Artificial Intelligence and Market Research

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Posted Sep 11, 2018

The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the market research industry is its ability to be used as an instrument to conduct research better, faster, and in some scenarios cheaper.  For this reason, artificial intelligence technology has infiltrated many industries, including marketing and advertising. Artificial intelligence should be embraced by all market researchers for many reasons. Although, the simplest reason being that AI is able to perform repetitive and easy tasks faster than humans. Granted, artificial intelligence may not be useful during every step of the research process; but it can be used to improve data results, reduce the amount of time spent on a project, and improve overall efficiency, one step at a time.

Reducing Bias

The issue of biased data, no matter how intentional, is an element that all market researchers are subject to. Specifically, there are two types of bias;

  • Researcher Bias – this type of bias occurs with the focus group facilitator, professional researcher, or, in general, the individual conducting the research. Bias can occur from something as minor as a slight facial movement, or even emphasis on a certain word or phrase. These types of small oversights add up to a conscious or subconscious bias being present.
  • Response Bias – like the researcher, bias can happen with the respondent as well. Naturally, humans won’t always answer questionnaires honestly or accurately. Unfortunately, the result of this natural human trait can skew your data and deliver the wrong results.

Through the use of artificial intelligence tools, researchers are able to depict, more precisely, what participants are truly thinking and doing. Although, the AI methods used to conduct research are based on human interaction such as, the use of a mobile device to track a path or actions through a retail environment. Interacting with people this way can result in more accurate data, opposed to asking a research participant to rely on memory recall of what they said, did or thought while in a retail environment.

Real-time Results

Real-time insights were once a distant dream in the market research industry. Typically, traditional market research tools require several steps of analysis before the results can be delivered to the client.  However, data on demand is no longer a fantasy of the future thanks to artificial intelligence. Similar to the real-time results delivered by AYTM, an artificially intelligent market research tool augments insights by continuously aggregating data. For instance, a business operating in the hospitality industry doesn’t have to wait for holiday seasons to pass to be able to collect and generate actionable insights. Instead, businesses can conduct research to follow consumer activities that will provide better understanding of consumer behaviors along their journey, thus allowing businesses to make decisions in real-time decisions.

Consumer Traceability

Collecting reliable consumer experiences is a crucial aspect when conducting research. Ideally the results should reveal; what the participant did, where they visited, which products did they see, at what time, in which order and why. However, the best focus group facilitator or online questionnaire could only a percentage of the consumer experience and mostly at a surface level. Human recollection is a flawed resource, prone to leaping to conclusions and missing information. The consequences of this when applied to market research are that; exact times will never be exact, less known interest points might not be considered interesting or noteworthy, and activity variety for each place will only be analyzed on the surface. Artificial intelligence allows you to know what happened, when, where and with whom by precisely recreating the consumer journey through geolocation, visual and contextual analytics.

The Takeaway

The penetration of artificial intelligence within the market research industry does not mean traditional methodologies are now obsolete. The use of AI technology has simply enhanced the way market research is conducted, it can produce remarkable amounts of information and has a spectacular array of features and capabilities. Nevertheless, even the smartest machine has its limitations, the same philosophy applies to focus groups or consumer interviews. These traditional methods of research can still be used with great effectiveness to accompany the information gathered through artificial intelligence.

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