The term "Big Data" seems to be on every executive's lips right now and organizations are spending huge amounts of money to gather, analyze, and make sense of huge amounts of customer information in the hope that these insights will help them beat their competition and improve their bottom line.

In fact, there's so much money being spent on Big Data that according to Gartner, Big Data is expected to drive $32 billion in IT spending this year, and a staggering $232 billion through 2016. The International Data Corporation (IDC) last year predicted that the Big Data technology and services market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015.

Despite the benefits of quantitative research, organizations need to make sure they don't put all their eggs into one basket and spend all their money on number-crunching, and instead also embark on qualitative research. As Kerry Bodine, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, points out says in a recent blog post, "To create a complete picture of your customers and what they really need, you need a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods." Waqar Hasan, CEO of InsightsOne, notes that qualitative data can be a great complement to other types of research that organizations are already conducting to get a good view of their customers.