Tag Archives: Big Data

Your Life, By The Numbers

Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGalon Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven.

As we get closer to TMRE I’ve been thinking more and more about data.

  • -The data that we are gathering and analyzing during our research projects
  • -The data that flows through the estimated 75 million servers worldwide each day
  • -And what’s most interesting to me lately – the data that we are all capturing every day about our daily lives. What we eat, how fast we run, what medicines we take, how many times we post to Twitter, and so on.

Life tracking, as it’s called, was profiled in 2010 by Gary Wolf of WIRED in an article for the New York Times entitled The Data-Driven life. In his article, Wolf highlighted that what was once the playground of the “ultrageek” was becoming increasingly mainstream as social and mobile grew:

‘People got used to sharing,’ says David Lammers-Meis, who leads the design work on the fitness-tracking products at Garmin. ‘The more they want to share, the more they want to have something to share.’ Personal data are ideally suited to a social life of sharing. You might not always have something to say, but you always have a number to report.

This is how the odd habits of the ultrageek who tracks everything have come to seem almost normal.

So yeah, there are “ultrageeks” like Tim Ferriss and Nicholas Felton who track their lives on a very deep, granular level. But us ‘regular folks’ are starting to pursue life tracking, whether we’re aware of it or not.

  • -Perhaps you’re trying to lose weight so you’re logging your meals with WeightWatchers orSparkPeople
  • -Perhaps you’re trying to PR your next half marathon, so you’re using your&GarminForerunner to calculate your time, distance and pace, and wirelessly send your data to your computer.
  • -You might even be using RescueTime to track how productive (or not) you’re being at work so you can modify your habits appropriately.
  • -If you’re heavily into social media, you may even be using apps like Memento to take your social updates and put them into daily diary format.

If you’re doing any of the above, you’re well on your way to life tracking.  There are an a bundance of apps for your i-devices that allow you to track pretty much everything about your life.

So, why do I find this so fascinating? Two reasons:

  1. 1) The more mainstream life tracking becomes, potentially the more willing research participants might be to share life tracking information.
  2. 2) Big data. The more folks get into life tracking, the more data may become available about the research participants and/or trends we may want to study.

I look forward to discussing market research, big ideas, big data, and even life tracking at TMRE - I’ll see you there!
More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as seafood, 3D laser imaging, software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

I’ll have Big Data on rye with a schmear of survey, please.

… and women too.

Big Data. Big Data. Big Data. It’s becoming a catch phrase. A lot of people are talking about it without even knowing what it is ‘ including me! We’re wringing our hands as an industry, trying to figure out how to deal with something so large it’s hard to define and something that changes/grows moment by moment. And we want to deal with it perfectly ‘ because that’s in our nature. Perfection has always been the enemy of the good in market research. It’s our Achilles’ heel. Meanwhile, start-ups in unexpected sectors are jumping in with both feet and perfecting as they go, like Salesforce.com and this may be our undoing.

I recently had a conversation where a large survey organization – fretting over the expected ‘thin surveys’ of the future. With mobile apps and embedded tracking of online behaviors, survey data is in the process of being displaced. Combine this with shorter attention spans and small screen venues, surveys are definitely going on a diet. And shorter surveys with less complex analysis means leaner margins if you think of yourself in the survey business.

This is just the first shot across the bow and it’s coming from the industries sourcing all this Big Data. If we don’t dig in and lead, if we allow the start-ups to out-nimble us and allow those in other sectors who create the data to be the first to provide analysis ‘ even if it’s imperfect ‘ we’ll be left to fight over the thin scraps of the survey business that remain.

Time to pull up our big boy pants and jump in with two feet, just like we did on social media. And online. And neuroscience. And virtual stores. And mobile. Time to go get Big with Big Data so that we can do it the right way and integrate a thin slice of survey – like a condiment – to make it all go down easier.

** ** **
Today’s guest post is from Kelley Styring. Styring is principal of InsightFarm Inc. a market research and consumer strategy consulting firm. She has led insights for Procter & Gamble, Pepsico, Black & Decker and NASA prior to founding her own firm in 2003. Kelley is a published author and has been featured in USA Today, ABC News, Good Morning America, Brandweek, Fortune, Quirk’s Marketing Research and The Market Research Daily Report from RFL Online.  She will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida.  If you’d like to join her, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Big Data ‘ different names for the same thing?

Okay, we
cannot avoid the truth. Obviously ‘Big Data’ is here to stay. 

For myself
I can say that I am by no means a Big Data expert. Large surveys with more than
3.000 participants still have the ability to impress me regarding the enormous amount
of data. Maybe I am ‘old school’ :-) 

I am curious to learn more about ‘Big Data’. Doing so I recognized
a lot of well known things from the very beginning of my market research career.
Once upon a
time I was working for a German telecommunication company. That was the time
when mobile phones were primarily used for calling and messaging and smartphones
haven’t been invented yet.
Big brands were
called Nokia, Siemens and Sony Ericsson and not Apple and Samsung’ However, for
each of the more than 20 million customers every minute calling, every message,
every megabyte of data was recorded, primarily to bill the right amount of money
(flatrates were an exception, mainly offered to and used by business customers). There has been ‘Big Data’ 10 – 15 years ago. 
Similar to
now, one of the big challenges in this time was to find solutions of getting
use out of the huge amount of data that has been growing minute by minute,
hour by hour, day by day’ 
Why? Because
there was (and there still is) a need to understand consumers’ behavior in
order to serve the right customer with the right offer at the right time’ An increase
in efficiency regarding campaign management was the order of the day, especially
in times when the market has got more and more saturated. So analytical CRM came
into play and was fueled by Data Mining.
We did a lot of interesting project combining
records from the data warehouse with market research results in order to
predict behavior. This was a challenge not only because of data protection
I really
like the word ‘Data Mining’ because to me it bears some fine connotations such
as ‘craftsmanship’ and ‘working hero’.  In my perspective the attractiveness of Data Mining declines during the past 10
years, but neither I know exactly if this is true nor understand why the
perception has changed.
Now we are having
not only big data but ‘Real Big Data’. I am pretty sure that ‘Data Mining’
already has experienced a revival because of what is now called Big Data. And again
I am by no means expert for this.
Maybe you are as curious as I. Let’s learn
more about Big Data at TMRE via the ‘Data Analytics and BIG Data’ sessions (and
maybe about the “rebirth of Data Mining’.


Today’s guest post is from Christian D??ssel (@olympiamilano). Christian is Senior Research Director at MM-Eye, a market research and research consulting firm in Hamburg / Germany helping clients from US and Asia to research Europe.
He has worked for TNS, TBWA and other advertising, strategy and market
research agencies helping clients from industries such as finance,
transport and logistics, telecommunication and entertainment to
understand consumers through market research and to increase
implementation excellence. He will be live blogging from The Market Research Event 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’d like to join him, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

Does the Internet lead to information overload for your customers?

Yesterday, we looked at the importance of sorting through your big data to make sense of it. So if many companies are having trouble with keeping up and analyzing the data they’re receiving on a daily basis?  Social Media Today recently shared how consumers approach the situation.  Do consumers deal with the influx of information they receive on a daily basis with the added sources that the Internet brings to their plate?

Yes according to a recent study from Northwestern.  They found that if people are interested, they will pay attention.Eszter Hargittai, associate professor of communication studies,and author of the story stated, ‘We found that the high volume of information available these days seems to make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic. People are able to get their news and information from a diverse set of sources and they seem to like having those options.’

Can market researchers take this to their advantage?  I believe so.  If we find out where consumers who are interested in in the topic matter of various surveys and market research projects live online, we can easily reach this audience.  If they’re interested, many will be willing to cooperate in studies.

This fall at The Market Research Event, Suresh Subbiah, President of North American Operations, QuestBack will take a further look at this topic in the presentation “Brand Communities and the Impact
on Product Innovation.”  If you’d like to know more about this session and the full program, download the agenda.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us in Boca Raton, mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate.

Have you found niche communities online that would fit your target market research profile? How has this helped your study?

Big Data and the importance your researchers

Big data comes with big value.  But how do we get to that value?  The humans behind the technology are what ultimately makes big data the value to put companies ahead of their consumers by understanding what motivates the actions behind the data.

David Wilson  of FGI Research points out that three main services have propelled Big Data to the spot that it holds today in data: Google, Facebook and Amazon.  Adding analytics to the large amount of data will lead to value and insights, but the challenge lies within the team insights are coming from.  While you can’t see why your consumers are doing what they’re doing, you do have an advantage due to the large amount of data coming from so many consumers.  The Harvard Business Review also looks at the important human component.  The technology used to collect the data is integral,  but it’s up to the humans to see the connection and derive the insights that will help give their company a competitive advantage and better meet their consumers needs.

This fall at TMRE 2012, David Boyle, Senior Vice President Consumer Insight, EMI Music will talk on the importance combining big data with insights during the presentation “Come Together: Data, People and Music People Working Together to Transform EMI.” For more information on this session, download the agenda. If you’d like to join us in Boca Raton this year, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate.


Today’s post comes from TMRE Guest Blogger, Katie Clark. She is also known as @InsightsGal on Twitter and a client-side market researcher, project manager, and social media maven. 

I am by no means a Big Data expert.

That’s why I’m excited to learn more about Big Data at TMRE via the ‘Data Analytics and BIG Data’ sessions.  Depending on who you speak with, the definition for Big Data differs. From petabytes and exabytes of data to simply more data than an organization can currently handle with the tools commonly used to capture and process it.  As a ‘numbers geek’ the topic of Big Data fascinates me!

You know what else fascinates me? The Olympics.  I sit mesmerized for 16 days watching stories of triumph, defeat, and overcoming adversity to achieve Olympic glory.  Yep, I was one of those kids who climbed up on couch pillows, envisioning they were an Olympic podium to receive my gold medal. When I got older I competed (not on THAT level!) in synchronized swimming…and if you don’t believe that’s a sport, try holding your breath for up to three minutes while underwater, upside down and treading water with your hands for a start.

As a research and analytics-focused person, what I think is especially notable about this Olympics is the data. Now, there are some big numbers, such as 10,500 Olympic athletes and 4200 Paralympic athletes, 302 medal events, some 60,000 meals a day cooked for athletes, and so on. And then there are some BIG numbers:

  • -For the first time ever in the United States, NBC is offering every moment of competition live via nbcolympics.com, which equates to around 3,500 hours of coverage.  Many of you reading this work in media research and know that’s a lot of video storage bytes!
  • -There were an estimated 1billion people tuning in to watch the opening ceremonies worldwide, and a documented 40.7 million people tuning in on NBC, making it the most-watched opening ceremony for a summer or winter Olympics ever.
  • -To keep London secure, there are close to 2,000 security cameras and 37,000 civilian and military personnel working on security,-Mobile carriers such as Vodafone were expecting a ‘significant increase’ to the 45 terabytes of data, 90 million calls and 155 million texts they handle daily.
  • -Let’s not forget social media ‘ we’ve already seen television analysis of what is trending on Twitter regarding the Games (the Queen skydiving!).  There were a documented 9.66 million mentions of the opening ceremony last Friday.

‘and those are just a few!

Data from the Games will be analyzed not only by NBC and the IOC, but also governing bodies of the various sports such as FIFA, US Swimming, etc. The data analyzed will not only update the record books, show us how folks are ingesting the coverage (mobile? TV? Live? DVR-ed?), show us what sports are trending, but will also inform the organizing committees and media planning for Sochi and Rio.

If this whets your appetite for more Big Data discussions, I look forward to seeing you at some of the TMRE Big Data sessions.  To hold you over until then, someone is looking out for us numbers-junkies of the Olympics at this Olympics data blog!

More about Katie: Based in Portland, Maine, Katie manages the market research team at Diversified Business Communications. She has worked with companies large and small and in industries such as software, fragrance, finance, and entertainment to help them move the business forward through actionable insights derived from market research. She is passionate about bringing the’Voice of the Customer’ inside the organization. The opinions expressed here are her own and not those of her employer.

If you’d like to join Katie at TMRE 2012 this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG and save 15% off the standard rate! For more about this year’s program, download the agenda.

Big Data and the Government: What has Todd Park uncovered?

Todd Park is looking at certain aspects of the government as a startup.  Why? He’s the Cheif Technology Officer with a lot of data that has to be organized.  The government produces so much data every day – what could lie behind it?  Look a what opening up weather data did for the private sector.  Not to mention the way that GPS has transformed the way the nation gets from A to B.  One of Park’s successful initiatives before this position at Health and Human Services was the creation of the Health Data Initiative.  They can take every day data and apply it to public safety, energy, education and non profits.  By capturing and translating this data, they will eventually be able to create a transparent and efficient government.  For more on the interview with Park, visit Fast Company.

Can big data help companies become more transparent and operate more efficiently?  This fall at The Market Research Event, we’ll have a track dedicated to this new trend including speakers from LinkedIn, Nestle Purina Petcare Russia, Advanced Auto Plus and the Home Depot to share how they’re using big data to uncover insights and share with the vast amounts of data that is now being created.  For more information on these presentations and the rest of the agenda, download the brochure.  If you’d like to join us in Boca Raton this November 12-14, register today and mention code TMRE12BLOG to save 15% off the standard rate!

What aspects of your business do you see being improved if you embrace and properly analyze some of the big data you’re collecting?

What are a few misconceptions about big data?

Immense amounts of data is being gathered every day.  However, with all this new data that is being collected, there are still a few things that researchers misunderstand according to Brian Gentile at Mashable. What are a few of them?

  • -Big data is more than the amount of volume that is produced. It’s about the velocity at which the data is produced. The variety of data that is collected is important as well.
  • - There is not a one-size fits all program for big data. The program used to analyze the data should be should be customized to handle and output the data with the results in mind for each project.
  • -Even though there are a variety of data points collected from the big data, this does not mean it’s unstructured. Gentile at Mashable believes it should be called multi-structured
  • -Big data is not just for social media analysis and feelings. It may have begun this way, but now more companies have the power to analyze the data they bring in.
This fall at The Market Research Event, we’re introducing the all new track “Data Analysis and BIG Data.”  In this track, we’ll hear from companies who are entrenched in this new form of analysis including LinkedIn, Nestle Purina Petcare, Advance Auto Parts, Home Depot, Heineken Mexico, Gerber Products, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Fidelity Investments.  For more information on their presentations, download the program.  If you want to know more about this year’s program, download the agenda.  If you’d like to join us this November 12-14 in Boca Raton, Florida, as a reader of this blog when you register to join us and mention code TMRE12BLOG, you’ll save 15% off the standard rate!
What are some other common misconceptions about big data?  

Data is coming in troves, what’s next?

So many doors are opening with the vast amount of data collected each day.  With the ever increasing amounts of big data, how can companies keep up and use it to their advantage?  In a recent article at Top Coder, they examine how all industries, not just the ones currently using big data, can profit from making sense of the data.

Through visualization, companies will be able to see the data and predict the future outcomes.  The end user will be a huge beneficiary from the data, as they will see more suggested products  and algorithms that will produce more information that is relevant and interesting to them.  
At the 2012 The Market Research Technology Event, Animation Dynamics will be on hand to present “Ethnographic Animation For New Mobile User Experiences,” which will examine how to take the big data that is being created and use it as a way to communicate with anyone in the product chain, from the decision makers of the company to the consumers who are buying your products.  For more information, download the brochure.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us April 30-May 2, 2012 in Las Vegas and mention code MRTECH12BLOG, you’ll receive 15% off the standard rate.
What steps should companies be taking to take advantage of the ever increasing amount of data pouring into our channels?