Big data can tell us the “what”, we uncover “why?” with market research.

“Why” is a powerful question when trying to understand audiences. Together with the activity-based data - the “what” - we can create more comprehensive, more holistic consumer profiles.

Nothing ever happens in isolation. Each action we take occurs in a specific context, is driven by a wide variety of motivations, and has its consequences. We sometimes forget this in the race for “data” that shows what consumers are doing, buying, watching, and consuming. 

Even a small daily activity like organizing dinner can leave a sea of data in its wake: grocery sales, fast food or food delivery app usage, restaurant dining traffic numbers - just to name a few. These are the actions that result in dinner, eventually, being consumed. 

Many companies use business intelligence platforms that are good at gathering and reporting this type of action-driven transactional data. What are people buying? How are they interacting with our brands? What are they doing online? This data is often stored in a data lake or cloud-based location to be tapped into when needed for business decision-making.

While this data is inarguably useful, it often doesn’t give us the needed context. Audiences are made up of diverse individuals who make decisions based on differing external circumstances, personal motivations, and other purchase/action triggers. 

Putting the “what” in context with the “why”
How do we find out why they do what they do? Why did that person buy groceries to cook at home? Why did they choose takeout? These kinds of contextual questions are not answered when we solely view transactional, activity-based data. 

Market research has long been tasked with finding out this critical information. No matter the methodology used, whether survey questionnaires, shopalongs, or focus groups, one main goal of market research is to understand the context surrounding consumer actions. We might uncover that a person had already grocery shopped to make dinner but had a busier-than-normal day and ended up getting takeout. We might find out why people prefer to purchase certain brands at the store or use specific food delivery apps more than others. 

The “why” is a powerful metric when trying to understand audiences. Together with the activity-based data - the “what” - we can create more comprehensive, more holistic consumer profiles, driving more impactful, data-driven actions across the business. 

Bringing it together with the right consumer insights technology 
It’s bringing it all together that is often the sticking point for many organizations. While all the data can be stored together in legacy BI tools, it can be very difficult to get the true value out of market research data with these kinds of systems. Because market research data is complex (just like the individuals it studies), most existing tools can’t properly process respondent-level data, leaving gaps in data -  and gaps in audience understanding. 

What’s needed for holistic insights is technology that can tap into the data lake or warehouse and can deftly process the complexities of market research data through statistical analysis, weighting, probability formulas and more. When all the data streams are combined and properly analyzed, patterns begin to emerge that will likely show a very different picture of audience sentiment, behavior, preferences, and motivations than behavioral data alone. These comprehensive insights can mean the difference between market success and failure.

Harmoni can shape and process market research data, whether it is already stored in the data lake or is coming in from a data collection platform. As its name suggests, the Harmoni platform has been purpose-built to harmonize all types of data, bringing them together for complete insights. In that way, we can find out why customers are doing what they’re doing.

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