So I’ve been reading this book by Martin Lindstrom called Small Data (super late in the small data party, I know). And I think what Lindstrom unfolded on his book is truly an eye opener. He talks about how big data often takes the pedestal too much, even though it carries no emotional value. In a world where everything seems very emotionally-sanitized, with apps replacing physical connections, and marketers tend to view their target audiences as datasets, empathy is often overlooked over what the data tells us. Here are 3 things I think marketers can learn about small data from reading Lindstrom’s book:
I agree with his claim that big data is not the complete solution. It provides a window to sets of data, that, given to the right person, can definitely yield a wealth of information. However, big data doesn’t (and can’t) tell the whole story. It thrives in looking for correlations, as it focuses on telling us the “what”, without telling us the “why”. Over investing in big data, without giving small data a chance is pretty much like creating a wireframe without ever interviewing your users. It risks brands of becoming impersonal.
You’ve probably heard about this, whether you’re someone who works in an agency or a brand, we tend to put our target audiences on archaic boxes of generations, social class and income levels. Humans are emotional beings. And big data doesn’t really tell a person’s aspiration or dreams, as evidenced by Lindstrom’s observation of a worn out Adidas sneaker that proved to be the key success factor in saving Lego from the brink of potential bankruptcy.
No matter how we look at how the world have evolved and how “industrial revolution 4.0” is being thrown around, marketers risk of making the mistake in focusing more on the technologies, and not the humans using the technology. Talk to your customers. Figure out what drives them and what their aspirations are. Empathize with them. Only then will you truly connect with your customers.
What do you think of small data? Have you been doing it? Has it worked for you? Let me know what you think down on the comments below.