Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Big Deal about Big Data in Market Research

The term "Big Data" is getting a lot of attention these days in business, but what does it mean exactly? What makes data "big"?

Big Data refers to "data that is too large, complex, and dynamic for any conventional data tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze.” What makes Big Data challenging is the volume, variety, and velocity of the data. It can come from any digital interactions among people, including virtual communities, social networks, blogs, medical devices, digital TV, e-commerce, bank cards, GPS devices, surveillance cameras, and more.

At last year’s TMRE, Inderpal Bhandari, Chief Data Officer & Vice President, Knowledge Solutions at Express Scripts and Debjani Deb, co-founder and managing partner, EmPower Research, sat down with IIR’s Marc Dresner to discuss each company’s use of Big Data and its importance.

According to Bhandari, you can think of Big Data as the advent of social media data that is now becoming available, which previously never used to exist. This allows companies to get a window into the mind of their key stakeholders.

“Now, you can look at the data as it unfolds in social media, so as people are sharing their feelings you can try to understand what their sentiment is around key entities that have business value,” he explained.

However, Deb said the challenge is taking the high volume, very fast-growing data and marry it to internal repositories such as a call center, a survey bank, a focus group, etc. because they are all trying to tell the same story. And, one needs to be able to reconcile that story across all of those data banks for each touch point.

How do you do it?

“It’s two-fold,” said Deb. “You have to use technology where it belongs, and then you have to take it the extra mile using human analytics.”

Today, technology can take you about 65 percent the way there, but afterwards, you must have human beings draw the insights of the true meaning. According to Deb, over time this will get better.

“Technology will take larger leaps because this is a burning problem for corporations,” she added. ”Over the next few years we will see highly automated systems that will enable the agile decision-making that companies will be looking for.”

The bottom line, according to Bhandari, is you have to participate. You can’t be left out because it is opening up a whole vista that we never had access to. “If you are able to inform your pricing strategy in real-time and your competitor is not, you will be at a decided advantage to be able to do it,” he said.

Check out the full interview below:

Want to learn more and meet experts just like Bhandari and Deb in person? Register for TMRE 2013 today! Click here: http://bit.ly/18aBpZK

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at aciccatelli@iirusa.com. Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 
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