By: Jasal Shah
The most significant fallout of cryptocurrency crash of 2018 was that decision makers across industries sat up to take notice of the blockchain technology. As the fundamental concepts of blockchain — keeping a verified ledger account of all transactions — gained popularity, more and more people realized that blockchain could be used in many different ways to work with data.
As blockchain technology is gaining wider acceptance, insights industry has also embraced the technology wholeheartedly. The initial progress was slow and cautious, as it ought to be, but as markets mature, all stakeholders of insights industry— market research companies, their clients, survey respondents— are more open to using blockchain technology.
Challenges faced by market research industry
Before we delve into how blockchain is disrupting the insights industry, we need to focus on why it was allowed to do so. Blockchain has the potential to tackle pain points of the industry successfully. The challenges faced by market research industry are two-pronged — gaining trust of the respondents and keeping the collected datasecure.
When respondents don’t trust market research companies, they tend to give information that is inaccurate or, at best, half correct. This proves problematic for both the market research company and their clients. The companies have half-baked data that results in incomplete analytics, which cannot be effectively used to take decisions by the businesses.
So how does blockchain help in addressing these pain points?
Fundamentals of blockchain
Blockchain is a digital ledger where each transaction is stored as a block linked to other blocks to form a chain of transactions. Do not be confused by the use of term “ledger.” Remember that the data contained in these blocks may be personal details, online behavior of a customer, monetary transactions, or any other piece of information that needs to be stored.
These blocks are in the public domain but they can be accessed only by those who are authorized. Authorization is provided via a combination of public and private keys. The owner of the block has the private key. When this private key is provided to someone having the public key, the other person can view the data stored in that block. This makes the data stored in the block both transparent and secure.
Implementing blockchain technology for market research
Using blockchain technology means that data collected from the respondents can be stored in the form of digital blocks. This data stored digitally can always be verified by those who are authorised to do so, but otherwise kept safe. The ownership of data lies with the respondents, but market researchers can use it with the owner’s permission. Thus, implementing blockchain technology automatically brings about a high level of transparency and accountability.
When the respondents are convinced that their data is safe and will not be used without their express permission, they give accurate and complete information during the survey. Getting complete and accurate data facilitates use of further technologies like big data for generating analytics for the clients.
Moreover, respondents can also give out fixed information like their personal details, device ownership, consumption patterns, internet usage, etc. by sharing the digital block where this data is already stored. This makes the whole survey process faster as well as consistent.
To sum up, using blockchain technology for market research provides the following advantages:
- As the respondents trust the company performing the survey, they give out complete and accurate information.
- If respondents have some of the data already stored in a block, they can share it without having to provide responses again, thereby saving time.
- Access to complete and accurate data enables market survey companies to use technologies like big data to provide sophisticated analytics to their clients.
(The author is CEO and Managing Director, Markelytics and Velocity MR and the views expressed in this article are his own)