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Big or Small? Which Type of Data Should You Be Collecting?

Often, Big and Small Data are positioned against one another – which is more effective? Which is stronger? In reality, Big and Small Data should be used together – they are equally important!

Here’s why:

Big Data is what organizations know about their customers, viewers, employees, etc. From pulling large quantities of data for a variety of sources, organizations can analyze interactions, thus creating targeted communication. However, Small Data is what individuals know about themselves. This information gives us insight into our behaviors – what we buy, who we know, and so on.

Picture a world where we combine the focus of Big Data, to advance organizational goals, with the focus of Small Data, to help individuals achieve personal goals. This partnership could benefit almost any industry by building loyalty and increasing personal value between brands or services, and their customers.

Consider the following examples of why Big Data and Small Date should join forces:

Personalize the Experience

We are all familiar with retargeted ads. When we search for a product and then days later, that same product magically displays in the right column of our search engine. This is a prime example of Big Data without Small Data. To some, this sales tactic may come across as a little aggressive or bothersome. But if we take the same scenario and add Small Data to it, you might feel differently. Let me explain.

Say you are shopping in the grocery store and pick up this month’s handout, which consists of product discounts and sales. Instead of thumbing through the whole packet aimlessly, what if you received a personalized packet consisting of only the products that you would be specifically interested in? Your whole shopping experience would change because it would now focus on you and your needs, instead of the grocery store’s needs.

How could we accomplish this? Big Data + Small Data.

Increase Intelligence

Big Data alone is in control of the organization, not the individual. An organization must grant approval for individuals to access Big Data. Similarly, Small Data must grant organizations permission to access an individual’s Small Data. If Big Data and Small Data were to distribute control equally, organizations and individuals would be able to make better connections with one another.

For example, say a person is using their fitness tracker to track their heart rate during a workout. Based on the Small Data they receive from each workout, they can see the increase and decrease of their heart rate. That is great information, but it is limited. In this scenario if we were to combine Big Data with Small Data, this individual could discover how to regulate their heart rate based on their behavior. In other words, they could determine what types of workouts increase their heart rate, and discover new workouts to try in order to regulate their heart rate.

Empower Customers

From a marketer’s perspective, combining Big Data with Small Data could strengthen a brand and even boost sales. If a brand combined precision targeting with personal value, they would see an increase in their customer loyalty. The individual would not only learn about their product or services, but they would learn more about themselves as a consumer. Getting your message in front of the customer is one part of the equation, but going one step further, changing the way the customer makes decisions, is a new way of engaging your customer.

Using a combination of Big Data and Small Data will empower individuals to understand their preferences as consumers, will build greater loyalty between the brand and the individual, and will ignite a new kind of user experience.

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