The Value of Small Data Mining
The more degrees of separation that are currently between you and your customers, the more faulty will be the basis that you are using to make strategic decisions.
Although there are plenty of insights to be gained from data analysis, your business does not actually happen within the confines of your ERP, CRM, projection models, sales forecasting conference calls, or executive staff meetings. Your business happens every moment at the customer level as your offered solution to their problem is judged, compared, and valued.
Despite knowing this, have you to some extent delegated your direct customer contact? In other words, how much non-orchestrated time do you actually spend engaging with and listening to your current or potential customers?
“Lip service” to being customer focused and engaged does a disservice to your customers, to your team, and to your ability as an executive to effectively lead your company and to deliver results to your shareholders. And you know this to be true.
Your customers want and need to be heard. Get to know these people who can teach you what you need to know to be more successful. By tapping into this source of insight, you will also boost your enjoyment and passion for your work. Yes, this is a nice side benefit of Small Data.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here. By all means embrace the power of Big Data, but do not do so at the expense of neglecting the power of Small Data. Analytics are a complement and not a substitute, so act accordingly.
As an example, an otherwise brilliant company, Netflix, could have avoided a major misstep a few years ago by vetting a Big Data decision against a bit of Small Data mining. In their case, the neighbor test was all that was needed. It would not have changed their strategic pricing model decision, but it certainly would have refined how it was positioned, communicated, and implemented.
As just one more example, I always encourage executives to take a few customer service calls each week as there is no better way to “keep your finger on the pulse” of your business. You will quickly know what you are doing well, and what you need to be doing far better. And your customers will take note.
Small Data adds richness to Big Data. So please get engaged, remove the walls, reach out, listen, learn, and lead. Live among your customers, and allow them to boost your odds of great success. As an executive, shouldn’t this be a priority for you?