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Data is very important in today's environment. With the power of internet you can collect a lot of data make very accurate decisions.
Research, especially of the consumer kind, is vitally important when making decisions. That said, bad research can often do more harm than good. You have to be demanding that the right conclusions are drawn from good data sources. Unfortunately too many companies want to sacrifice quantity they can find cheaply on the internet to quality they need to invest in.
Research is a tricky subject if not managed correctly, and people often don't know what they want. A lot of the best marketing decisions have been made on gut instincts by an expert
I agree with Jamo that some forms of traditional research are almost absurdly slow by today's standards of data access. But I've found social media tools provide only supplemental insight on a lot of questions. We live in a multi-platform world but we only have tools that measure how people behave on one platform at a time. I think this limitation is one of the reasons for the resurgence of the ethnography as a source of consumer insight. It's one of the few ways we have of observing consumers across their whole purchase pathway, from mobile to social to the site to the retail space.
Research methods are not able follow the speed of change in social media and give accurate data.