With consumers disseminating vast amounts of data at incredible speed and volume, today’s researchers have a unique opportunity to help clients make decisions based on facts and research that go beyond customer opinion.
For businesses to gain a competitive advantage they need to have access to customer insights that allow them to better understand consumer behaviour. What people buy and from where, their interests and the websites they visit. Business intelligence has evolved into a holistic approach that, rather than drawing on a series of disparate information sources, creates a more accurate profile of individuals. This added layer of insight removes much of the guesswork and generates a genuine behavioural picture of what people think and do.
Multi-disciplined perspectives, diversity, and emotional intelligence
By incorporating behavioural data, business intelligence allows us to create a world in which the consumer wants to participate, share opinions and learnings, swap ideas and receive suggestions. This requires a different approach to surveys whereby interviewees are viewed as active participants as opposed to passive respondents.
Surveys of the past were one-off, moment-in-time snapshots of stated opinions. Now, we have the ability to continually build our knowledge bank on individuals and can therefore predict their behaviour more accurately.
By building a panel of participants, sharing information with them, and giving them the ability to share with like-minded people, we also gain greater insight into their emotions. Truly understanding consumer emotions isn’t just about measuring speed of response rates, or facial coding. These can help, but to truly understand emotions you need to delve deeper. Do they own a dog or a cat? Do they practise yoga, watch romantic movies, share recipes or enjoy hiking? This added layer of information tells us a great deal about people’s emotional lives and also provides awareness about the value segments into which they fit.
Beyond big data
Researchers are continuing to build on individual profiles to create this greater depth of understanding. To do this well, your business needs to be more than just a survey company. Adopt a collaborative mindset towards participants. Give back as much as you receive, help, entertain and inform them, as much as they are informing you.
Big data is just that – data. It isn’t attached to an individual and doesn’t reveal attitudes. Only through continual profiling can you build personalised big data. This is how business intelligence and big data can work together to deliver richer profiles. This enables clients to better meet the needs of customers who are engaging with their brand across a variety of platforms and channels.
Multiple information sources such as websites people visit, online purchases, loyalty scheme participation and media habits all contribute to our understanding.
Research then needs to continually mine this data, looking for patterns and missed opportunities. In this way we are proactive and can take ideas and opportunities to our clients without waiting to be asked.
When we provide this information in an easy-to-use interface, clients can sift through themselves, again, looking for opportunities and gaps.
The way forward
Traditional market researchers are realising they need more than just a survey tool and are hiring people whose main skill is not quantitative market research. Modern research teams are likely to include business consultants, neuroscience specialists, and data-visualisation experts who can transform research into business recommendations.
To adapt to changing times, they are also forming partnerships with media companies, loyalty programs, and ecommerce companies to craft more insightful and intuitive profiles. This innovative new approach allows today’s researchers to better work with clients to develop personalised customer solutions.