As seen over the past few years, Big Data has become a lucrative business. Just look at the hot IPOs from operators like Splunk Splunk (SPLK) and Tableau Software (DATA).
For the most part, these early players have focused on solutions that are broad. If anything, this is fairly typical for any new tech trend.
But as the Big Data industry begins to mature, we are now seeing a variety of startups that focus on verticals. For example, one that has gotten traction is TrendKite, which has developed a predictive analytics platform that measures the ROI for marketing and communications efforts. It has customers that range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies.
So to learn more about TrendKite , I recently talked to the company’s CEO and co-founder, Matt Allison.
And here’s what he had to say:
Tom Taulli: What does TrendKite do?
Matt Allison: TrendKite measures the impact of traditional press and social media on a company’s brand. We offer customizable dashboards that let PR, marketing, and communications professionals see the results of their hard work. We provide the ability to track total mentions, sentiment, geographic mentions, executive mentions, and share of voice (comparing your press coverage against your competitors). In other words, you can use TrendKite to measure ROI on PR efforts, which represents significant progress in the traditionally opaque world of PR.
Taulli: What’s your take on how Big Data is evolving?
Allison: No doubt about it—the industry is maturing. Companies are building sustainable data systems that will serve even non-techy users for years, and they’ve grown more discerning about which providers can actually deliver the value they’re looking for. Last year, big data was still a hyped concept. This year, companies are figuring out how to apply Big Data solutions on a practical, actionable, day-to-day basis. Last year was all about back-end plumbing, getting the better Hadoop system to your business analysts. Now, companies distribute that data to the rest of the business—sales, operations, PR—and format it so that everyone can use data to its full advantage.
Taulli: What are customers interested in right now? How can they benefit from your product?
Allison: PR has become more complex than ever. Between traditional press and social media, there’s so much data out there and right now customers want to filter out the junk and get right to the data that actually matters to them. TrendKite uses proprietary search and filtering algorithms to provide customers with the data they care about and we do it in real-time. Customers can then use this data to more effectively budget and plan their PR, marketing, and communications campaigns.
Taulli: Advice for companies that want to boost their social media/PR?
Allison: Build your influencer network (especially on LinkedIn LinkedIn and Twitter). Spend time every day engaging with them, push out quality content that interests them, and do your best to provide them with exclusive information that makes them feel special. Help your influencers and they will help you.
Taulli: One piece of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to build a startup based on analytics?
Allison: Remember that no matter how complex your app is on the back-end—and it should be pretty sophisticated in order to use data effectively—it should still be intuitive enough for a 10-year-old to use and understand, on their mobile device. The most user-focused, applicable, mobile-friendly products will win in 2014.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) operates MasterCFO, which helps early-stage companies with accounting, payroll and taxes.