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Small Data, Yogurt Bowls, and Getting to Know Your Audience

Discover the difference small data can make in narrowing down target audience behaviors and affecting advertising practices.

Revolution Digital  |  June 10, 2021
Small Data, Yogurt Bowls, and Getting to Know Your Audience

There was once a time when the only thing known about an advertising audience was that they liked whatever television show your content was interrupting (probably 90210). And that didn’t really tell you much, because back then there weren’t even that many shows. Now, there is so much information available, whole new jobs have been created just to parse through it all. But what we’re finding, as our strategies and tactics mature in the age of BIG Data (dah dah dah dum), is that all that information is leaving us no closer to our audience than when we were all meeting at the Peach Pit after school. So, with what do we supplement our big data to make our content powerful and relevant? Sorry, future robot overlords: the answer is people.

This all became clear to me not that long ago while working on a global yogurt brand. Our clients had all the data points, and after meeting with the good people at Facebook and Google, we thought we had a good picture of who our audience was, why they were buying yogurt, and even what problem it was solving for them. But what we found out was that Big Data was only giving us part of the picture. The more we listened to our audience and interacted with them, the more we found out about how they really related to yogurt and our brand.

For instance, at the start of the project, our clients believed that yogurt was a tool. The picture they had of the audience was that they wanted something fast and portable with a bunch of protein; they didn’t have the time or the inclination to stop everything for a meal. The act of eating a sit-down meal wasn’t even important to them. Our audience wanted to eat quickly, wherever they were, and keep powering through their day. But as we gathered small data (a.k.a. intimate data) on our audience, we began to see an entirely different picture.

Our process calls for extensive audience listening and testing, which allows us to get to know our audience from an up-close and personal perspective. In this case, it was revealed that our target’s motivations were a little different than we had thought. A lot of yogurt eaters weren’t simply rushing through their yogurt so they could keep working. Quite the opposite, they were constructing beautiful yogurt bowls, with fruits, seeds, nuts, and whatever else they liked. Then, they were posting pictures of their yogurt bowls, showing pride in what they were eating and in how much effort they were applying to their meals. It was almost like they were bragging about their healthy choices. They were healthy + wellness braggers.

We also found that they weren’t entirely satisfied with what was in their yogurt. A significant portion of the audience was concerned with sugar content. As a matter of fact, concerns around sugar were causing people to flee the category at an alarming rate. And as we dug deeper into this, we began to subdivide our audience in different ways. Instead of continuing to message people looking for a meal substitute, we constructed our content to be part of the conversation our audiences were already having. We spoke to different segments using their own conversations, comments, and concerns as fuel.

In the end, our client used our research to launch an innovative new line of yogurt made with as little sugar as possible. The small data we collected informed our messaging, allowing us to introduce our audience to the yogurt they had asked for. Additionally, we were able to intercept conversations around sugar and reel in sugar-conscious people from all over. Did it work? The brand created an additional 68.4 million in sales in its first year. Pretty sweet, right? It just goes to show that small data can add a lot of color to the picture we have of our audience. It’s also the reason I sometimes shout “yogurt bowl” when I’m really happy.

At Revolution Digital, our team of strategists, community managers, and creatives are always looking for new ways to gain a more thorough and complete understanding of who our audiences are and what they want. Our exploration of small data is just part of the “Rev-D i” approach that informs our strategies and gives our content the impact to allow brands to exceed their KPIs and brand managers to exceed their business objectives. Want to find out more about Rev-D i and how Revolution Digital supplements Big Data to create hard hitting work? Read about it here. Or contact our new business team and get to know your audience in a whole new way.

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