Top 5 Strategies for Combining Analytics and Research

By Arlene Kim of CMA's Customer Insights & Analytics Council and Enio Chiola (guest contributor)

Traditionally, Market Research and Data Analytics teams operate as two separate entities in organizations and are viewed as distinct functions: the former focused on consumer perception and the latter on insights obtained through internal resources such as sales, profits and projections.  

The big question is how do we combine analytics and market research together considering that both teams focus on delivering data informed insights?  Below are some ways that can help bridge the divide between research and analytics.

1. Leverage data analytics to assist with designing a research project

Existing data can be a great starting point to help understand where there are gaps of knowledge when reviewing a research brief and to define target groups required for a project.  This information will give you the behaviour (the facts behind consumer activities such as their purchase patterns and preferences) and the base to dive deeper into the drivers of these behaviours. Ultimately, data analytics resources can help give scope while designing a research study and can make defining the universe of required participants for either quantitative or qualitative projects more relevant.

2. Utilize internal data to help frame and guide research analysis

Analytics can provide a framework for how to analyze market research data.  For example, you can focus the analysis of market research to answer vital business questions and address business needs that have been revealed through data analytics.  Additionally, this framework can help tie the customer behaviour from data analytics to their perceptions and attitudes.

3. Combine Analytics and Research for Insight

Some organizations have introduced consumer segmentations based on their existing data.  Market research can provide insightful components to these analytics-based segments thus enhancing their value to the organization.  Combining data analysis and research will help validate hypotheses and will open the door for more synergies with customer experience, brand awareness/perception, and profit forecasting.

4. Enhance reporting by using market research to identify gaps in the analytic database

Market research results could potentially identify new analytical opportunities and existing gaps in information and key behavioural metrics that are not currently being captured. Applying research data can help close the gaps of missing information that the database may not have (e.g., key demos, buyer personas, geographical factors etc.) resulting in a richer database of information vs fragmented points that may be difficult to connect.

5. Integrating Analytical and Research Talent

While the norm in most organizations is to keep market research and data analytics separate, thus making it difficult for these two teams to learn from each other, some organizations are beginning to realize the vast benefits of having these two core business intelligence functions aligned and integrated. Potential ways to bring these resources together include:

  1. Combining teams under a single leader
  2. Creating multifunctional teams that have shared goals around producing actionable insights
  3. Establishing knowledge-sharing forums and processes

Ultimately, both teams provide data, information and insights to the organization and by aligning these disciplines it will enhance fact-based decisions—a win for any company.

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Tags: analytics, research, market research, data, talent, database, insights