for the predictive value they have on our decision making, choices, and future purchases.

A classic example is how Target determined a teenage girl was pregnant before her parents did. The father confronted his daughter asking why she had begun to receive diaper coupons in the mail and she admitted to being pregnant. She received these coupons from Target because her search history was data mined by this retailer who determined these search terms reliably predicted a pregnancy and therefore a future need for diapers.

Data Mining is performed on our personal public data every single day while we surf the web, post on social media, and consume content.  We all have experienced our data being mined when we see advertisements for products we have recently searched for on Google or posted about on Facebook.

Source: NJIT, WindowsReport

Additional Reading: Why UPS trucks (almost) never turn left

EU To Propose Mandatory Data-Mining Tool Against Fraud

What does this mean for an SMB?

Data mining represents powerful analytical tools for businesses to use to their benefit.  It’s not just used for marketers and salespeople.  It’s often used to analyze one’s own business for opportunities for improvement or to tease out trends for better forecasting and planning purposes.  Business Intelligence (BI) is a form of data mining that provides actionable outcomes from the data used to run your business. As an SMB owner, you may look to consultants to assist you in mining large databases you possess from the operation of your business to optimize efficiencies.  It’s why Fedex and UPS trucks consistently turn right more than left in the US but left more than right in the UK.

To learn more about Data Mining, watch this short 3 minute video:

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