Big data and consumer behavior: imminent opportunities

Research paper by Charles F. Hofacker, Edward Carl Malthouse, Fareena Sultan

Indexed on: 10 May '16Published on: 04 Feb '16Published in: The journal of consumer marketing


Journal of Consumer Marketing, Volume 33, Issue 2, March 2016. Purpose Our purpose is to assess how the study of consumer behavior can benefit from the presence of Big Data. Design/methodology/approach We offer a conceptual overview of potential opportunities and changes to the study of consumer behavior that Big Data will likely bring. Findings Big Data have the potential to further our understanding of each stage in the consumer decision-making process. While the field has traditionally moved forward using a priori theory followed by experimentation, it now seems that the nature of the feedback loop between theory and results may shift under the weight of Big Data. Research limitations/implications A new data culture is now represented in marketing practice. The new group advocates inductive data mining and A/B testing rather than human intuition harnessed for deduction. The group brings with it interest in numerous secondary data sources. However, Big Data may be limited by poor quality, unrepresentativeness and volatility, among other problems. Practical implications Managers who need to understand consumer behavior will need a work force with different skill sets than in the past, such as Big Data consumer analytics. Originality/value To our knowledge this is one of the first articles to assess how the study of consumer behavior can evolve in the context of the Big Data revolution.

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