Missing: why fractured data is killing market research.

Picture this.

You’re standing in front of the CEO. He pulls off a pair of black-rimmed glasses, rubs his eyes where they once framed his face, and asks: “… why is our foot traffic down?” 

Uh oh.

You need to answer that — fast.

But … you’re stumped. The survey data and foot traffic you’re looking at clearly contradict. Ugh, this is going to be a wild goose chase. You’ll need to need to sort through 6 different data platforms to figure out what’s really going on. Right now, you can’t trust what you’re seeing.


This sticky situation sounds all-too-familiar. Marketing attribution is hard, and it gets a whole lot harder once it’s mixed with fractured data. Yet, that’s just how it’s been. Market research has been so niche for so long, it’s forgotten the value of a single-source platform. 

Until now.

You can see it too, I bet. In the past four years, there’s been a massive consolidation, and that can only mean one thing. The market is finally demanding suppliers take a holistic approach to measure the consumer experience — without silos or “islands of information”.


It’s about time. 

Here’s the back story. 

I’ll show you what’s happening.

But, before I do, you’ll want to know where the problem began. See, companies have always used stated surveys to talk about trends. They tell you what people are saying. But, with the onset of fraud, researchers began to wonder, if consumers said what was actually happening. 

So, then data came into play.

Suddenly, you could capture insights on apps, sites, and stores. But, there’s no life behind this data. It can show you some trends, which are nice to see, but it can’t tell you why people are taking certain actions. For that, you need a consumer panel that combines behaviors and opinions from the same person, because context is everything.

Now, is the time.

This is it.

Together, data and surveys finally paint a complete picture of the consumer experience. It’s the piece we’ve been missing for 100 years, since the roaring ‘20s when research started.1 At last, we’re seeing the industry embrace the value of a single platform where every behavior resides.

Need proof?

Take a look at these M&As, below:

  1. Dec. 2017: Research Now and SSI merge to become Dynata.2 Then, Dynata acquires Reimagine Holdings in Feb. 2019 to visualize a holistic view of the consumer.3
  1. Jul. 2019: Bain buys Kantar,4 then, Kantar acquires Numerator in July 2021 to measure purchase data for attribution.5
  1. Sept. 2020: Medalia acquires Sense 360 in an effort to add behavioral data to their customer experience feedback.6
  1. Oct. 2021: Zendesk agrees to buy Momentive (formerly SurveyMonkey) to add customer experience management and feedback into their service offerings.7
  1. Nov. 2021: SimilarWeb acquires Embee to add surveys and mobile insights for understanding consumer behavior and attitudes in one source.8

What’s next?

Well, it’s a bit of an arms race.

Every research firm wants to be the first to the finish line. So, we’ll have to see who wins the race over time. The good news is, our industry will prevail, no matter what. Regardless of who wins, research will be better off with a more complete view of the consumer.


  1. https://www.keltonglobal.com/perspectives/a-brief-history-of-market-research/#:~:text=The%20first%20true%20instances%20of,order%20to%20be%20considered%20effective
  2. https://www.dynata.com/press/research-now-and-ssi-merger-successfully-completed/#:~:text=Gary%20S.,Laben%20Will%20Lead%20Combined%20Organization&text=20%2C%202017%20%E2%80%94%20Research%20Now%20and,the%20joint%20organization%20as%20CEO 
  3. https://www.dynata.com/press/dynata-acquisition-of-reimagine-holdings-group-successfully-completed/ 
  4. https://www.prweek.com/article/1590957/kantar-bain-4bn-deal-invest-acquire 
  5. https://www.numerator.com/kantar-acquisition-numerator-completes-creating-global-leader-shopper-behaviour-kantar 
  6. https://www.medallia.com/press-release/experience-management-leader-medallia-acquires-behavioral-consumer-intelligence-benchmarking-leader-sense360/ 
  7. https://investor.zendesk.com/ir-home/press-releases/press-releases-details/2021/Zendesk-to-Acquire-Momentive-and-Its-Iconic-SurveyMonkey-Platform/default.aspx 
  8. https://ir.similarweb.com/news/press-releases/detail/43/similarweb-acquires-leading-mobile-insights-provider-embee 

By Sydney Lewis

Reviewed by Urielle Corcuera

Posted on January 11th, 2022

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