‘Thick data’ sees the market future when big data can’t

“Customers are really the most unpredictable, the most unknown, and the most difficult-to-quantify thing for any business,” said Tricia Wang, ethnographer and co-founder of Sudden Compass, in an interview during the IBM Data Science for All event in NYC. She spoke with Dave Vellante and John Walls, co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio

It’s crucial to marry big data with “thick data,” which is difficult to quantify but may hone in closer to consumers, according to Wang. Ye olde marketing data variables like education and income are so-so predictors of consumer behavior.

“The new networked customer of today has multiple identities and is better understood when in relationship to other people,” Wang said. Quantitative data science is indispensable for sca; however, thick data takes individual consumers’ temperature more precisely and offers depth. “That’s why you need to combine both to be able to make effective decisions,” she added.