You've all heard the phrase – ‘think big, pack small’. And, if you travel on budget airlines like me, you've probably had it tattooed on your wrist! But there is some truth to the saying when it comes to marketing data; you can achieve big results if you analyse small data in tiny batches.

Naturally, small data is the little brother of big data. After dominating the industrial environment for more than a year now, the concept of big data has some serious competition.

Gathering vast amounts of information about customer behaviour, spending habits or political preferences is all well and good, but do you really need all of that? Big data can sometimes feel like overkill and it can cloud your strategic direction.

As defined by a recent study, “small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or local sources), organized and packaged – often visually – to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.” 

The benefit in using small data is that you don’t need a full blown data analyst in-house to work on mountains of information. Small data can be collected by each and every one of us - just by keeping our eyes open to the social channels available online.

It becomes clear that it is harder to collect and more time consuming. Even so, it is in our direct reach, whether you are a big business or an SME. It can also prove to be much more rewarding as it focuses on the end user experience; so the sales funnel can be tailored towards it.

Small data is considered to be the next major step for marketers and anyone that has a product or service to sell. As a result of its more consumer-marketing like approach, small data is all about the context, the individuals and their personal requirements.

From a marketer’s perspective, small data is everything that comes to us via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and the myriad of sites people use to exchange advice and views on products.

All of this information acquired via small data gathering can be used as transactional tools, such as CRM type information, online data, such as web reports, and social data.

If for big data the one rule was “the more, the better”, for small data things are a bit different.

Firstly, it is important to keep things simple and easy to understand for the human mind. You also have to be smart about it by remaining responsive and social at all times. Taking advantage of trends like wearable computing and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is essential for small data strategists.

Unlike its bigger sibling, small data can be used by anyone, irrespective of business size, the marketing tools available or industry sector. If you are an SME wishing to tap onto the social aspects of small data give Stone Junction a ring and see how we can help.

Image courtesy of Michael Elliott on

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