Anyone who has ever bought a market research report knows how expensive it is. Subscription to the likes of a Gartner, Forrester, McKinsey or Nielsen costs companies tens of thousands of dollars.
And surprisingly for the price companies pay, the data is used disposably, meaning once used it is archived or forgotten and everyone moves on to the next study – and the cycle repeats again.
While this worked earlier, today the demands of consumers coupled with the explosion in information and technology is forcing companies to look at insights that are more agile. Making insights and market research companies realize that they need to innovate, add agility and adopt intelligent technologies (like Automation, ML and AI) to stay relevant.
With Artificial intelligence (AI) gaining prominence in market research, the industry is now heading towards more efficiency, accuracy and lower-priced data collection.
As the insights sector continues to march steadily towards an automated future led by machine learning algorithms and intelligent models, the application of AI in many areas of market research is likely to increase. These include:
Survey design: Surveys are great tools for companies to understand how their customers perceive them and what areas can be improved. However, traditional structured surveys are limiting, their pre-defined responses restrict the company’s research to assessing certain predefined hypothesis rather than help them arrive at any real insight.
In order to do so, surveys must allow open ended questions and have tools that can assess them accurately. This is where AI can help, its smarter algorithm enables faster and more precise analysis of unstructured data – open-ended comments, and accelerates time-to-insights.
Automated text analysis: AI powered text analytics is said to be a game-changer, AI programs can reshape the market research industry by automated text analytics and other features such as personalized question creation and result interpretation.
AI’s deep learning powered text analysis algorithms allow analysts to identify key topics of interest in a string of text. It can also identify all the messages that are contextually related to key research themes and the underlying sentiment of the users for these themes.
Improved data accuracy: AI can extract accurate data simply because it reduces the chances of any human bias. In focused group surveys, information is gathered through interaction with a group.
While doing so, there is high possibility of the person doing the interviews to interpret things in a certain way; therefore, creating a chance for bias to appear in the report. AI program processes informational factoids only thereby eliminating any human bias from the report.
Automate report writing: Think about all the time that is spent writing reports, about 75-80 % of the work effort in market research is just report writing.
With AI’s growing ability to understand different qualitative and quantitative data, programs can now write individualized reports based on keywords or subject areas that a client is interested in, which can save hours slaving over PowerPoint.
Agile insights: Traditional research cycles are often too time consuming and expensive. Digital native businesses of today function differently. They are used to and need an iterative, agile and instant flux of insights as business decision making is no longer singular or discrete but a connected series of micro-decisions.
AI and Machine Learning (ML) can help insights professionals’ aggregate information from different systems. It can extract topics from each update, and then assist in organizing information in ways that make it easy to digest and stimulates human thinking and decision making.
Over the next several years, AI will dramatically reshape the nature of business and market research. It will exponentially increase the complexity of marketing (and business in general) in tremendously disruptive ways.
To be sure, AI will significantly simplify the user experience for insights professionals by eliminating repetitive and time consuming tasks. It may even cut down a few of the administrative roles in the industry.
But in the long run, AI has potential to create jobs that require higher levels of skill – AI can enhance growth and reveal more opportunities within market research.