24 February 2022

Where big data meets small data. - guest blog by Jonas Berggren

Big Data and data analytics are important tools that can help companies to personalize the service they deliver to customers. By understanding how customers interact with your products, what they like and dislike and when they like to buy, you should be able to deliver better recommendations and offers - deals designed for one.

But that’s not the entire story.

 I think there is also room in this story for small data. What do I mean by small data? I’m thinking about services or information that may not seem relevant at all, but can dramatically improve the customer experience.

 We need to remember that customers are not just focused on the transaction. They want to browse. They want to learn more about products. There are opportunities along the customer journey to interact in ways that run in parallel to the main focus of getting the customer to a purchase as quickly as possible.

 Look at the file transfer service WeTransfer. They allow users to send really large files to each other - files that are much too large to send by email. You might think that this is a very basic service and the website would be functional - nothing more than details of which files to send and where to send them. But WeTransfer is different.

 WeTransfer invites artists to contribute their work for display on their site. They publish photography, images, and new articles by well-known authors. The Serbian artist Marina Abramović recently curated a series of presentations on meditation and described how she was delighted to present her work on WeTransfer because she expects her work to be seen by over 70 million people - as they wait for a file transfer to be completed.

 The payment app Klarna offers another example. Klarna offers customers the opportunity to buy products and then to pay for them later in installments. If you maintain the agreed repayment plan then it’s an interest-free option that makes purchasing simple.

 But Klarna also hosts live fashion shows on their app. On the surface it seems incongruous - why would a payment app be broadcasting live fashion shows? But Klarna is an extremely popular payment option with customers who are interested in online fashion so there is a built-in audience of millions of people who are likely to be interested in this content - plus they can build in the option to buy items that are being displayed in the show.

 I believe that this is a growing trend. Brands that truly understand their customers will know about their lifestyle and interests. Often they can create deeper engagement by doing more than just trying to sell more products. By generating interest in something like a fashion show the brand connects at a more emotional level and becomes seen as more useful. The fashion show may have no connection to the payments process or payments industry itself, but the customer feels that the app is more useful and interesting.

 Brands that focus only on the transaction will miss out if they don’t consider their customers as more than just a chance to sell more products. Think carefully about the services that may be able to run in parallel with your own and you could find that you are seen as more useful and essential than ever before.

 Let me know what you think about this idea of combining big and small data. Are you already focused on building a long-term customer relationship and how different is that strategy when compared to one that focuses only on the transaction?


First published on LinkedIn by Jonas Berggren, May 6, 2021