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3 Ways AI is Changing Market Research in 2018

by Emma Borochoff on March 19, 2018

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No doubt you have been hearing all about artificial intelligence -

“It’s going to take over the world”

“We need to start using it on our business!”

“I think Alexa knows too much…”

It’s clear that many forms and applications of AI are impacting all industries - from media to finance to consumer goods. We’ve seen artificial intelligence in our everyday for quite some time now - facial recognition in our pictures on Facebook, personalized shopping recommendations on Amazon, and smart personal assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Echo - are just the tip of the massive AI iceberg (A.I.ceberg, if you will.)

Many of these examples of artificial intelligence in daily life are consumer-facing but serve to show just how pervasive AI already is in our lives.  According to a study by software company, Pega, while only 33% of consumers think they use AI-enabled technology, 77% actually use an AI-powered service or device. On the business side, a study by PwC stated that 72% of executives termed AI as a “business advantage.”

As for market research in 2018, AI is disrupting the way we think about insights - how to collect data, how to engage with our audience, and how to draw out hidden truths.

Combining Quant + Qual

Traditionally, there are two forms of research - qualitative and quantitative. For decades now, researchers have developed advanced methods which allow us to analyze quantitative data in sophisticated ways - think cluster analysis and factor models (we told you they’re sophisticated). Now, AI is finally letting us apply these typically quantitative-only methods on extremely valuable qualitative data such as video, audio, and text. If you’ve been on the internet lately (which you are right now👀), it should be clear that these qualitative data formats represent the way we communicate as humans -tweets, live video, Youtube, etc. After all, qualitative is the data that tells you the why.

AI market research tools help us to encode large quantities of complex qualitative data, and look at them en masse- in order to determine statistical significance.  Before, your focus group of 10 people gave you tons of qualitative info about their feelings towards coconut-oil infused tissues, but you couldn’t know if this truly represented the population you were looking at. Additionally, your quantitative survey told you that Yes, people like coconut-oil infused tissues, but not why. By combining these two, AI is helping researchers to understand their audience on a much deeper level that actually does represent the population they’re looking at.

Real-Time Insights

Typically when deriving insights from a study, there is a good amount of effort needed to get your hands dirty, sift around in the data, and then come back up to the surface with something that is hopefully meaningful.  With AI market research tools, insights can be delivered in a digestible format in real-time- as the data churns in. Further, AI market research tools can enrich insights by continuously aggregating data. Not to mention that machine learning algorithms make research tools smarter and more precise the more data they’re exposed to.

Automation and Productivity

While perhaps less “sexy” than other aspects of AI, automation is groundbreaking for the market research industry. Many traditional research processes are time consuming and demand human labor for repetitive and routine tasks. Artificial intelligence helps cut down on busy work for researchers and frees them up for tasks that robots can’t do (yet) - be creative and innovative!  In fact, according to a PwC study, 54% of executives say AI solutions implemented in their businesses have already increased productivity.  Sounds good to us!

As we quickly move through 2018, technology continues to change, evolve, and disrupt at a rate we’ve never seen before.  As nerve-wracking as the unknowns of the future of AI and its impact on market research can be, we are overwhelmingly positive in our outlook on how AI can uncover hidden truths, increase efficiency, remove age-old silos, and make the world a little more understanding of a place.


Interested in learning more about how artificial intelligence can revolutionize your market research? Get in touch!

In this article

Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Market Research

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