Master the small data first.

“Big Data ignores one important fact…”

Sitting amongst 200 keen marketers at the annual Smarter Data conference recently, there were some uncomfortable shifts in the room as Bob Frady from Zeeto Media made this statement during his Big Data presentation.

Is Frady not a fan of Big Data? Of course he is. The fact is, Frady’s company, Zeeto Media, runs a successful website that uses extensive testing and analytical data to drive decisions but also integrates the artistic side of communications to increase results. He highlighted that it’s the smaller things in life that can have the biggest impact. Such as:

Small data is the driver to discovery.

In a marketing sense, at the heart of any successful campaign lies strong content. This content is backed up by logic which is backed up by data. However, sometimes the complexity and sheer volume of this data takes away everyone’s focus from the big and sometimes overwhelming picture. Being pragmatic about data and going back to the basics can help us move forward.

Firstly, we need to start using the small data to answer the simple, but larger strategic questions: Who are we speaking to? How are we speaking to them? And why?

It’s as straight forward as knowing your customers first and last names and having their correct email address. Off the back of that comes the larger, behavioural data such as last purchase and amount spent. With the smaller data you’re able to build up the story which leads to discovery of your customers.

It’s ok to be wrong.

Well, kinda.

Think back to school. The kids who got the answers right the first time were rewarded. Those who were wrong, failed. It’s ingrained in us that failing a test is bad.

Relating this back, Frady says that the only way to turn around a successful online engagement programme is to test. And to fail that test again and again until you get it right is ok.

However, Frady referred to an example he saw in a data list which had confidential information in the ‘name’ field. Checks were not put in place and this information was sent in a subject line before it was tested. It was timely reminder that we need to get the smaller things right up front and test them. That way there’s no room for error.

More often than not, executives in the field who are ‘experts’ are afraid of testing, as they don’t want to get it wrong. It was interesting that a mere 1% of the room put their hands up when asked “Who here has done over 50 tests?”. The more testing we do, the more information we have.

Always have a good story to tell.

Your email universe should be your largest social network and according to Frady you’re probably not communicating to them enough. There is a fine line between having a good story to tell your customers daily and spamming them. As a benchmark, email should generate 5-6 times more revenue than social, as social is difficult to monetise.

A simple analogy Frady used was that if social media was a person at a party, they’d be the most popular. Email on the other hand may be left out and seen as a ‘has been’. With this popularity a lot of companies try and integrate social media into their marketing mix without nailing their email channel first.

Understanding the smaller data first could tell you straight away that only a small percent of your customer base interact with Facebook regularly. Is there any point talking to them through this channel when they’re not engaged?
If we master the small data first we’ll be able to conquer the big data. Test this at every stage possible and never lose sight of who your consumers are.

Author: Selena La Fleur, Account Executive