The mission of next generation marketing research should be: Connecting the Dots

The mission of next generation marketing research should be: Connecting the Dots

Within market research, the notion of ‘connecting the dots’ is not new, if anything it may have been over-used to describe the data challenges during the last few years. A lot of traditional and new marketing research methods, processes and ideas are currently in flux, wrapped up in the social media frenzy. Everyone is talking about ‘big data analytics’ and how to extract value for organisations; all we read in shared content on social media is: the ‘new this’, the ‘new that’, the ‘first ever’ this and the ‘first ever’ that; how much of it should we pause and read carefully though? We have spoken about the deluge of data and information from this platform before…it is not getting any better.

So what do marketers need?

Do they need a process to help them sift through all possible content that they could be reading/viewing and acting upon? Do they need a ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) that gathers all the relevant content and makes it available simple to consume and “ready to eat” in one place? Do they need someone who can synthesize data from different sources and connect the dots for them?

Probably all of the above is needed, however there is one idea that is central to all: every time two dots are connected, a nugget of insight is created. SaaS data services are not enough to synthesize actionable business insights; the landscape of social consumer behaviour and activity is far too complex therefore, human intelligence is required to actually connect the dots.

The ‘nugget’ or ‘insight’ -which is the product of synthesis as opposed to analysis - is not visible to the bare eye. Machine learning type of logic may sometimes turn data into useful knowledge but in order to get to a true insight, the experience of an analyst combined with a good dosage of intuition is going to lead us to insights that have identifiable value for the business.

We firmly believe that the next generation marketing research agency will be a thought leader in active web listening with extreme focus on data quality and hygiene. The knowledge collated from listening to what customers say 24/7 will be analysed and then, within private online communities, certain issues, uncovered during listening will be discussed with customers and probed in online focus groups or using other online qualitative research tools. The learning during probing may lead to an adjustment of the ‘social media monitor variables’ in order to include additional or different online conversations. Next-gen marketing research is a virtuous circle of continuous: listening, probing and listening again using real-time data sources.

In simpler terms: connecting the dots.

What is your definition of next-gen marketing research?


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