In the driver's seat: Embracing Big Data to understand the path to purchase

Becky Wu and Paul Rappoport
Luth Research

A key premise of the Big Data phenomenon insight is the belief that harnessing large amounts of data that focuses on individuals and their behaviors is expected to lead to a better understanding of competition, more precise segmentation and a more timely and detailed understanding of household preferences. This optimism looks to Big Data to gain new efficiencies and greater profits. It is not surprising that more and more companies are embracing Big Data.

The era of Big Data has called into question the value and efficacy of the bread and butter of traditional market research, household surveys. Why trust an increasingly difficult process to identify target households and rely on self reported responses to quantitative questions when you have access to actual transactional data? The answer is practical: most researchers do not have access to "Big Data" and even if they had some access, they quickly find it is hard to generalize from Big Data and even more difficult to project to all households and markets.1