Small Data: The Tiny Clues That Uncover Huge Trends

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1250080681

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Martin Lindstrom, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes, harnesses the power of “small data” in his quest to discover the next big thing

Hired by the world's leading brands to find out what makes their customers tick, Martin Lindstrom spends 300 nights a year in strangers’ homes, carefully observing every detail in order to uncover their hidden desires, and, ultimately, the clues to a multi-million dollar product.

Lindstrom connects the dots in this globetrotting narrative that will enthrall enterprising marketers, as well as anyone with a curiosity about the endless variations of human behavior. You’ll learn…

• How a noise reduction headset at 35,000 feet led to the creation of Pepsi’s new trademarked signature sound.
• How a worn down sneaker discovered in the home of an 11-year-old German boy led to LEGO’s incredible turnaround.
• How a magnet found on a fridge in Siberia resulted in a U.S. supermarket revolution.
• How a toy stuffed bear in a girl’s bedroom helped revolutionize a fashion retailer’s 1,000 stores in 20 different countries.
• How an ordinary bracelet helped Jenny Craig increase customer loyalty by 159% in less than a year.
• How the ergonomic layout of a car dashboard led to the redesign of the Roomba vacuum.

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or apartments where, with the owners’ permission, I make myself at home. The families and I fraternize, listen to music, watch television and eat all our meals together. During these visits—again, with permission—I go through refrigerators, open desk drawers and kitchen cabinets, scour books, magazines, music and movie collections and downloads, inspect purses, wallets, online search histories, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, emoji usage and Instagram and Snapchat accounts. In the search for what

people in their homes and watches what they are doing and how they shape their spaces. Martin did not sit down to write an explicit critique of Big Data. But by showing the virtues of Small Data he throws into stark relief some problems you should be aware of when you consider Big Data. Consider two: Big Data doesn’t spark insight. New ideas typically come from juxtaposition—combining two things that previously haven’t been combined. But Big Data typically lives in databases that are defined

searching for that one thing that will solve the puzzle, or provide the answer I need, even when I’m not sure what the puzzle consists of, or what it is exactly that I’m looking for. A lone piece of small data is almost never meaningful enough to build a case or create a hypothesis, but blended with other insights and observations gathered from around the world, the data eventually comes together to create a solution that forms the foundation of a future brand or business. My methods may be

structured, but they’re also based on a whole lot of mistakes, and trial and error, and faulty hypotheses that I have to toss out before starting over again. (I’ll go into my 7C methodology in much more detail in the final chapter.) When I enter someone’s home, the first thing I do is gather as much rational, observable data as I can. I make notes, take hundreds of photos, shoot video after video. The smallest detail, or gesture, may become the key to unlocking a desire that men, women and

category, then marketers who focus on consumer engagement and interaction belong to the “Feel” category.8 All three functions are essential, they argue. In short, the integration of online and offline data—that is to say, the marriage of big data and small data—is a crucial ingredient of marketing survival and success in the twenty-first century. This is understandable. We’re living in an era in which our online behaviors and communications are haunted by subtext and obfuscation. The German word

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