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Leveraging the quantified self movement for health research  

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Brian Mondry, vice president for Kantar Health’s Integrated Digital Solutions and Innovation, made a presentation in May 2014 at the Market Research in the Mobile World North America 2014 conference in Chicago. He spoke about the pervasiveness of the “quantified self” in modern consumer insight and how this can be taken advantage of by market researchers. His talk was centered on the concept of a “quantified self” as applied to the health industry.

Because many affordable and non-intrusive technologies for gathering consumer data are now available, it becomes increasingly easy to obtain information about certain aspects in a person’s life. Mobile devices and smart wearables can now impose app permissions or deliver survey questions that gather in real time people’s lunch calorie intake or last night’s sleep quality, for example. There are pain diary apps, fitness sensors, quick mobile surveys, and even internet-connected toothbrushes that can accurately track and gather a person’s day-to-day health condition and mood states. A consumer’s “quantified self” is within easy reach of market researchers and healthcare providers. The data-gathering duration can also be conveniently and accurately timed to coincide with specific research goals, such as correlating a patient’s pain levels with his degree of physical activity for a six-month period.

Mondry, however, emphasized that researchers should see the whole picture that encompasses consumer history, behavior, and preferences, as well as combine both active and passive data collection with smart analysis. This means that in order to get a comprehensive 360-degree view of consumer data, survey and qualitative information should be seamlessly integrated with social media and wearable/mobile app data. It is also important to uncover the value and application of such quantified consumer data. In addition, a researcher should keep in mind that the quality of the data is heavily dependent on how it was collected. For instance, a mobile user’s answer to a survey question deployed to his mobile device is far more telling than his posts on lifestyle platforms like online forums. Mondry also underscored a time-honored belief in the market research industry on how better data quality translates to better insights.

You can watch the full presentation below:

About The Author

Jasper Lim

Jasper Lim is the CEO of Merlien Institute. He frequently reviews the state-of-art of the marketing research industry. Apart from his daily work, Jasper serves as an Editorial Board Member for the International Journal of Work Innovation. He is also an accomplished qualitative researcher with several peer-reviewed academic publications to his name.

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