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There is a future for collecting data in market research, contrary to what some Big Data analysts may say, but that future will be very different from the data collection practiced today, said Tim Macer at the first session of the day at ESOMAR’s 2015 Congress in Dublin. Invited by research technology provider Qualtrics, Macer focused on the two disruptive influences he considers are going to reshape data collection in the future.

He recalled how, 15 or more years previously, the introduction of online research had acted as a major disrupter to established research (then predominantly CATI), although looking back, it is easy to see it now as a logical, incremental evolution. Yet now, the industry faced two significant disrupters, from mobile or smartphone participation in research – whether research companies actively allow it or not – and the extent to which Big Data and data analytics from existing data sources is likely to bypass the need to collect new data.  ‘Research cannot afford to ignore the tornado that these forces will unleash on data collection”, he said. The future, he continued, lay in providing “high frequency data” that aligns better with the rhythm of the marketplace and constant availability of Big Data.

Embracing mobile, going ‘high frequency’ and achieving better integration were the key recommendations from Macer’s presentation

“For too long, the survey has been treated as a silo, and that is no longer sustainable, and it does not need to be,” he said, urging research companies to focus on how they can integrate both their data and their information systems with those of their clients, as well as their network of suppliers and collaborators.

  • View Tim Macer’s 2015 ESOMAR presentation here.
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