Why should you care about Big Data?
“In the past, information was synonym of power but nowadays, with all the information available, knowing which information is really valuable, is where power lies”.
We were going to explain you how to start researching your market, how important it is… but when we were about to explain how to make the classic surveys, phone calls, we thought: “This is as new as a dinosaur”.
Of course you should make surveys to your customers, or potential customers, but nowadays, we must take into account the enormous amount of information available when studying the market, the trends… that Internet is offering us.
The best Market data is on Internet
Don’t Judge the people by what they say, but what they do… and what do they search for.
The data obtained through Internet is much more valuable than that obtained by means of personal surveys, since on Internet people behave and look for what they really want, not lying or pretending at all.
Ask someone what do they like or think about anything and surely he will be ashamed of certain personal opinions that you’ll never know. But if you could analyze his computer, his searches and favorite pages, you would guess what he likes immediately.
That is why before explaining you what a proper Market research should look like, we wanted to contextualize the role Internet and the Big Data is playing nowadays.
We’ll repeat this through the entire “page-lesson”: judge by what people do, not what they say.
Before starting a Market Research
You may have heard about it a million times: “listen to your market, check the market… the market the market the market!!”
But how can we “listen to the market”? How can we obtain valuable market information?
A Market Research consists on obtaining objective valuable information about a certain economic activity that may be helpful in defining current and future trends or niches.
It is important to focus exclusively on relevant information and, in order to guarantee it; you must ensure that your research is:
- The trends you find out must be contextualized to the geographic regions where they were obtained.
- The information must be scrupulously fact-based.
- It must be based on real behaviors or acts, without any interpretation.
- Although it contradicts some of the previous thoughts you could have about a certain Market trend.
- The conclusions and data obtained should tackle deep issues, rather than superficial trends that last for 3 days.
Now, we’ll propose the 4 steps you should follow in order to guarantee a proper Market Research, and how should you handle the information available on Internet and the Big Data:
Develop a Market Research in 4 steps
These are 4 indicative steps you should follow when researching within a certain market:
- Establish what are you looking for.
- Define a proper Measurement system.
- Filter the good information.
- Identify Customer Insights.
Although we could explain the main important point to take into account and then letting you “developing” your own method, we prefer to give you an easy “guidance” step by step in order you don’t lose the focus on what is important.
1. Establish what are you looking for
It is pretty common to start looking inside a certain market “just to see” if you can find anything interesting.
It is not a bad practice at all, but providing you don’t expect to rely all your future “Market strategy” on the data you obtained.
A proper Market Research must have a clear purpose. Otherwise you’ll start obtaining unconnected not-supported information that may distract you.
Before start developing any Market Research, you must be sure about two things:
- Which is your current status within the market.
- In which market niches are you present.
- Which is your relative branding image compared to your competitors.
- Where would you like to move forward?
- Is there a new market niche you are not sure about its attractiveness?
- Aren’t you engaged enough with your customers?
You don’t need to make a whole Porter 5 Forces or a PESTEL analysis to answer these two questions. A Market Research must be a flexible activity, so don’t overreact.
However, you must know which information do you want to extract from the market.
Imagine you were a doctor trying to cure a patient.
You would ask him about where is he feeling pain, what is he feeling… And once identified the injury “location”, you’ll dig into what could be causing this pain.
Once you have established your goals, it’s time to move forward.
2. Define a proper Measurement system
As soon as you establish your goals and what are you looking for within a market, you must establish how will you “take measurements” within that Market Research.
With all the information available on Internet and the Big Data, you surely will get lost pretty soon.
For defining a proper measurement system you must:
- Establish how will you obtain the information.
- Will you check public Databases for a Big Data approach?
- Will you send e-mails to potential customers?
- Will you require information to website owners?
- How many information will you require.
- You should not settle with a couple of interesting “facts” but with dozens of well-contrasted ones.
- What is going to be considered high quality information?
- How are you going to discard the irrelevant information?
- What is considered to be irrelevant information?
These questions have not an immediate answer.
The answer will depend completely on the market analyzed, the methodology employed, and the conclusions obtained.
If you were Albert Einstein, maybe with just two glances at the market you would decipher what is necessary to achieve everything you wanted, but since you surely are not Einstein (nor we, of course) the time you’ll require and your success rate will depend on multiple factors.
There are two common analysis approaches when researching a certain market:
- The quantitative approach.
- The qualitative approach.
The Quantitative approach
From a pure mathematical standpoint, the higher amount of data analyzed, the more representative the analysis is.
All nowadays’ craziness about the Big Data is based on this premise.
Since we now have the possibility of knowing almost-perfectly the market behavior (in theory) as well as its demand, the one with the best analysis system will be ahead of its competitors.
Try analyzing a good amount of information, but focus only on the high quality one.
The Qualitative approach
Think about this: What is better, 5 wrong diagnosis or just 1 but correct?
In order to improve the quality of your analysis, regarding the data you manage, you should try:
- Employing high quality databases and supported data.
- The better and more detailed the database, the more reliable the data is.
- Analyzing facts, not opinions.
- Forgetting about “future trends”, “guru opinions”…
- Just focusing on well-supported facts.
- Using well-updated data.
- “When” is usually as important as “what”.
- Same data on different times gives completely different conclusions.
This is where we want to warn you about using all the Internet information.
Big Data, public databases, keywords studies… give huge amount of information, but usually it is not-linked low-quality information.
So, try filtering it properly or you can start taking bad decisions by misunderstanding the market you are in.
3. Filter the good information
Once you have a good amount of well-supported information, you should now filter it. And if you have done so before… re-filter it again.
There are two main objectives you should cover in this stage:
- Selecting the relevant information for your goal.
- Avoiding the “confirmation bias”.
Selecting the relevant information
As you can see, we didn’t say “important” but “relevant” information.
When developing Market researches, you’ll find out interesting things that may seem important, but if they are not relevant for what you are studying, you should discard them, or at least, by now:
- If you find something worth researching more about, but it is not related with your original purpose, you could start a new Market Research in the near future, but by now, it shouldn’t distract you.
Avoiding the confirmation Bias
On Internet, you’ll always find an answer tailor-made for any question, no matter how crazy it is. Think about this: there is a whole flat-earth society with “proof” about the earth being flat… so… you may find any confirmation you want on Internet.
Do not look within the market for data that confirms your initial thoughts or suspects.
You would never imagine how common is starting a market research with a previous idea of what the conclusions should look like.
- Read the results without any previous judgement.
- Be open to unexpected conclusions.
You could think that with all the previous steps accomplished you would have a perfect Market research, but you would be missing the most important part: Identifying customer Insights.
4. Identify Customer Insights
A Customer insight is a deep reason that drives you to behave in a certain way.
Identifying Customer insights is a difficult task: you must read very carefully all the data obtained, ask the correct questions… and interpret the answers creatively.
* In the “Design Thinking” page, we speak broadly about Customer Insights, Needs, and how identifying them.
We’ll give you an easy example in order you to understand what a Customer Insight is:
Star Wars Customer Insight example
Imagine you were analyzing the success of the last Star Wars movie.
You start realizing surveys outside the Theatre and one month later, you end up with tons of fulfilled papers.
On these surveys, you realize that everybody is being quiet critical about the movie:
- “The script was weak”.
- “The characters were badly chosen”.
However, the special effects are well valued:
- “They are great”.
- “The space battle was the best part of the movie”.
With all the data at your hands you end up assuming that:
“The movie was successful because the special effects and the space battles”.
One week after concluding this, when are talking with your cousin, you explain this “study” to him, and he says:
“Well, the movie is terrible, but watching a Star Wars movie, reminds me going to the Theatre with my parents when I was a child, and now I am doing the same with my daughter, so no matter how the next movie is, for sure I’ll watch it“.
Eureka: That is an Insight!! You were too worried about the “movie review” that you forgot about wondering about the real reason why they were seeing that movie (even if it was not what everybody expected).
In this example you can easily see how wrong questions lead to wrong conclusions.
You must be sure about why a potential customer is behaving in a certain way and which is the root cause of his preferences.
That is why we warned you so much about focusing just on the big amount of information the Big Data and Internet offers you, because they are usually more descriptive than deep. And the “best things” are always in the “deepest parts”.
It is always a difficult task, but identifying and being able to “use” a customer “Insight” is the biggest advantage you can take over your competitors, so never forget this step when doing a Market Research.
Developing a Market Research is a good practice when trying to move forward from your current position.
However, if it is carried out in a wrong way, you’ll get confusing conclusions that may lead you to take the worst decisions possible.
With all the information available nowadays thanks to Internet and the Big Data, you should be careful about not focusing just on the “amount” of information but its relevance.
When developing a proper Market Research you should follow the next 4 steps:
- Be sure about what are you looking for.
- Do not just “see what you can find”.
- Establish goals for guiding your research.
- Having a well-defined measurement system.
- Establishing the:
- Quantitative variables.
- Qualitative variables.
- Establishing the:
- Filtering the relevant information.
- Rather than the “just interesting” one.
- Identifying Customer Insights.
- What really drives the customer to behave in a particular way.
- Deep root causes.
And don’t forgive: never judge someone by what he says, but what he does.
By observing behavior and acts, you’ll get to know your market.