Forrester: Over-reliance on big data, siloed teams impede customer insights

As marketers, we strive to design customer experiences that leave lasting impressions, drive conversions and keep our customers coming back for more. But do we rely too heavily on big data instead of honing in on the specific actions that drive customer engagements?

A recent report from Forrester commissioned by customer insights software firm FocusVision surveyed over 500 U.S. consumers to describe what they thought and felt was a truly memorable customer experience and the specific elements of the component that made it memorable. Forrester also surveyed over 200 B2C marketing decision-makers, including 54 CMOs, to gain insight into what methodologies they use to understand their customers.

The report defines big data as a “combination of structured and unstructured data, including log files, transaction information, internet of things, social media metrics, etc.” It defines small data as “a combination of VOC data, customer journey data, user focus groups, surveys, behavioral user experience data, etc.”

Small data unlocks the “why” behind customers’ actions

Over-reliance on big data is a common trend, according to the report findings. When asked if their customer experience strategy and execution was informed more by big data or by small data, nearly a third (29%) of the respondents said they rely “completely” on big data when making decisions.

Looking only at big data often leads digital marketers to convoluted customer insights and challenges in terms of understanding the drivers behind customer actions. More than half of the brands surveyed agreed or agreed strongly that small data is critical to unlocking the thoughts and emotions behind the actions customers take.

Forty-one percent of brands using small data strongly agreed they know why a customer chooses to purchase from them versus those who don’t. For brands not using small data, this number drops ten points to only 31%.

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