Small Data - Martin Lindstrom

Small Data - Martin Lindstrom

Learn the successful techniques of one of the largest marketing consultants in the world and see how it is possible to find great opportunities in small everyday details.

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Have you noticed how, despite the evolution of online data collection systems, it has become increasingly difficult to decipher the taste of modern consumers?

Contrary to classic market research, Martin Lindstrom goes as far as "Big Data" does not reach, finding in small details of everyday opportunities for multi-million dollar ventures.

Do you want to understand the head of this Danish visionary? So, come with us in this summary of the book "Small Data".

About the book "Small Data"

"Small Data" published in 2016, is Lindstrom's seventh book. There are 240 pages, divided into 8 chapters and an introduction, where Lindstrom introduces us to the main concepts of his innovative idea generation methodology.

Throughout the book, he reports on his role as a marketing consultant around the world, demonstrating the application and outcome of his methods for collecting and interpreting small data.

About the author Martin Lindstrom

Martin Lindstrom is a Danish author specialized in branding and consumer behavior. He is currently a columnist for Fast Company and Harvard Business Review.

Responsible for very successful marketing strategies, Lindstrom has collaborated with large companies such as Lego, Disney and McDonald's.

He has seven published books, of which we highlight "Buyology", and "Brandwashed: the hidden side of marketing".

To whom is this book indicated?

The book "Small Data" is indicated to marketers and students looking for ways to innovate their advertising strategies in today's technology world.

Main ideas of the book "Small Data"

  • People show much of their personality through unconscious behaviors. Lindstrom calls these phenomena "small data";
  • These habits may point to certain repressed impulses of these individuals (desires, fears, needs...);
  • Through what the author calls Subtext Search, it is possible to identify which of these clues can generate promising ventures;
  • It is essential for the application of the method that you maintain an external perception of the object investigated and know how to cross the information obtained;
  • Despite being a methodology, the author expresses that it is ideal to be flexible in its application.

Next, we will summarize Lindstrom's experiences and outline the main points of his idea generation method. Are you ready?

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[Book Summary] Small Data - Martin Lindstrom

Overview: Introduction

In his childhood, Martin Lindstrom developed the remarkable ability to scrutinize people. He realized that certain unconscious behaviors - such as habits, rituals, or addictions - reveal unique aspects of each individual's personality.

Through Subtext Searches, the Dane collects and interprets information, producing a mapping of consumers' repressed desires. Such research, developed by the author Martin Lindstrom, reveals the key data for a successful business decision.

The efficiency of his method lies in the type of information obtained: small data reveals characteristics of the human being that large market research is unable to identify.

Overview: Fanning the desire

In the first chapter of the book "Small Data", Lindstrom reports the time he was hired to run a billionaire business in Russia. The nature of the venture was his decision. For a few weeks, he joined the Russian community in search of clues pointing to some promising trend.

What he found was a culture of few colors, marked by a crackdown on creativity and a strong desire to escape reality. He also realized that Russian women felt isolated and repressed their femininity to suit the behavior required by society.

The biggest small data he discovered was the surprising amount of fridge magnets in Russian homes. Associated with the prevailing desire for escapism in the country, magnets are a way of offsetting the pent-up desire to travel, something that is beyond the average Russian household budget.

From the information collected, Mamagazin, an e-commerce site was built to make Russian mothers feel heard. The project was unveiled through the Mamafests, nationally themed travel events around the world, as well as meetings between moms across the country.

Overview: Transforming the supermarkets

The second chapter deals with the renewal strategy of Lowe Foods, an American market chain that since 2008 was losing ground to the Internet and Walmart.

In his time in the United States, Lindstrom noticed elements of local culture that pointed to a lack of individual freedom:

  • Absence of physical contact and sense of community; and
  • The predominance of politically correct and rounded shapes.

The new Lowes is designed to be an oasis, a dream destination that encourages consumers to feel comfortable, free. The market was designed with rectangular shapes, which contrast with the circular environments common to Americans.

The company's new branding emphasizes the freshness and quality of the regional products offered, and employees were trained to treat the merchandise with care.

In addition, hired managers were responsible for analyzing consumers' expressions to ensure they were satisfied where they shopped, feeling "at home."

Overview: Sealing the peace with cereal

This chapter of the book "Small Data", deals with the time Lindstrom traveled to India to redesign the cereal brand packaging of a major producer that, after decades of success, was losing consumers. The product's target audience is first-time moms.

He identified a peculiarity of Indian culture that directly impacted the consumption of household products: the conflicting relationship between Indian mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Both present themselves as coordinators of their homes and have completely different worldviews.

In Subtext Research, he concluded that Indian mothers-in-law take care of food, while their daughters-in-law take care of clothes and dishes. The brand would need to design a package that would touch the hearts of the two audiences in question.

But it was not that simple: the Indian government does not allow packaging that has a human image. So a picture of a baby, for example, was not an option that could solve the problem.

Hence, by analyzing consumer behavior in the markets, he developed the ideal configuration for a package that appealed to both. The color was changed depending on how the product is displayed, and images of a baby spoon were stamped in order to reach the emotional of the customers.

Overview: A Diet That Doesn't Cut Carbohydrates From Customer Appreciation

In her work for Jenny Craig Inc., Martin Lindstrom's mission was to develop a way to build customer loyalty for a diet company. The company is of considerable size, however, throughout its expansion, it ended up losing personality.

In the Subtext Survey, he outlined a medium profile of the company's audience, concluding that customers were not feeling rewarded. In addition, he noted in the behavior of respondents a strong tendency toward superstition.

Hence, he developed a bracelet and pendants to be freely distributed to Jenny Craig Inc. 's customers. This project was inspired by the jewelry brand Trollbeads, which acts on the emotional of its consumers.

These accessories were designed to correspond to significant moments of the diet process provided by the company, creating an emotional bond with the brand.

Overview: Do you want a cold beer?

On his trip to Brazil, Martin made a commitment to collaborate with Kirin to restore the status of the Devassa beer. Lindstrom realized in the country that, in addition to having a well-demarcated economy class culture with distinct tastes and desires, personal identity is associated with brand consumption.

Devassa's renewal strategy had as its key element the association of beer with Rio's lifestyle, through the collaboration of influencers who acted as brand ambassadors promoting cultural events.

Through stimulating the senses - a new beer bottle that emphasizes its aroma and a new ambient sound for Devassa's restaurant bars - beer consumption has been transformed into a memorable experience.

Overview: The relaunch of a clothing brand

In her collaboration with Tally Weijl, Lindstrom's job was to address the stranded goods of the Swiss-French clothing brand. Such a company was losing customers - teenage girls - to e-commerce. Lindstrom then realized that it was necessary to dig up data that could create and strengthen loyalty to Tally.

He researched the lifestyle of the brand's audience by analyzing the content of their bedrooms, bathrooms and social networking pages through selfies. Martin has identified a strong dedication to self-image and fashion, as well as dependence on smartphones.

Understanding the behavior of the public, it was evident that it was necessary to restructure physical stores - described by consumers as a "sensory overload" - integrating aspects of social networks.

Tally 2.0 is designed to be large, modern and lush, with internet-connected fitting rooms that enable customers to try the products with the company and virtual opinion of their friends.

Overview: Made in China

When asked to develop the branding of a Chinese car, Lindstrom was challenged to change the idea that was associated with the "Made in China" concept.

Lindstrom says that in China every expression is tamed, making it difficult to decipher the emotions of the Chinese. Through the security cameras of a store, he analyzed consumers' body language to find tips that would help them penetrate their emotional.

In this case, then, Subtext Search focused on finding out what quality meant to the Chinese: speed.

The car, with its fast-opening doors, acoustic ambiance and full-button panel is designed to be fast, powerful and masculine... A contrasting experience with the driver's daily life.

Overview: A behind-the-scenes look

In the last chapter of the book, Lindstrom explains how to apply his methods in business and everyday life, through what he calls the 7C methodology, which is based on:

  • Collection;
  • Communication;
  • Connection;
  • Correlation;
  • Causality;
  • Compensation; and
  • Concept.

First, real contact with your business and your customers, no matter what it is, is essential. Keeping this in mind, do your best to get an outside perspective on the observed phenomena.

In Subtext Search, come up with an initial hypothesis about the researched consumer, and look for elements that confirm it. If you're in a dead-end, no problem, change the approach.

A successful business predicts the wishes of its customers. Pay attention to the moments of emotional fulfillment of the interviewee. Compare them with the person's daily life and you will find the key to desire.

Organize the information collected and look for similarities between the observed data. With the research finished, it's time to make room for ideas to flow.

Finally, he recalls that only the information collected by Big Data is not enough, and claims that optimal market research is made up of the combination of big and small data.

What do other authors say about it?

"Dotcom Secrets" is a work that reveals the secrets of digital marketing. Russell Brunson reveals the importance of creating an attractive character. This concept involves finding ways to divide your story between elements, identity, and narratives, making it engaging and getting people to follow you for finding a personal connection.

Jay Conrad Levinson, in his work "Guerrilla Marketing", presents a way to generate more impact on marketing with lower costs. For this, he suggests digital media as essential in brand and product promotion, using tools such as Email Marketing, for example.

Finally, in "This Is Marketing", Seth Godin says effective marketing begins with identifying people's intrinsic needs and wants. These are usually related to different emotional aspirations such as adventure, connection, freedom, tranquility, and strength.

Okay, but how can I apply this to my life?

  • Integrate with your business. Knowing how your customers interact with your product or service is essential;
  • Make records of your research (photos, videos, notes...) and build mind maps, planning the collected data;
  • Flex your approach, each survey will have different peculiarities;
  • Encourage your creativity; moments of distraction are essential to developing successful ideas.

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Book 'Small Data'