First the big hype was all about “Big Data” but now there is some buzz generating for “Small Data”.  The concept of big data has caused strain at many companies as they realize their databases lack both the size and sophistication necessary to analyze large amounts of data and produce actionable next steps.  Ultimately, utilizing big data is not feasible for many companies, and likely will never be.  Companies need to work with what is available and focus on deriving insights from the data it has on hand.

As a market research and marketing consulting company, we’ve been familiar with the concept of small data for a while. However, we simply refer to it as just plain old “data”.  We’re in an age where it is becoming easier than ever for small to medium size businesses to collect data on their customers and the usage of products of services.

Here are 4 basic types of small data to review that does not require a sophisticated database, tracking tool, or staff hours:

  • Loyalty Data – Collecting loyalty data is all about uniquely identifying your customers or clients (through loyalty cards, customer IDs, usernames, etc.). Once customers are identified, you can collect longitudinal data recording purchasing habits, as well as comparing purchasing data to demographic data to create niche buyer segments.
  •  Satisfaction Data – Many companies collect satisfaction data, but ultimately don’t do anything to aggregate and analyze it. This is a great place to start for understanding customer satisfaction. This can be collected through a simple customer comment box, survey posted on your website, or through a Quick Pulse telephone survey.
  • Lead Data – Tracking the source of leads can be hugely beneficial for a company. Asking all new customers, “How did you hear about us?”, and analyzing those results can be quite eye-opening, yet many businesses fail to collect this information. Tracking the source of new customers will help with optimizing your marketing budget by letting you know what is working, and what isn’t.
  • Product and Service Usage Data – Tracking which products and services are being purchased and how frequently they are being purchased can provide lots of insights. While this ultimately might lead to more questions (like why a product is or isn’t being utilized?), it is certainly a step in the right direction to understanding what your customers want from your company.

While every company is at a different stage with data management, companies need to become experts on garnering actionable insights from the data it has and look for ways to acquire data it needs. Technology is making it easier than ever for companies to get started with data management, whether it be big data, small data, or any data. CRM systems (Customer Relation Management) and POS (Point-of-Sale) systems are two great examples of systems that allow you to track, report, and analyze customer and transaction data.  Additionally, businesses that have a web presence have a variety of different website and social analytic tools at its disposal. 

Utilizing and making sense of your company’s available data can provide the insights necessary to successfully market, operate, and grow a business.  Are you a company looking to analyze data, or trying to bring of all your data and findings together in a productive manner?  Feel free to call our Business Development Director, Sandy Baker, at 1-866-567-5422 or email her at