Small Data — Seeing the Woods Despite the Trees

Image for post
Image for post
Image by Kristin Ellis on Unsplash

Big data is the marketing weapon of choice for many large organizations with the resources to analyze, visualize and then develop strategies from the vast quantities of information made available to them via a wide range of data points. Big data has been used to help politicians get elected, to enable manufacturers to predict demand and even to alert healthcare professionals to potential outbreaks of influenza. Big data is not easy, and for many marketers, without the resources required to crunch such big numbers, it’s nothing more than an industry “buzzword.”

Introducing Small Data

It has been said that big data is for machines and small data is for people. Small data is essentially data that is small enough for humans to visualize, comprehend and base decisions on.

Five Small Data Sources

Small data isn’t difficult to find. It’s just a case of identifying the various data points and taking the time to analyze the information available to you. You can then start building strategies based on your learnings. We’ve compiled a list of five small data sources that can easily be incorporated into your working week, helping you to make better decisions.

  1. Client Engagement: As a marketer, you should be speaking to clients on a regular basis and learning from the experience. Because marketing is all about solving problems, it’s nearly always worthwhile to take the time to visit clients at their place of work and learn from their processes while discussing their challenges. A single idea generated from conversation with a client could significantly change the way your organization does business so always take the time to listen.
  2. Email Marketing Analytics: It’s possible to extract useful information from even the smallest of subscriber lists. Take your time to learn how subscribers engage with your email campaigns. What campaigns are they opening or ignoring? How do various CTAs drive engagement? A/B spilt testing can help you develop a more educated strategy. Remember, all iContact email marketing clients have access to a set of incredibly intuitive analytics on which to build their future marketing decisions.
  3. Social Media: Monitoring the social Web for insight that impacts your organization can be as easy as conducting a few searches on key industry-related phrases and keywords. Even the most basic understanding of customer sentiment toward your brand when compared to a competitor’s can enable you to better serve your public’s needs.
  4. Long-term Weather Forecasts: Following the local and regional long-term weather forecasts can help you predict demand and increase sales or reduce waste. And it’s not just the most obvious industries that are traditionally impacted by the weather (travel, tourism, hospitality, etc.). For example, many different retail verticals (fashion, home and garden, sports, entertainment, etc.) can use long-term forecasts to predict demand for seasonal products and shape promotional activities.
  5. Current Events: Having an understanding of what is happening in the wider world will help you become a more sympathetic marketer. For example, a travel agent might want to adjust his or her campaign strategies based on global currency fluctuations or political situations that impact the affordability and general perception of certain destinations. In many cases, the newspapers still provide the most in-depth coverage and analysis of current events. The ease of access to international titles online can help you to develop a global strategy.

Everyday Information

In many ways small data is a lesson in common sense. Valuable marketing resources are available in everyday conversations and activities. It’s just a case of identifying it at the source and learning to work it into our campaigns.

The fact is, data doesn’t have to be big to be useful. In many cases you might say that small data can help marketers see the woods despite the trees.

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.

Written by

Marketing Strategist, Author of #BecomingTHEExpert, Content Marketing Trainer, and Cyclist. Check out my author profile:

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store