“There are few trends in the Big Data and Data Science world that can be of interest to market researchers:
• Visualization. There is a lot of interest in the Big Data and Data Science world for everything that has to do with Visualization. I’ll admit that sometimes it is Visualize to Impress rather than to Inform, but when it comes to informing clearly, communicating in a simple and understandable way, storytelling, and so on, we market researchers have a head start.
• Natural Language Processing. One of the 4 V’s of Big Data stands for Variety. Very often this refers to unstructured data, which sometimes refers to free text. Big Data and Data Science folks, for instance, start to analyze text that is entered in the free fields of production systems. This problem is not disimilar to what we do when we analyse open questions. Again market research has an opportunity to play a role here. By the way, it goes beyond sentiment analysis. Techniques that I’ve seen successfully used in the Big Data / Data Science world are topic generation and document classification. Think about analysing customer complaints, for instance.
• Deep Learning. Deep learning risks to become the next fad, largely because of the name Deep. But deep here does not refer to profound, but rather to the fact that you have multiple hidden layers in a neural network. And a neural network is basically a logistic regression (OK, I simplify a bit here). So absolutely no magic here, but absolutely great results. Deep learning is a machine learning technique that tries to model high-level abstractions by using so called learning representations of data where data is transformed to a representation of that data that is easier to use with other Machine Learning techniques. A typical example is a picture that constitutes of pixels. These pixels can be represented by more abstract elements such as edges, shapes, and so on. These edges and shapes can on their turn be furthere represented by simple objects, and so on. In the end, this example, leads to systems that are able to reasonably describe pictures in broad terms, but nonetheless useful for practical purposes, especially, when processing by humans is not an option. How can this be applied in Market Research? Already today (shallow) Neural networks are used in Market Research. One research company I know uses neural networks to classify products sold in stores in broad buckets such as petfood, clothing, and so on, based on the free field descriptions that come with the barcode data that the stores deliver.”
Istvan Hajnal ( February 23, 2015 )