If companies want to understand consumers, big data offers a valuable but incomplete solution. Our preoccupation with digital data endangers high-quality insights and observations. The internet remains a curated, idealized version of who we are. Small data has the power to influence the way we create products and marketing campaigns that actually matter to the whole person, not just the persona they’re presenting.

In Episode 91 of the Bright Planning Marketing Podcast, we talk about how to gather small data in order to level up your marketing game. There is a framework for collecting small data, but it’s challenging, so many companies don’t bother. You can use the seven C’s to gather small data for your business: Collecting, Clues, Connecting, Causation, Correlation, Compensation and Concept.

“Collecting” asks how we can establish a baseline perspective and gathers as many different perspectives from as many trustworthy sources as possible. The “Clues” phase consists of observing and notating information about your customers’ idealized, publicly curated and private selves.

“Connecting” looks for any similarities or patterns in the midst of the information you’ve gathered. Start assessing whether you can begin to validate your initial hypothesis about your customers. “Causation” examines what emotion is evoked. It’s important to look for the emotional DNA of the research. Put yourself in the shoes of your customers.

In the “Correlation” phase, you take time to assess whether there is an event, milestone or shift that your company has made — or that your consumers have gone through — to bring them to this point. Also, try to determine whether your brand was influential.

“Compensation” examines which desire is not being fulfilled and the best way to fulfill it. Note that emotional fulfillment and physical fulfillment are very different. And based on what you’ve learned about your customers, “Concept” explores the big idea that your brand can bring to the table to fulfill their desires. Listen to learn more!

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