Our guest post is written by our intern, Quinn Underwood.
As Big Data has become bigger, both in size, scope, and complexity, it is imperative that businesses develop strategies to identify priority information in and amongst ever-increasing datasets.
As market researchers, it’s our job to make Big Data palatable. We do this through understanding what questions need to be asked. The information we generate is used to clarify Big Data so that it’s value may be maximized.
Of all the value market research can provide, it is in answering the three following questions, so that companies can sort through the huge trove of customer data they accumulate. Drum roll please…
Essential business question #1: What are you really seeing to figure out?
Quite the question huh? Inundated as many companies are with masses of data and research, it becomes crucial that you not lose sight of the big picture – what are the fundamental business problems you are looking to solve using Big Data? Big Data is only as valuable as the quality and clarity of questions it is used to answer – the more fundamental to your organization the issues you look to solve using Big Data, the more valuable that data becomes. Focus is key. Oftentimes, we see companies losing sight of their central issues as they become buried in information, particularly if their data isn’t analyzed with clear purpose from the beginning.
And what is the beginning?
It is that most fundamental business query, be it “How will our customers react to these new products?” or, “How will raising prices effect the sales of this product?”
There’s no need for complexity when it comes to your central business question; brevity is the soul of wit. Removing irrelevant information from review becomes increasing difficult as the impetus for analyzing the data in the first place becomes obscured. This results in increasingly irrelevant findings and lost time and ballooning budgets. Market research helps maintain the necessary focus throughout analysis of big data, increasing the value of findings and streamlining your use of Big Data.
Essential business question #2: What are your customers opinions about ____ (fill in the blank)
Upon clarifying your central business question, the relevance or irrelevance of subsequent data becomes clear, and selecting appropriate datasets necessary to finding an answer becomes easy. The next step is then investigating how your central questions affect your customer base, the necessary focus of any successful business.
Asking how your customers will interact with and respond to your product; how increasing prices alters perception of your product and it’s positioning in a market niche; how more efficient logistical solutions affect how customers will receive the product; these are all questions that needs answers, and if they’re not being asked, they need to be.
Business issues ultimately come down to profit margins, logistics, and infrastructure, but by failing to identify customers’ perspectives as a priority amongst these topics, companies compromise the quality of their businesses. If you’re selling to customers, as a vast majority of companies are, asking yourself what your customers think is imperative.
Essential business question #3: Is there critical information that will keep your business out of danger?
The third essential question businesses must ask themselves concerns not so much what is needed to get ahead, but what is needed to subsist; rather, what information is needed by your business to stay successful? Perhaps it’s shifting customer preference, competitor growth, or market shift. Your business as a unique entity will face unique challenges, and it is necessary to continually reevaluate your business vulnerabilities if you are to ensure your success in a dynamic market. As seems to be a trend, the ability to quantify and track your vulnerabilities is often lost in the face of Big Data, as it becomes increasingly difficult to identify the metrics of vulnerability in and amongst such quantities.
How to answer the three essential business questions
As the unfortunate bearers of bad news, we must tell you that the questions above cannot be answered through any amount of number crunching. They are qualitative questions requiring qualitative research and cannot be reduced to numbers. They are questions requiring Market Research to answer.
Market research means looking at the bigger picture, evaluating your business through an objective lens and identifying those essential business questions you need to be asking. Through a thorough evaluation of your data, team, and market position, we answer the three questions above. First, we provide you with those fundamental questions to then be evaluated through qualitative and quantitative market studies. Upon identifying the issues you need to monitor, we can move into the second essential question – figuring out what your customers think. Providing you with insight in the minds of your customers as you manage business change allows us to answer essential question #1 with your customers in mind.
In the end, we will work to facilitate your understanding of business threats and help you identify the metrics necessary to track those threats (essential question #3) through multi-method analysis of your competitors, market niche, and organizational strengths and areas of improvement.
With the questions and answers Market Research provides, your Big Data will become bigger in value and smaller in cumbersomeness (like the opposite of the word ‘cumbersomeness’). With the value you generate and the time you save, you will be able to move your business forward towards even greater success, unburdened by irrelevant data.