Archive for February, 2013

To answer yesterday’s question, why is the marriage between “analytics” and “social” so powerful?, first of all, we need to go back to the essence of market research for a while. Yes, it’s all about solving problems, to be specific, solving the clients’ problem by providing them with relevant customer insight and intelligence. It’s worth noting that all three companies mentioned above are relying on the online context and all sort of relevant to social media. Social media is such a powerful tool to gather people’s ideas, attitudes and behaviors precisely. With keywords searching tools like twitter hashtag, researchers can easily identify relevant customer groups or target audiences, analyze their posts to find the pattern and make interpretations accordingly . To some extent, it simplifies the traditional sampling process, and more importantly, it dramatically accelerates the pace of market research since getting real-time data is no longer a dream.

Admittedly, the field of social data analysis and big data analytics is far from maturity and there are still space for its improvement. Another incorrect impression might be  this approach can totally replace the traditional market research relying on surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.  In the panel, DJ emphasized that social data analysis serves as an effective assistant for traditional market research, but it’s definitely not omnipotent. In my opinion, its first weakness is the demographic limit. Although the Internet and social media become increasingly popular, it’s still dominated by the young generation. For a market research project whose target is the old, it is dangerous to solely rely on the online social data. In addition, I don’t think currently we’ve found an effective way to match the social data about attitudes and the big data about behavior. Twitter and Facebook are good at telling us what people are thinking and sharing; Google AdWords and Google Analytics did a good job to show what people are searching; While Amazon and other big e-commerce giants know what people really buy. The three parties separately dominate one  important process of consumer intelligence: Awareness and Interest, Attention and Retention, Purchase and Repeated Purchase. If we could get these three kinds of data into one Super databases, then the market researchers can finally complete the logic of cause and effect. If the so-called “customized recommendation” can base on data generated by this dynamic, then it will become the REAL customization. It makes me feel so excited even only thinking about the potential power it possesses! However, it raised up the ethical issue of customer security and privacy. We want the valuable data and information, but we don’t want the customers feel intrusive and insecure.

Do you agree with me? Are you planning to develop your career in the emerging innovative market research industry? I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Today is an exciting day. Yes, first of all, it’s the election day. But for me, even not considering the election, it’s still exciting because today I found new meaning and prospect of market research as a career!

From a career panel held in a class today, I got the chance to hear three young, promising professionals who used to study at BU COM, and now working in market research and communication industry, sharing their work experience and understanding of their jobs and the industry.  DJ serves as a Social Data Strategiest at Crimson Hexagon (a startup company providing social media analysis and big data analytics software and services); Chris started his career as a Community Associate at Communispace (a market research firm that works with online consumer insights communities); while Rachel is currently a Brand & Buzz Coordinator at HubSpot (a leading company providing inbound marketing software and services). Before diving into more information about their jobs and companies, I’d like to share two interesting numbers with you: 1. None of the three companies existed 15 years ago; 2. None of the three professionals’ job title existed 5 years ago. That’s the reason I name this post as “it(market research) is an innovation machine”. When the traditional market research analytics marries with “social” (no matter it is social media data, online communities or online marketing), it injects  strong energies and allows uncountable possibilities to the market research industry. The merger has turned the industry into an innovation machine.

Why is this merger so powerful? If you want to know the answer, please follow my post “Market Research as a Career: It’s an Innovation Machine! (2)” tomorrow!