Surveys aren’t dead: complementing Big Data with human feedback

Less than five years ago, the talk began about the full integration of passive digital data collection (mostly framed as ‘Big Data’) into business insights programs. And as often happens with new trends, a many insights groups dove headfirst into Big Data, abandoning the traditional survey in favor of the more automated digital behavior tracking. In doing so, they lost out on a ton of valuable insights that could only be gathered from asking questions to real people. Their data was suddenly missing the ‘why’ – the motivation behind the actions they were tracking.

Now in 2017, many of those insights groups have returned to surveys and settled on a complimentary solution that pairs passive digital behavior tracking and feedback surveys. Surveys are anything but dead, as they still offer incomparable insights into human behavior. Insights that cannot be matched by the automated collection of passive data. We have watched as the same organizations who shied away from surveys just a few years ago have started coming back and seeing the huge value in pairing their existing passive digital data collection with surveys.

One recent example that triggered this blogpost was when Voxco paired with C2 Montreal to complement their existing automated data collection with surveys that gauged event attendee satisfaction levels:

As one of North America’s most innovative business events, C2 Montreal deployed a significant passive data collection strategy. Smart technology embedded in participant badges tracked attendee participation levels, their purchases, new business networking connections, and more.

But the technology couldn’t track the emotions behind the actions. Why did people do what they did?  And how did they feel while doing it? That’s where a survey solution became essential. Voxco survey software helped the C2 team gather 1,200 completed post-event online surveys and another 1000 in-the-moment, face-to-face surveys. The attendee feedback served as the perfect complement to the automated data collected from the smart badges.

The two data types worked together to paint a live picture at numerous moments during the event. Event organizers could see a live snapshot of what participants were doing, and how they were feeling. Then post-event, organizers could look back at a robust portrait of all attendee activities and pair that with a complementary overview of how participants felt about each individual event element.

So to this pessimistic industry in which we all work, how can we emphasize the importance of the traditional survey versus the passive data collection of ‘Big Data’? By emphasizing that the choice is not about one over the other: it’s about choosing both.

Get in touch with a Voxco rep today to discuss how the industry’s most flexible survey technology can compliment your existing passive data collection processes.

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