3 Reasons MR Agencies Can Thrive in the Era of Big Data

01.28.13

by Greg Heist, Vice President, Innovation, Gongos, Inc.

Lately I have found it impossible to scan my numerous RSS feeds without the term “Big Data” staring me in the face on nearly every page.  And there’s good reason for that: Big Data is big business. And it’s growing all the time.

To add some scale to big data’s explosion, consider these statistics from wikibon.org:

As you can see, big data is a big opportunity.  Wikibon.org also cites an IDC study forecasting the big data market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion globally in 2015.

The multi-billion dollar question is this: with players such as IBM, Accenture, SAP, and Microsoft offering both platforms and professional services, can market research agencies ultimately compete in this explosive new space?

The answer is, at least for some, is a clear yes.

There’s three core MR competencies that can provide a differentiated offering to prospective clients. I’ll walk you though them below:

“We often forget about the human component in the excitement over data tools. Consider how we talk about big data. We forget that it is not about the data; it is about our customers having a deep, engaging, insightful, meaningful conversation with us — if we only learn how to listen. So while money will be invested in software tools and hardware, let me suggest the human investment is more important.”

Sound familiar? Isn’t this the drumbeat we’ve been hearing at MR industry conferences over the past few years? Stikeleather’s post strikes right at the heart of the MR big data opportunity: using our expertise in synthesizing data to turn it into insights that inspire conversation and meaningful change among clients. It’s something critical to our craft, and one that the top firms in our field have been honing for many years.

Click here for a great example of the power of storytelling.

The seeds of potential success are clearly there for insights agencies to capitalize.  Those that successfully transition will have access to a fantastic catalyst for future growth.

However, realizing these opportunities is going to require a quantum leap that I don’t believe most MR agencies will ultimately be able to make.  If the statement “we have met the enemy and he is us” was ever true, it will wind up being true here.  Stay tuned. I’ll blog about this particular topic soon…

Until I do, however, what do you think?  Can MR agencies thrive in the era of Big Data, or is it ultimately another force for creative destruction for the traditional MR industry?

As published on GreenBook Blog.

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