This post was originally published on chiefmarketer.com.
The coming year promises to be an exciting one in the world of artificial intelligence.
AI-driven technology is developing exponentially, enabling brands to get consumer feedback on a massive scale, without having to invest a great deal of time and money on the research. While it may be difficult for marketers to keep up with AI’s speedy evolution, it’s also vital. No brand wants to be left behind as competitors use technology to gain a deeper understanding of their stakeholders. It’s important for marketers to understand how to leverage new technology that uses AI to gather honest, meaningful, actionable consumer insights.
This year we’ll see AI continue to help marketers deepen their engagement with consumers. New methods for data collection and obtaining thoughtful customer feedback, like online focus groups and surveys, are becoming much more efficient and effective, thanks to artificial intelligence. Since they aim to draw out the voice of the customer directly from the customers themselves, surveys and focus groups are a perfect entry point into consumers’ minds, provided they’re done right.
While surveys may be easy to implement, they have only offered one-way communication—that is from the survey-answerer to the survey-taker. There is no back and forth and no way for the person answering the survey questions to ask for clarification or bring up nuances and insights that might be valuable to the survey-taker. In addition, a researcher could never be certain that survey respondents were giving honest, thorough and thoughtful answers. The nature of surveys also tends to force respondents to place themselves in a perfectly defined box through predefined answers, when that is rarely the case.
Some newer AI driven research tools use bots to lead a conversation with a group in real-time, while others encourage the use of a human moderator, so they can engage in conversation more naturally, and also change the course of the conversation depending on what topics arise from the participants. The beauty of live conversation is that it is dynamic—it changes on the spot and isn’t pre-programmed—something that hasn’t existed among traditional surveys, and focus groups has succeeded at but only at a smaller scale of 7-12 people. This highly engaging, dynamic approach gives brands consumer feedback that is more nuanced, thoughtful and accurate.