From communications, media, and entertainment to telecommunications and manufacturing, several industries have already seen the significant benefits of effectively leveraging big data solutions to drive insights that move their businesses forward. But there’s one industry in particular that is still behind: market research.
Without a structure or framework to precisely harness trillions of data points, it can be costly, and even impossible, to find meaning in large volumes of data in an efficient manner. Given the opportunities that the market research industry has to use third-party data in both day-to-day activities and big-picture decision-making, it’s clear that big data solutions, which have a projected spend of $187B, will become mainstream. Those who adopt will be able to make a data-driven impact on their business.
Based on reports from industry-leading publications in the market research space, a majority of brands and companies are already either leveraging big data or considering it as a new method. If market researchers want to help their teams drive personalized and consumer-centric products while increasing revenue and efficiencies, they need to understand the value of implementing the right data solution that enables them to take action and understand the story behind the data. However, market researchers haven’t adopted big data solutions at scale because the ones that currently exist aren’t agile, nor do they drive predictable ROI like they have for the advertising and marketing industries.
In 2011, programmatic advertising spend totaled $2.8B. Enabled by big data, it’s projected to grow to $32B by the end of the year. The reasons why are simple. First, the big data ecosystem that supports advertising is robust and has matured greatly over the last decade. Second, programmatic advertising provides a demonstrable ROI—marketers can target specific audiences in an automated process and close the loop with purchase data to calculate lift.
So how can researchers experience similar results and help bridge the gap between marketing strategy and activation?
It’s important to first illuminate the magnitude of big data and its sources to understand its potential in research. The data management platforms (DMP) we leverage at GutCheck have about 2 billion consumer profiles with 10,000 attributes. Put into perspective, you’d need to run 2–3 billion surveys to produce a similar amount of data. We believe the solutions the market research industry needs combine proprietary data from client surveys and other sources with third-party data. While anyone can leverage a DMP to drive insights, brands can augment their proprietary content (segmentations, concepts, creative tests, CRM data, etc.) with a DMP to draw out truly unique insights and gain a competitive advantage.
For example, we ran 1,500 respondents through a segmentation for a client using our Agile Attitudes & Usage™ product. Once respondents were segmented, we indexed them against our DMP with three explicit goals:
- Create rich personas for each segment
- Identify potential switchers and which competitive brands provide the greatest opportunity to target
- Identify which target audiences in the DMP would provide the most reach for media spending
The results were compelling. The segments had specific personality traits that are 4 times more prevalent than those of the general population, which had significant implications for communications positioning. We found a large number of switchers available in the market and identified two primary brands to position against to capture the most switchers. Finally, we identified audiences that are 8 times more efficient than the ones they were currently targeting. The findings provided our client the answers they needed to effectively message and activate against their retail conquests to grow market share.
Driven by a robust technology ecosystem, solutions like this can be incredibly agile in nature. Due to automation and standardization, the cost of running big data augmentation is a trivial cost of the project; the time to generate insights is measured in hours.
This is our future as researchers. Within two years, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a survey that’s not augmented or appended with third-party data. Long-term, these solutions will allow us to ask consumers fewer questions and generate deeper insights—ones that can be applied by teams across the spectrum from marketing strategy and analysis to media activation. Turning this $187B spend on big data solutions into valuable, unique insights will significantly change our industry and the way we conduct research. Using the right solutions will not only create common data currencies throughout organizations of all sizes, but will also increase fluency, efficiency, and effectiveness. On the flipside, those who fail to take advantage of fast, scalable solutions risk being left behind.
To learn more about an agile big data solution, download the snapshot below and you’ll see how GutCheck Constellation™ makes big data meaningful in an actionable way, to help grow your brand.