“Small Data:” The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends


Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends" is a book about breaking perspectives in marketing research and capturing the stories that are missed by Big Data. Most businesses in a rush to Big Data may have minimized the importance of small data, talking to real customers, and simple observation. Author Martin Lindstrom brings this issue home with examples from consumers and industries around the world.

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Businesses want to know what’s in their customer’s brain. They want to know why customers choose this product and not that product.Big Data has gone a long way in answering these questions, but it doesn’t provide context.

Providing that context is the goal of “Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends.” In the book, Martin Lindstrom carries readers around the world to show how the tiniest clues from a consumer can lead to big insights for your business.

What is “Small Data” About

As author Martin Lindstrom points out, there isn’t a shortage of Big Data out there. From Facebook statistics to Google analytics, businesses have a wide range of tools to measure and categorize customer behavior. The problem, though, lies in the bigger picture. We all know that customers are more than data points, but lack the tools to act on this fact.

Lindstrom’s goal in his book “Small Data” is to help businesses bridge that gap between data and story. He demonstrates how understanding potential customers on a personal level helped him globally in his brand consulting work. In Russia, for example, observations about kitchen magnets helped him to successfully partner with Russian mothers to develop the first e-commerce business tailored to that audience. In India, he used cultural insight, interviews, and observation about the relationship between mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws to create cereal packaging that appealed to old and young alike.

The perspective in “Small Data” is the key to Lindstrom’s success. Lindstrom approaches marketing as a puzzle to solve. In his quest for answers, the author visited potential customer’s homes, interviewed them, and even went through their pocketbooks (with permission). The level of insight he gained, coupled with his knowledge of customer buying behavior, helped him to create and test lines of thinking that led him to deep insights that he wouldn’t have learned any other way.

The goal is to help readers understand the personal stories behind Big Data. Each click means something, but what it means differs from person. Despite the perception,shopping behavior is influenced by more than the online world. Shopping behavior is influenced by a complex array of factors. Understanding this complex environment with both big and small data is the key to understanding the complete story.

About the Author

Martin Lindstrom (@MartinLindstrom) is a branding consultant, speaker, author, and founder of Buyology, Inc. Over his 25-year work history, he has worked with national brands, governments, and celebrities. He was listed as honoree for the Influential 100 in Time magazine.

What’s Best About “Small Data”

The best part of “Small Data” is the unique perspective Lindstrom brings to the field of market research and branding. This perspective takes readers away from their computer screens and into the real world. Lindstrom takes a global approach that demonstrates that applicability of small data to various cultures and industries. In a world focused on Big Data, this book offers a unique and necessary alternative.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

“Small Data” does an incredible job of demonstrating the applicability of small data in a variety of unique and interesting situations that are designed to challenge reader’s perceptions. Lindstrom appears to be a “Sherlock Holmes”, able to dazzle the reader with insights out of thin air.

Lindstrom’s to translate that ability to his readers needs more work. The book provides a methodology but lacks the necessary guidance to help a beginner transition from novice to expert.

Why Read “Small Data”

This book is best suited for businesses who already use (or are thinking about using) Big Data. “Small Data” offers an alternative perspective to complement the data-gathering perspective. While more information is needed on how to successfully implement a small data campaign, this book provides excellent thinking points for getting the process started.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

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