There’s so much data being spawned today that many marketers may be missing out on the small data opportunities. While many articles suggest that big data is overhyped, this is more about a misunderstanding that the value is not in the data itself but in the insights mined from the data. While more doesn’t necessarily mean better, big data shouldn’t be overlooked – it has the potential to bring huge competitive advantage and opportunity.
However, while big data opens doors to new possibilities, small data opens doors to what you already have and what can be mined and analyzed for immediate action. Small data is data in a volume and format that makes it accessible, informative and actionable.
The Small Data Group offers the following explanation: 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.
A key differentiator between big and small data is that small data is more personal and targeted and can be easily and quickly, acted upon. Rather than using big data to spot a trend, companies can use small data to optimize the customer experience with personalized content.
Consumers are most apt to pay attention to messages that are relevant to them. Marketers who cut through the noise and connect with consumers on a more personal level are able to better understand consumers and deliver the products and services they are searching for. The focus is on the individual versus customers as a mass.
For example, a retailer can combine data about customers, such as demographics, past purchases and amount of spending. By understanding a customer’s likelihood to buy, targeted offers can be made to consumers based on what they are most likely to purchase next, which cross-departmental purchases may be most appealing, and what type of incentive will entice the customer to purchase.
Social media is also rich with small data insights. We all know social media generates huge amounts of data. However, a company doesn’t need to invest in huge social scraping platforms to identify opportunities to connect personally with consumers. Today’s social consumers have the power to influence entire networks of peers, simply by liking a company on Facebook, airing a complaint on a product review forum, or posting a picture on Instagram. Just as important, consumers are actively seeking to engage with their favorite brands through social media sites.
According to a study from NM Incite, nearly half (47%) of U.S. social media users today actively seek customer service through social media. Prompt attention to customer complaints, questions or comments on social sites provides a great opportunity to build better customer relationships with social followers.
The concept of Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) is also beginning to grow. Rather than focusing on collecting as much data as quickly as possible, DaaS brings big data down to size by providing businesses with “just-the-right” data that has already been mined from the Big Data ecosystem. The number of unique data sources available is larger than any organization can wrangle. DaaS is an innovative approach to sourcing that one person who is giving off purchase signals and delivering to businesses for real-time marketing initiatives.
Smart marketers recognize that customers are not numbers or anonymous groups of people. They must deliver relevant content based on an individual customer’s needs, preferences, likes, and dislikes. Rather than focusing on the size of the data, it needs to be about focusing on the right data.
Bestselling business author, Shep Hyken, said it best when he stated “Many voices, or Big Data, may say the same thing and spot a trend. A few voices, or Little Data, may say something different and spot an opportunity. The best companies take advantage of both!”