The Gap

Market research has long depended on surveys, focus groups and interviews as sources of new information. With the explosive growth of the “blogosphere”, the ability to quickly interpret large volumes of data has never been more critical.

But, unlike the processing of numerical data, the analysis of informal language is time-consuming, costly, and open to charges of inaccuracy and bias.

None of the software choices currently available to market researchers fully resolves these issues. Email applications are fast, but they're designed to process routine information, not to capture new information. You can analyze new information with an inexpensive research package, but only if you’re willing to trade commercial volumes of data for academic-style, one-off “case studies”. You can invest in a costly “knowledge management” system, but these systems are designed to catalog formal documents and access pre-determined data fields—not to interpret informal language.

In fact, none of these applications are widely used by market researchers, for one simple reason:
Marketers don’t need to sort data, they need to understand it.