Small data is the critical point where vast information (big data) delivers on a specific, individual need. Small data is where qualified leads and sound investments are determined. By contextualizing information and makes it actionable on the ground level to produce timely, relevant results for the end-user.
Small data is the gateway for big data to become useful.
Amazon Recommendations, Kayak’s “when to book” tool, and Nike’s “Fuelband” are a few oft-cited examples of companies harnessing big data with small data insights. They harness big data about flight pricing or relative consumer purchasing habits, or exercise, to provide a simple, distilled insight.
Buy a flight, or wait.
You will probably enjoy this book. Other people like you did.
You burn more calories walking around the office than you do at the treadmill on the gym.
Small data allows companies the opportunity to be useful, timely, and relevant. In the real-time marketing world that’s emerged with social media and mobile, that’s an absolute must.
Marketing fitness: Get Lean
The emergence of small data in some ways mirrors the sociocultural evolution surrounding the ideas of fitness, which pays close attention to relative value.
It discards the flawed consumerist mentality that more is better. As we work to ‘trim the fat’ in a world bloated by overconsumption of food, of goods, of information we see a strong need to sift through it all and distill it down in hopes of arriving at quality.
This same principle applies to marketing analytics. Turns out, more (or bigger) is not necessarily better.
In the end, the quality of data analysis and the actionable outcome of that analysis are more valuable than the amount of data you have.
That is good news for smaller businesses and smaller budgets. It evens the playing field, and places precedence on connecting with the right people in the right way something that requires capabilities more than budget capacity.
It is all about what’s relevant and applicable to your purpose.
Because while the Milky Way contains some 400 billion stars, you need only spot three of them to get a glimpse of Orion.