What comes to mind when you think of Big Data? According to many modern day marketers and researchers, Big Data is where the future of research is headed. And while intricate formulas and advanced algothrims may serve a valuable purpose in the research process, can Big Data ever really replace the human element of research?
According to a recent article in Forbes, there are still some things that Big Data will never do, “Computers, after all, are not people, much less consumers. While they can help us execute our plans, they cannot form our intent. Ironically, as marketing becomes more automated, true competitive advantage is even more inextricably tied to the human spirit.”
Is it possible for Big Data to discover valuable insights from large quantities of data and formulate helpful solutions? Absolutely. However, while Big Data may be able to answer the “what,” of your research, it can’t reveal the “why.” Without the unique human ability to keenly observe the subtle nuances of consumer behavior, quantitative research reaches its limits. We are forced to face the reality that understanding consumers on a deeper level goes far beyond mathematical calculations. It takes real human-to-human interaction to unveil those breakthrough insights that heighten brand awareness and accelerate product innovation.
If companies seek a true understanding of their consumers, utilizing both qualitative and quantitative methods creates a far more complete picture. When implemented correctly, both methods work together and help inform one another, providing a multi-dimensional view of your consumer’s true identity. As a result, marketers and researchers could then equip themselves with the knowledge and tools they need to maximize their strengths for a true competitive advantage.
Is it time you put the human element back into research? You have nothing to lose but groundbreaking insights.