Connecting survey data with big data

The world is changing and unfolding in a way that we could have hardly imagined 10 or 15 years ago – most of it is a result of technology and big data capabilities. For example, by 2021 we can anticipate over 46 billion connected devices. The impact of such a proliferation of technology will only lead to an exponential growth of available data. But it isn’t just data for data’s sake. Big data can be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends and associations relating to human behavior and interactions. If we translate that to market research, we can expect a new level of consumer understanding by leveraging big data in a meaningful way.

Current landscape

It’s not just data that is being affected; consumers’ needs are changing faster than ever too. With the $18 billion shift in share from large to small and mid-size businesses in 2017, it’s clear consumers want to feel that products are tailored to them; they want to feel connected to the brands they buy from. In order to keep up, researchers and marketers need modern, agile tools to take advantage of the wealth of consumer information now at their fingertips – at a time when both are asked to do more with smaller budgets and less time. Many look to technology and big data, yet the research industry is still lacking practical, modern solutions that will help improve the rate of product success efficiently and effectively.

In fact, most big data usage for the market research industry is experimentation versus full adoption – 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.

A scalable solution that shows a fuller consumer picture

It’s important to illuminate the magnitude of big data and its sources to understand its potential in research. To put it into perspective, one of the data management platforms (DMPs) we leverage at GutCheck has over 900 million consumer profiles globally with 10,000 different data points associated with it. To get even close to that amount of data from consumer surveys alone, you’d have to run about half a billion surveys. Relying solely on survey research or big data only tells half the consumer story. It’s the combination of the two that provides the full picture and leads to deeper audience understanding. While anyone can leverage a DMP to drive insights, brands can now augment their proprietary content (segmentations, concepts, creative tests, CRM data, etc.) with a DMP to draw out truly unique insights that translate back to their ROI.

That’s why we created GutCheck Constellation™, a solution that combines survey data with billions of big data points to provide a holistic picture of consumers, including how to effectively reach them. This solution enables clients to make big data actionable in a fast, affordable and scalable way.

For example, we ran 1,500 respondents through a segmentation for a client using our Agile Attitudes & Usage™ study. 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; and 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 four 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 eight 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.

The future of market research

Longer term, using agile solutions that are driven by a robust technology ecosystem means we will be able to ask consumers fewer survey questions by using existing big data. Due to automation and standardization, the cost of running big data augmentation is trivial to the project and the time to generate insights is measured in hours.

Within two years, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a survey that’s not augmented by or appended with big data. Solutions like ours that combine the best of both worlds will enable researchers and marketers to do more with less. And our understanding of consumer behavior is only going to grow exponentially as we continue successfully bringing these two worlds together.