Markets are moving faster than most businesses. While struggling to keep up, companies need to find ways to stay relevant in the marketplace. One ...

What is Thick Data?

Markets are moving faster than most businesses. While struggling to keep up, companies need to find ways to stay relevant in the marketplace. One method that will help is Thick Data. Spoon’s Agency Director in Malmö, Divya Ostwal, explains what it is and how it works.          

Marketers are swamped in data. But more data doesn’t necessarily equal business progress. You need information you can act on to improve the relationship with your customers.

The challenge many companies face is to gather the right data for your business. Often, when we discuss data – whether it’s Google Analytics or Google Data Studio – we overlook the value of qualitative research.

Divya Ostwal doesn’t make that mistake. She conducts both quantitative and qualitative analysis to gain a better understanding of your customers.

We sat down with her to discuss what Thick Data is, how it works, and why it matters for your business. 

Thick Data explained

“Thick Data means I use quantitative and qualitative analysis to understand user behaviour. I look at statistics, how visitors interact with the site and interview them to understand what they think. I simply help companies make smarter business decisions and tell more relevant stories,” Divya says.

To get started, companies can conduct ethnographic studies, use online surveys to quantify qualitative feedback, and to study user behaviour using Google Analytics.

One of the major benefits with this approach is that it forces companies to clarify their purpose.

Thick Data helps companies answer the key question “Why does it matter?” Often companies lack clarity about the purpose. Thick Data reveals that “‘It is not what you say it is, it is what THEY say it is”.

In short, it helps to bridge the image and identity gap, bringing consumers closer to the brand.

3 important tips for conducting qualitative interviews

Interviewing is a crucial aspect of the data collection process. But there are some important things you need to consider.

  1. Do not put multiple interviewees in the same room. This way you avoid that the behaviour and answers of one interviewee affects the other.
  2. Be agile. Change your next question based on the previous answers.
  3. Try and use the subject to conduct more than one form of test. Include a visual test, if possible, to break the monotony of questions.

It’s also a good idea to record the interview, so you can come back to the answers later.

Get to know your customers

When you interview real clients, you uncover important insights about your customers. You’re speaking with a real, breathing person, not a made-up, stereotypical persona.

This is the value of qualitative research – it captures more nuanced and rich information about the people you want to attract to your business.

Combining interviews with more quantitative measures allows companies to paint a fuller picture and to test their assumptions against the real world. Furthermore, it helps them to enter the conversation that is already going on inside their customers’ heads.

Stay relevant with Thick Data

Thick Data enables you to understand your customers from different points of view. Armed with this understanding, your communication will be more relevant and interesting.

“Thick Data makes communication measurable. Don’t forget to set KPIs and follow up on them. Thick Data makes communication dynamic. It allows you to iterate, measure and evaluate,” Divya says.

Markets get smarter by the day. Gathering and analysing data – both quantitative and qualitative – is an essential part for companies that want to stay relevant and grow their business.

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