Big or Small: No Data Set is Perfect

What do big data, survey research, ethnographic studies, focus groups and customer analytics all have in common?

They are all imperfect.

Yes, they have their respective strengths, but none of them yield perfect data. None.

Image result for if you torture the data long enough it will confess

So as market research and customer insights professionals, what does this mean for our work?

  • It means we must abandon our biases for “traditional” market research methods, and accept that we live in a world where newer data sources may be the best fit for a given research need.
  • It means that we absolutely need to possess a minimum level of data fluency (sometimes outside of our comfort zones!) so that we can objectively choose the optimal method(s) for any given project goal.

Think about it this way, if every project that crosses your desk looks like a survey project to you, you may need a data fluency boost.

For practical purposes, data fluency is ultimately this:

The data fluent research and insights professional knows how to get, assess, interpret and apply various types of data. Qual or quant. “Big” or “small”. Structured or unstructured. Observed or self-reported.