Big Data, Small Community

I listened to What's Hot in 2014? - Festival of NewMR 2013 recently and heard from industry leaders Leonard Murphy and Simon Chadwick that the research techniques most widely adopted in the industry are Big Data and Online Communities.  And an interesting link between the two was mentioned – Big Data answers the “what” and Online Communities help us explore the “why.”

While these two techniques anchor the ends of the spectrum of what’s hot in the MR community, there remain challenges for today’s researcher.  With the availability of Big Data, companies are now equipped to understand their customers’ behavior in ways never before imagined.  However, Big Data does very little to help us understand why they’re doing what they do.  That’s where online communities can come in and fill in the proverbial blank.

Online communities allow the researcher to virtually live with consumers, getting to know them, sharing ideas, and regularly getting feedback.  In spite of their value, there are indications that that clients’ use of online communities is down.  Factors include budget and time constraints, logistics, and acceptance by management.

But it seems that this is a very short-sighted, 'penny-wise, pound-foolish' decision. Time and again, short-term communities have proven that they can help solve some of these issues by reducing costs and time investments. Fortunately, at BuzzBack, we’re seeing clients increasingly rely on this approach to dig deep with consumers and get to the “why” without having to spend a fortune to build a full community.