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There’s no denying the power of big data and its role in understanding what your customers are doing and where. For years, these extremely large data sets have been used to reveal patterns and associations in customer behavior. But in order to determine the best engagement experience to intercept them in their journey, it’s critical to understand “why” customers are behaving a certain way, and using small data is often the best way to do so.

In the adage: “Get the right content in front of the right people at the right time,” the “right content” is largely driven by small data. Substitute “right experience” for “right content,” and it’s easy to see why CX professionals are so eager to get insight into the motives of behavior to connect with customers on a visceral or emotional level in both b2c and b2b scenarios.

So how do you capture small data based on individual behavior that can be easily analyzed and acted upon? Standard qualitative methods like surveys and focus groups still work effectively; in fact, there are more tools and services available than ever before to intercept customers along their various journeys and glean insight in real time.

These insights into your customers allows you to add emotional depth to your journey maps and personas, too—informing everything from messaging strategies to website optimizations. Tools and tactics like peak-end mapping can help ensure that your customers leave every interaction with your brand with a positive recollection of the experience.

At Primacy, we focus on creating smarter experiences that connect with people during meaningful moments. We do this through small data insights from real-time data collection that ensures that we understand the most intense point of a journey or task (i.e., the “peak”) as well as the final moment (i.e., the “end”). If we can guide customers through the peak gracefully and create an unexpected end—we will have delivered an experience that differentiates in the marketplace.

Small Data Drives ROI

While “big data” has been the headline for quite some time now, many companies still have challenges making this data actionable. Disparate/siloed data sources and antiquated backend systems often exacerbate the issue, which means big data projects quickly become time and resource intensive. And even the models of the most sophisticated decision scientists take time to prove, normalize and optimize. This will be especially difficult as we head into 2021 when we try to use historical data to predict customer behavior in an atypical scenario.

Instead, a modest level of investment in small data collection and synthesis can pay significant dividends relatively quickly if you have a nimble CX team and a flexible framework that allows you to adjust the experience based on real-time voice of customer (VoC) data and corresponding insights. And when we say, “modest investment,” we’re talking about a few thousand dollars—in some cases even a few hundred dollars—that can help improve CX considerably. We do this through various guerilla-style research tactics that allow us to focus on time and attention of synthesizing small samples of data and revisiting over time, rather than spending months in data collection and cleansing. Best of all, you can measure the impact in real time and continue to make measured investments based on increased contribution and profitable growth.

Small Data has Limited Barrier to Entry

Perhaps one of the best aspects of small data is that you can get started today. That’s especially important as we plan for 2021. A recent Gartner survey indicates nearly half of CMOs (44%) expect budget cuts of five to 15 percent or more. And we hear across our client base that there’s an appetite to do more with the same (best case) or, in some cases (as the Gartner survey suggests), more with less. In either scenario, the importance of making the most of your current marketing spend is as profound as ever. Small data can help.

Get close to your P&L owners and ensure you’re aligned and focused on the biggest drivers of business value. Next, identify the key experiences that support those business drivers and start leveraging small data to see into the hearts and minds of your customers as they traverse those experiences. The net result will be better outcomes for your customers and continued profitable growth and operational efficiencies for your organization.

Get Started Today

Sometimes the best way to get started is to just get started. That’s the power of nimble, modestly priced guerilla-style research. So, I’m hopeful this primer was enough to prompt you to get started. You can do it. And it will be meaningful.

Contact us to learn more about our data and research capabilities, and the different approaches your business can take to small data, and how it can drive big insights.

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Author: Craig Kallin

As SVP of Strategic Solutions, Craig is involved with overall business and marketing strategies for Primacy's clients. With a background in digital and omnichannel marketing, Craig partners with research, technology, and marketing teams to ensure our clients are successful in their long-term efforts.


Published September 2020

Category Research

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