These days, the biggest advantage you can have over the competition is understanding the current market better. It is no wonder that most larger companies invest heavily in market research in an attempt to make better business decisions.
When you are the first to identify and satisfy a need a customer may have before anyone else, this gives your brand a significant edge. You will establish yourself as an industry leader. Visionaries always get more attention.
Now, the way we acquire data to fuel our market research has changed significantly. In the past, we had fewer sources of credible data that showed us exactly how our customers behave. These days, we might have too much.
Big data is a big deal, but a lot of companies still struggle to utilize it efficiently.
What is big data?
Big data gets a bit of a bad rep. The reason for this is that data without processing is more of a problem than a solution. When big data started catching on as a trend, there was an immense focus on simply gathering data. There was no standardized approach to classifying and analyzing what you’ve gathered to draw conclusions that business decisions can be based on. The potential was there, but there was no way to process it efficiently.
These days, the amount of data we can gather is even more inflated, but we got a bit better at managing it. Furthermore, the tools we use to capture data have become more sophisticated.
We can now gather data independently or use various sources to gain access to insights about customers. The biggest companies that rely on big data these days are Google, Facebook, and Amazon, among others. We also gather data through our resources, like email marketing, website analytics, and many other sources.
What you follow and gather will depend largely on what question you want to find an answer to. This can range from specific questions like: “Is our UX design helping our conversion?” to the state of the overall niche.
How does big data help with market research?
We mentioned the brands that are current leaders in using big data for market research. They’ve proven that if you implement it correctly, you can gain an astonishing competitive advantage. These three companies have managed to turn big data into a service for their consumers. This led to a collective capitalization for the big three that goes above $1 trillion.
As for smaller companies, big data needn’t be as massive to be useful. Let’s break down what you need to do to use big data in your market research efforts:
1. Determining business needs and goals
Data is useless without direction. To determine which data to gather, you need to have an end goal in mind. This will help you identify which data pouring into your organization is essential. Whether it’s data coming from social media, website analytics, maybe it’s your email outreach efforts – regardless, your goal determines the journey you need to take.
2. Managing digital assets
Sometimes, one source of data is enough to draw conclusions relevant to your goals. More often, this data comes from various sources. This can be quite an issue as storing and sorting the data in a unified manner is a big challenge.
In many cases, messy data management may cause slow and imprecise analytics or even render everything you’ve gathered useless. This is why it is crucial to have a plan for this before you start.
Once you have all the data unified and neatly sorted, you can focus on analyzing the database to see where it points to.
3. Identify supplementary data (if needed)
Sometimes data indicates that you need more data. It is always a good idea to check if you need supplementary data to ensure the accuracy of conclusions drawn once you have a unified database.
In some cases, you won’t need anything more, but it is a good idea to ask the question, at least. Always ask the question – Are we missing something?
4. Identify leverage points
Finally, we come to leverage. We can use various approaches to leverage the data. These are some of them:
- Stream analysis
- Fraud detection
- Sentiment analysis
- Predictive analysis
What approach you use will largely depend on your goals and what you are aiming for. Researching these approaches will help you understand the depth of market research based on big data.
5. Maintaining consistent monitoring
This is one of the biggest challenges you will face with big data. Keeping data acquisition streamlined and effective is no small task. The reason we need constant monitoring is that data changes over time.
Market research can help us do things better, but it can also help us identify moments when markets change. When this happens, big data serves as a way to notice changes and adapt to the shift.
When we speak of market research, most people perceive it as a technique used mostly to boost marketing efficiency – which it is. Still, market research (especially one powered by big data) can be used for various things. Each aspect of your business can benefit from it—everything from sales, marketing, HR, conversion, and more.
The biggest issue you’ll be facing is implementing it for the first time. Once you’ve successfully gotten over the hump, you’ll find ways to make it more efficient, and it’s off to the races from there. Identify your priorities and ensure that a particular aspect of your business benefits from your significant data efforts.
The final piece of advice we’d like to leave you with is to plan things out. Big data management isn’t a cakewalk. It requires software solutions, a lot of planning and effort from a team to manage it properly. Many companies took it lightly and ended up wasting their resources – don’t be one of them.
Big data is a tool that you need to know how to use correctly.