Marijane Funess November 11, 2014 | 09:33:39

5 Ways Small Data Beats Big In PR Programs

PR is catching up to the Big Data boom. One of the goals of a strategic PR program is often a series of newsworthy stories that are jam-packed with tacts and trends. Nothing’s changed there.
But for many of us, the “last mile” of Big Data is actually not as big as we might think. Sometimes, it pays to think smaller. Here are some ways that PR programs can use “downsized data” to achieve our goals without impacting the quality of our outcomes or insights.

Crack a consumer niche

For a client that markets a high-end therapeutic device for pain relief, we needed to reach sports enthusiasts like marathoners and triathletes, and the people who influence them, like trainers and physical therapists. As with any other segment, from progressive seniors to multitasking Millennials, homing in on the end-user takes a deep understanding of their interests, daily routines, social habits and pain points (pun intended), cross-referenced with their propensity for using and providing testimonials. We don’t need Big Data – just highly qualitative and very granular insights.

Personalize the pitch

Media outlets love data, but the “smaller” you can make the proof points, the more human the story will be. For example, a mobile shopping study we conducted for a client had plenty of macro-trend information about holiday buying plans, but it’s the smaller facts, like the spending gap between Android vs. iPhone users, that attracted the most attention. The larger figures offer credibility, but the details about different shopping and spending habits of different segments provide the spice.

Downsize the budget (but not the impact)

A B2B client may think an exhaustive industry study or review of client/customer behavior is the only way to produce long-form content to attract customers and reinforce a leadership position. Yet, a $5000 omnibus survey can sometimes be as useful as a $60,000 marketing study. We have also recommended that companies make use of owned research on several topical, timely subjects throughout the year rather than one annual industry overview that can be costly and outdated by the time the results are released.

Own the analysis, not the data

With a fresh analysis, you may not even need to own the data. For a client with a message about healthy sleep, we sliced and diced public-domain information from a series of CDC studies that including U.S. sleep trends. All it took was statistical software to parse the data by geography, age, and occupation. We packaged it well and presented it as a branded “sleep index” to media, who responded to the timeliness and provocative tidbits.

Individualize the offer

Customized Facebook quizzes, email personalized through marketing automation, real-time offers – as data grows, so does the need to get more personal. Content designed for consumers will increasingly need to be individualized – smaller, tailored, and snackable – in order to engage end users.

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