Businesses can achieve a significant advantage over their competitors by analyzing consumer data, but accessing this data can be prohibitively expensive for small firms, write Christina Donnelly and Geoff Simmons. Still, if small companies could leverage their relationships with consumers, they "might just be able to garner enough competitive advantage -- or at least achieve enough of a competitive balance -- to continue providing enriching, satisfying jobs and valuable products to millions of people the world over," they write.

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