Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Live from FOCI 2013: Big Data, Little Data, New Data. aka Evolution

Always nice to get a big picture style history session: market research started because the data needed to make decisions was rare, which then transitioned into specialized skill sets revolving around analysis and such.

So then when did things blow up into big data?

Fast forward to today, and you have long surveys, declining responses rates, flat lined metrics, very little tie in to business performance and very low actionability. The reason for this is that data is not rare. Exponentially growing with population, it has exploded as both a challenge and an opportunity.

As Larry Friedman pointed out, its an evolution that now needs a new mind set. Old approaches are not necessarily right, and the assumption of truth is often wrong. Its almost like parenting and the generation gap, only applied to an industry. Technology will play a big role here, as he mentioned that SPSS and the likes may not work so well anymore. Multi source versus single source data will be necessary for modeling. Social media monitoring and discussion makes it easier to monitor and track responses to questions that need not be asked anymore, mostly psychographic or tracking related. What people say is acquired from social media, while tracking and timing behavior is found from other sources.

Ultimately its about the integration of different data sources - of which only one is on a survey. Evolution has never been as apparent as it is now.

Sourabh Sharma, Communication & Social Media Research Expert at SKIM, an international consultancy and marketing research agency, has a background in engineering, marketing and finance from the University of Pennsylvania, and the Wharton School and Rotterdam School of Management. Having worked in marketing and product development at L’Oreal, followed by a stint in management consulting, he now passionately enjoys the world of social media, and can be found on every platform with his alias sssourabh. He is a food critic and a fashion writer, and documents these alongside strategy on his blog called 3FS. He may be reached at s.sharma@skimgroup.com. Follow him on @sssourabh.

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