Is Big Data killing traditional research?


Figure 1: Asay, 2015

Now-a-days, the word ‘Big Data’ has dominated news industry, workplace blabbers and even social media. So what is it really? This new term is defined as huge amount of data which may be in structured or unstructured form, collected from various sources including social media, business transactions, internet, machine fetched data, sensors etc. Big data has so much potential and is being created in every second across the globe.

It has tremendous amount of information that can help businesses to solve their current and future problems and also help to get key insights of it. Big data has effects across almost every sector i.e. banking, education, manufacturing, retail, health care etc.

So what do you think is it killing traditional research methods used in business world?

Traditional market research method which are based on personal interviews, surveys, focus groups, experiments etc. has many limitations. It is a very slow process and sample sizes taken are very limited. Focus groups have 10-12 people and their opinions are difficult to consider in such big, fast moving competitive world. Analysts have to make decision for multi million product based on this research which is really difficult, where most of the time report comes out after product launch. This is not an ideal research method for the ever-changing agile environments (Millward Brown, 2016).


Figure 2: The LoveStats Blog, 2012

All research starts from defining problems. Although, we have big data available with us, it has no use as it is in a very raw, unstructured and unconventional form. Any data available for analysis makes sense only when it answers the business questions. The changes big data brings in are always accompanied by how it is processed and gives insights into products and services related queries.


Figure 3:, 2006

Big data helps research in many ways, it has wider sample set which will be useful for understanding needs and targeting customers over the globe. It helps to find key process indicators which are lagging and optimize those business processes. Couple with technologies big data is enormously powerful tool, as it reduces a lot of time in research methods. Process of long surveys, and questionnaires are cut down by this where no one is really ready to answer 20 min long surveys.

“Big data may tell you how many customers you have won or lost but not necessarily why. This is the intelligence that can really make difference.”


However, this big data, needs human intelligence to make sense out of it. To define KPI’s related to business, to find customer purchase patterns, to find customer interests, emotional appeal hidden in data (Miles, 2015). Also, product positioning across different attributes which affects purchase decisions of consumers. Market researchers use their previous knowledge and experiences to make big data more meaningful. They understand needs of optimization required and helps in decision making easier for businesses (Sebastian, 2015).

Previously in traditional research, more focus was given for collecting data and then little on its analysis but now as being big data becoming more affordable, hassle of data collection reduced drastically. Availability of data in cheap and faster mode make it easier to get more elaborated analysis which ultimately helps taking crucial business decision faster and get ahead of competitors.

Looking closely at market researcher’s traditional methods, it need to improve to incorporate this big data in their analysis to find better answers to business problems and gain competitive advantage. We can say that traditional research methods need to upgrade to cope up with changing business environments.

Big data will not kill traditional research method if it adopts and embraces evolution of market research.


Asay, M. (2015). Why your company’s big data is not nearly fast enough – TechRepublic. [online] TechRepublic. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016]. (2006). Sales and Marketing Dashboards. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

Miles, J. (2015). Will Big Data Kill The Market Research Star? | RW Connect. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

Millward Brown. (2016). How Big Data Liberates Research. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

Sebastian, C. (2015). Big Data and Market Research Myths and Missteps. [online] Data Informed. Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016]. (2013). 37 Quotes About Big Data and Marketing. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

The LoveStats Blog. (2012). what if i told you data arent insights. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Apr. 2016].

Name : Sanket landge

email :

ID : 215022159


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