Product development is one corner of marketing that can significantly benefit from Little Data. Product marketers often use survey data and focus groups as a primary source of understanding consumer needs.
The problem with surveys is they are somewhat limited, expensive to commission and not always timely. Does a consumer care about one thing or the other? To go back and survey would take some time.
Focus groups have different issues. They are a good tool to understand issues deeply, when done skillfully. But the dynamics of the groups, as well as participant perception bias (participants care about how they are perceived and say what they think you want to hear or what they believe in) often colors the results.
One simple source of data available to product marketers is search data. This is truly reflective of user choices. What you type in the search box in the privacy of your home is a lot more indicative of your preferences than what you would indicate when filling out a survey or saying something in a focus group.
For example, ask people what is important to them in an SUV — safety or luxury. Perception bias often leads people to mention safety. However, if you look at search data from June 2014 to May 2015, there were 125,000 searches that were about safety-related SUVs — like “safest SUV” or “safest SUVs.” However, in the same period, 532,000 searches related to luxury SUVs like “luxury SUV” and “best luxury SUV!”
All you need to access search data is a simple AdWords account. Use the keyword planner tool to understand search volumes.