Media Coverage: CXO Today
The most significant fallout of the cryptocurrency crash of 2018 was that decision-makers across industries sat up to take notice of blockchain technology. As the fundamental concept of blockchain — keeping a verified ledger account of all transactions — gained popularity, more and more people realised that blockchain could be used in many different ways to work with data.
As blockchain technology is gaining wider acceptance, the 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 the 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. It is because blockchain has the potential to tackle the pain points of the industry successfully. The challenges faced by the market research industry are two-pronged — gaining the trust of the respondents and keeping the collected data secure.
When respondents don’t trust market research companies, they tend to give inaccurate information 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 used effectively to take business decisions.
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. Hence the name blockchain. Do not be confused by the use of the term “ledger.” Remember that the data contained in these blocks may be personal details, the online behaviour 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 authorised. The authorisation is provided via a combination of public and private keys. The owner of the block has a 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 the respondents’ data can be stored in the form of digital blocks. This digitally stored data can always be verified by those authorised to do so but otherwise kept safe. The data ownership lies with the respondents, but market researchers can use it with the owner’s permission. Thus, implementing blockchain technology automatically brings about higher 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 the further use of technologies like big data for generating analytics for 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 more consistent.
To sum up, using blockchain technology for market research provides these advantages:
As the respondents trust the company performing the survey, they give complete and accurate information.
If respondents have some of the data already stored in a block, they can share it without having to respond 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.