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When Little Data Is Bigger Than Big Data

Big Data is all the rage. And with good reason, too. There is so much data being created, captured, sorted, sifted through, analyzed, reported, sold, and shared that extraordinary business insights are inevitable. And we’re just getting started.

But not so fast! With all this trumpeting of the “new” new thing, let’s not forget about what’s really important: Little Data.

Little Data

Big Data is the aggregated data from lots of individual consumer transactions (as well as all of the rest of the data in the digital wake now trailing behind each of us). The data is being used to determine how to sell to individuals and businesses. But you already have Little Data, and that Little Data can help you serve your clients and dream clients now.

Over time, you’ve captured your client’s communication preferences. You know that they prefer phone calls to email, or in some cases, they prefer a text message. You know that they like a follow up call when they place an order. You know that sometimes they need to see your face, and sometimes they just want you to listen. You’ve got information about your client’s communication preferences in your sales force automation software right now.

You’ve also captured information about your client’s ordering patterns. You know the big shifts in their business, their peak season, and their client’s ordering patterns. You’ve got this information in your system now.

You have a lot of data about your clients at your fingertips now.

Context and Insight

If you’ve done a reasonably good job capturing information from all of the interactions you’ve had with your clients and dream clients, you’ve also got something Big Data doesn’t necessarily give you: context.

I bought my son the Hellsing videos on Amazon.com. I think I bought two separate sets of videos. Now, Amazon is recommending I buy all kinds of cartoons and manga. The data collected doesn’t come with context. It doesn’t recognize that I am not my son, that the videos were a reward for good grades, and that they are cluttering my experience with what their data tells them I want to buy. It’s not the perfect analogy, but Amazon’s algorithm says that if I bought Helsing, I am interested the stuff that other Hellsing buyers bought.

You, on the other hand, know why your clients ordered what they ordered, when they’ll need to order it again, and how they might do better by doing something different.

You are all the time collecting and capturing data about your clients and your dream clients. But to make this Little Data work for you, you have to use it to generate insights, ideas, and value for your clients and your dream clients. Sometimes Little Data is more powerful than Big Data.

Questions

What little data do you collect?

What do you know about your clients that helps to you serve them better than anyone else could?

What ideas and insights does your insight give you?

Is your Little Data as important as any Big Data?

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