Understanding the Customer through Big Data and Small Data

We hear a lot about ‘Big Data’ & ‘Small Data’. But what do they really mean? And how do they help you understand your customer? This infographic unpacks the buzzwords.

Infographic: Understanding the customer through Big Data and Small Data.

Big Data

How is it defined? Gartner’s early definition remains widely accepted: ‘Big Data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.’

In recent years, some definitions include additional ‘Vs’: Veracity – how accurate is the data, and Value – how useful is the data.

Small Data

How is it defined? There’s little agreement on the definition of Small Data. Allen Bonde, one of the earliest users of the term, defines it as connecting 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.’

Martin Lindstrom defines it as ‘the tiny clues that uncover huge trends’, based on observational data. It’s also defined as data that is small enough size for human comprehension.

Big Data + Small Data = Real Human Insight

Big Data helps us understand human actions and behaviors. Small Data helps us understand the attitudes, motivations, and emotions behind behaviors.

“The best, closest approximation of who we are as humans comes from mixing our online and offline selves, and from combining big data with small data.”

Martin Lindstrom

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