No amount of data analysis can replace understanding how your product or service functions in the lives of your customers. Measure and listen and then leverage your understanding to make your customers' lives better.
Marketwatch WSJ archives: 'Thick Data' lessons from stoma bags and Lego bricks, 2014-Mar-23 by Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel B. Rasmussen
In fact, companies that rely too much on the numbers, graphs and factoids of Big Data risk insulating themselves from the rich, qualitative reality of their customers’ everyday lives. They can lose the ability to imagine and intuit how the world — and their own businesses — might be evolving. By outsourcing our thinking to Big Data, our ability to make sense of the world by careful observation begins to wither, just as you miss the feel and texture of a new city by navigating it only with the help of a GPS.
Successful companies and executives work to understand the emotional, even visceral context in which people encounter their product or service, and they are able to adapt when circumstances change. They are able to use what we like to call Thick Data.