While the research industry has been getting to grips with the latest buzz of “big data”, a number of research agencies, primarily those specialising in online panels and communities, have quietly been building an expertise in “integrated data”: bringing together primary customer research responses with a host of other data sources.
Some will argue that the difference between big and integrated data is subtle or even non-existent. But integrated data has a focus that big data doesn't as it concentrates on using just the information we need to answer the question. Big data on the other hand spreads the net wide making it powerful, but also ungainly and difficult to handle.
So, what do we mean by integrated data? It’s simply bringing together what customers tell us via qualitative and quantitative responses with specific, useful information from other sources, including:
· Transactional data – anything from POS, package, ARPU, etc.
· CRM/eCRM – what each customer has received by post and email
· Customer and prospect segmentations
· Call centre in and out-bound contacts and complaints
· Social media responses
But the key is focus, by being selective about what customer data we integrate to get to the business answers we are looking for.
In the past, integrating data in this way would have been a difficult and a costly exercise, but with the growth of online panels and communities, often recruited from customer lists, the process has become fast and easy. With real-time data manipulation and tabulation tools now built in to many panel and community packages, integrated data is stored together in one place for easy analysis. Any survey completed on a panel can be accessed in real time and easily crossed with any other survey from the past plus all relevant integrated external data.
But it’s the practical applications of integrated data that give it the real power.
At an everyday level, with all customer and prospect segmentations available at the click of a mouse on all insight from both large strategic to fast tactical projects embedding your segments into the business by breaking them out on every project is easy to do. From showing your transactional segments on your online bulletin boards as they happen, to viewing results of your concept test in real time broken down by your lifestage segments, integrated data helps you bring your segmentation to life.
Overlaying what postal or email campaigns each individual customer has received from you allows you to conduct CRM effectiveness more accurately and in more detail than ever. Designing your AB CRM testing with your customer community in mind can allow you to interview each CRM stream separately (ideally with a control who receive nothing) to understand the real effect on brand, attitudes and behaviour. From there it is an easy step to develop an ROI model that goes way beyond the usual direct response measures.
Beyond this, there is a wealth of longitudinal applications for integrated data. It allows us, for instance, to track the long term effect of events and campaigns. How do new customer attitudes differ 6 months after your new, state of the art on-boarding process versus those who received nothing? Does the effect of your CRM campaign last beyond the first few weeks?
And integrated data is still developing. Two areas are within reach, but still just beyond the practical application of technology at the moment.
The first is taking mobile phone integration a step further using GPS (currently technically possible, but restrictive because having GPS constantly switched on currently drains battery so quickly). Adding data about where a community member has been over a specific period will give us insight into which locations and stores they have visited as well as what messages they may have been exposed to. We may even, eventually, to be able to get some more definitive measures of outdoor advertising by looking at the effect on those who have been exposed to it! At a more granular level it could also allow us to track routes around stores, without customers being aware they are being observed and without the need for expensive equipment.
A second development would be real-time integration of external customer data by linking panels and communities more directly to customer databases to get both primary and customer data instantly. Again, this is technically possible, but restricted by understandable security concerns and the ability of client databases to fully link in. However, once realised, real-time integration could allow us to interview customers online automatically immediately after they have shopped in a specific store or even bought a specific product. We could check results of call centre contacts, both in and out-bound or even interview customers who have just visited a web site without using pesky pop-ups and overlays.
Integrated data is here to stay and our prediction is that it will only become a bigger part of our insight lives.
For more information on integrated data contact:
Tpoll Market Intelligence Limited,
46-48 Webber Street,
London SE1 8QW
+44 870 161 1850
Tpoll is a leader in customer insight, online communities and market research which produces actionable results. Tpoll strength is its combination of highly skilled researchers and proprietary technology that enables clients to hold a continuous dialogue with customers. Tpoll is a full service agency with the ability to turn the customer dialogue into deep and accurate market intelligence for clients.