About 0.5% – 3% of revenues are spent on collecting consumer insights and conducting market research. Consumer brand behemoths such as Coca Cola or P&G spend significant amounts on research – and owe a lot of their success and longevity to staying close to the consumer.
Research helps create better products, concepts, and campaigns. Insights help to keep strategy aligned with the sentiment on the ground.
Our conversations with several CMOs have revealed their desire to learn more, but faster and with reduced spends.
The question is whether this is possible?
A lot has been written about how “big data” is a big deal. But “big data” is rife with what a data scientist or a market researcher would frustratingly call “noise”. Data (and a lot of it) has been available, but what has made it less usable and therefore less valuable, is our inability to extract what we need from this “mess”. Our inability to distill the key insight. Insight, which is like a needle in the haystack. So, this debilitating limitation has held us back. Until now.
But things are different today. What is different?
Three things are coming together to make us re-evaluate.
- The availability of big data. Thanks to the digitization of everything under the sun, proliferation of online conversations – we have data streams coming out from every platform, device and system possible. So, yes, copious data is available.
- Maturity of infrastructure to deal with this “big data”. Not long ago, the ability to deal, stack and query this data was considered an important skill. It is now omnipresent.
- Finally, AI methods and the infrastructure to make these more powerful. GPUs, Transfer Learning Methods and the like make it now possible to clean the data and draw the insights which you’d like to. Our team does all of this in real-time and in the cloud. Read more here.
Alternative data is disrupting a variety of sectors. Quandl, now acquired by NASDAQ, makes it mainstream to use alternative data for investment decision making. Sentieo in the same space is referred to as an “AI-powered Bloomberg Terminal“.
Amongst these attractive avenues is one which my team is building, namely, Auris – an alternative data platform for consumer insights and market research. Using alternative data, both public and private, Auris is powering consumer insights for leading enterprise brands across industries.
Why is alternative data derived insights attractive? A few reasons for starters..
- A much larger sample size, definitely significant when compared with the 100-1000 strong panels brands rely on.
- Unprompted questions – most views are expressed without solicitation
- Finally, and equally importantly, these insights are recent, “fresh”, real-time.
Why should innovation in market research be limited to digital surveys? Research is waiting for disruption because the combination of data + infrastructure + AI makes this viable.
Brands have begun to explore the power of alternative data. It is just the beginning.