[Research Rockstar interns have written synopses of 2013’s best market research articles, as selected by Kathryn Korostoff. This is the fourth in our series. This synopsis was written by Research Rockstar intern, Audra Kohler.]
Originally published in: research.
November 26, 2013
Big data. The popular buzz word pops up constantly at market research events, in online discussions and in various industry publications. In one 2013 article, “Has big data made market research redundant?”, author Brian Tarran summarizes The Debating Group’s event (a forum which asked four speakers to answer the article’s title question).
So did this event shed any real light? What is the role of conventional market research when big data is getting a lot of investment and attention?
Big Data and Market Research: Better Together?
Based on the responses of the event’s participants, big data seems to pick up where market research leaves off, and vice versa. One speaker, Justin Sampson, chief executive of Barb, noted that big data fails to understand the context, and the social nature, of life. Market research can fill that void.
Big data and market research both provide equal value in information to the organization; at least according to Alex Chruszcz, head of insight and pricing at Asda. As quoted in the article, big data gives “the what, when, how and who.” The “why” is provided by market research. However, Chruszcz believes that big data will soon be able to answer the ‘why’ soon (though we remain unclear as to how this will happen).
Based on Tarran’s article, it seems that the experts were trying to provide a balanced view: both types of data sources provide value. But was it balanced because that is the true story, or because they were being politically correct? After all, it can be hard to speak to a room full of market researchers and tell them their role has become redundant because of big data.
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