The Greatness Of Small Data: Why Businesses Should Capitalize And Focus On This Resource


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Do you know the infamous bible story where a small man defeated a giant? You’re right! It’s the David and Goliath story. It tells us a lesson that even a small creature can defeat a large person.

The same goes with data — the important resource that every company should have especially in this technological era.

But instead of discussing big data, we’re going to take a detour to explore the potentials of small data. Yes, you’ve read it right. There’s fortune with this type of data that we may have overlooked.

Ready to learn how your company should maximize it to further develop your marketing and sales strategies? Let’s dive in!

small data
Image source: Amazon

The branding expert Martin Lindstrom wrote a book titled Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends. Obviously, it covers small data and how it can come up with the next big trend in the marketing world. It discussed the things companies are not able to look into to truly know what their consumers want or the little things they do — their culture, religious affiliations — on a small scale.

Importance of Small Data in Today’s Digital Age

“If one takes the top 100 biggest innovations of our time, perhaps around 60% to 65% percent are really based on Small Data,” Martin Lindstrom stated.

With all the talk about large data and how it can lead marketers and CEOs into the new trend, it is a bit tricky and hard to even think about gathering small data. With big data, you can just get it from tools and software available online from your website, social media accounts, and third-party companies that offer them.

However, it is not as detailed and new, unlike small data. Martin Lindstrom also stated in his book that small data will tell you what people really want. It will reveal what each family and individual wants from the product and services they buy. Whether it is only a little tweak from a pair of shoes or a massage parlor, having small data would make a big difference for that one customer.

Allen Bonde, former vice-president of Innovation at Actuate who is now part of OpenText stated that “Small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or “local” sources), organized and packaged — often visually — to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.” of course, marketers would want to use data, whether big or small, for their own sake.

small data
Source: Marketing Charts

It is what they desire as to how the data was collected was more intimate and humanely. Observing small communities, families, and individuals with their daily life, consumption of goods and services would tell you how they live and how they really use or put importance to what they use in their daily living. This is what Lindstrom was emphasizing in his book.

With the digital age, we see people posting stuff on their social media account and how they interact with the brands and companies. That interaction could be just for show and not really what they want as the herd mentality is very present on the internet. And though globalization is taking place, local is still what people focus on. A keen observation of the small things can lead to the next big, powerful marketing trend.

The difference in the use of small data and large data

small dataBig data are for machines while small data are very humane. Small data brings us back to the basics of marketing, while big data is out there doing its own thing. Also, big data is usually used for elections or big companies that need to think of their new advertisement and products. While small can also be used for such purposes, it can be put to better use by providing actual solutions to a problem in sales or marketing.

Have you ever watched a Thai commercial? If not, try to watch one. Make sure to make some mental notes as the advertisement goes on. Did you cry? Laugh? Or did you experience both emotions? But what is the correlation of that to small data? Well, Thai commercials are targeting human emotions, they target the roots of our wants, needs, and desire. They play with our feelings and make us remember that little things do matter if we stop and just look at them.

small data

Source: IBM Data Hub

Moreover, this is how complex and hard to comprehend big data is for marketers. They still need to rely on a computer to actually do it and gather solutions or new trend from it.

How to gather small data for SMEs

Big data usually need a data scientist to carefully examine and get the right information needed, as stated above. It will be hard for SMEs to achieve that. Though there are many apps that could probably help you, you might not really need them as it is too big, broad, and not many insights are there for a small to medium-sized company.

For small businesses and start-ups, small data can be very helpful in many aspects. Small data is so much easier to see and gather. With a little bit snooping around the social media of your customers (the ones who like and follow your page), who regularly interacts with you and your posts (likes, share, comments on them), and have inquired for your products and services, the way they do it should tell you what they want.

For example, on Facebook alone, they have insights that you can see. These data are from your own content and the daily engagement of your followers with your page. With their interactions with you, you would see what they truly like and what they ignore.

Future of Small Data Usage For Companies

According to Rufus Pollock, of the Open Knowledge Foundation, “the hype around Big Data is misplaced — small, linked data is where the real value lies.” It is like many small puzzle pieces that you need to connect and join together to create a bigger picture and enjoy its final product.

To prove that, eConsultancy reported that 55 percent of marketers are finally realizing that data size does not matter. Quality is always better than quantity. It is so much easier to focus on things if they are in quality and not much in size rather than so many things at once but not knowing which one is really useful.

Marketers are using small data to personalized customer experience to increase their sales and revenue. It is also used for customer retention and strengthening of customer loyalty. Content has become more targeted thanks to small data. In the future, it will continue to do so as more companies and marketers will see how useful small data is.

Fred Chua
I am a Philippine-certified Electronics and Communications Engineer who serves as the CEO of Magellan Solutions Outsourcing Inc. Magellan Solutions is one of the top call centers/BPO companies in the world that can deliver high-performing operations to businesses of any type and any size.


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