The Age of Context promised to be a revelatory book on the future of market research, but I have to admit to be being ultimately disappointed. The authors are evangelists for new technology, but their evangelism often feels like an informercial for the companies that they mention, and their over-enthusiasm for many ideas is irritating rather than inspiring (especially that for Google Glass). However, my biggest concern with this book is that ultimately it reads as wishful fantasy rather than future reality, as the authors enthuse for what may be possible without failing to address many big issues with the trends that they discuss.
The Signal and the Noise deals with the challenges of making predictions and is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand both the potential and limitations of big data. The author, Nate Silver, famously beat all the professional pollsters in making predictions about the last two US presidential elections and has written extensively on the limitations of models and experts in accurately forecasting the future. Read more »
In The Information, James Gleick surveys the impact of information, and information revolutions, throughout human history providing a sobering perspective on today’s “big data” revolution. Covering talking drums, and Morse code, to the human genome, and Wikipedia, he shows the evolution of ‘information’ from ideas of language and communication through to the stuff of life itself.
Yesterday’s MRSS Asia Research Conference focused on the the coming changes in market research and particularly the role of big data. Interestingly, many of the papers came back to the same Vs (sometimes 3, 4 or 5 of them) to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of big data. Read more »
What will the entry of Google into market research mean for the industry?
Google Consumer Surveys is a deceptively simple product. Limited questions, simple (and low) pricing, and the promise of focused customer feedback. Other DIY tools such as Survey Monkey (which I use regularly), have not yet gained strong traction, perhaps because they lack the access to consumers that is an important part of an agency’s service. Read more »