Artificial Intelligence: Emperor's New Clothes or Game-Changer for the Market Research Industry?

By Mike Underwood | 05 July 2023
Artificial Intelligence: Emperor's New Clothes or Game-Changer for the Market Research Industry?

“Game-changing”. “Revolutionary”. “Cutting edge innovation”.

No, we’re not talking about the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (yet). These were among the bombardment of buzzwords which accompanied the launch of Google Glass in 2012.

The wearable tech was billed as game-changing, enabling users to view the world through a digital overlay, accessing information and online services without a handheld device anywhere in sight. 

But by 2015, this mould-breaking invention was shelved due to high costs, privacy concerns and limited usability.

That same buzz now swarms around AI whenever ‘innovation’ or ‘game-changer’ is mentioned.  

So will AI succeed where Google Glass failed? Is it a fad with little practical application, or is it the new technological normal which will impact our work and lives forever?

Let’s take a look at AI and its potential impact on the market research industry.

Emperor’s new clothes?

While some view AI as the "emperor's new clothes," all style without substance, others believe it to be a game-changer that will reshape the way market research is conducted. 

Critics argue that AI is nothing more than a marketing gimmick, capitalising on FOMO (the fear of missing out). They claim the technology lacks the sophistication and nuance required to replace human analysts. 

Human intuition and understanding of context, they argue, cannot be replicated by machines. Moreover, AI's reliance on historical data and algorithms may lead to biased insights and flawed recommendations. Sceptics believe that the hype surrounding AI in market research is more about selling a concept than delivering real value.

Game-changing innovation?

On the other hand, proponents of AI in market research see immense potential in leveraging the power of machine learning and natural language processing. 

They argue that AI can sift through vast amounts of data, both structured and unstructured, at a speed and scale that humans simply cannot match. This capability allows for quicker and more accurate analysis of consumer behaviour, preferences, and trends. AI-powered tools can process and interpret data from multiple sources, including social media, online forums, and customer reviews, providing valuable insights that were previously unattainable.

AI also has the potential to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, freeing up human researchers to focus on higher-value activities. 

For instance, AI can handle data cleaning and preprocessing, enabling researchers to devote more time to interpreting findings and formulating strategies. Additionally, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can interact with customers, collecting real-time feedback and opinions, enhancing the speed and quality of market research.

One of the key advantages of AI in market research is its ability to uncover hidden patterns and correlations in data. AI algorithms can detect subtle relationships between variables, uncovering insights that may have been overlooked by human analysts. By analysing large datasets, AI can identify emerging trends, predict consumer behaviour, and recommend personalised marketing strategies. These predictive capabilities can give companies a competitive edge by allowing them to proactively adapt to changing market dynamics.

Limits and conclusions

Of course, it is important to acknowledge the limitations of AI in market research. The technology is only as good as the data it receives, and biased or incomplete data can lead to inaccurate conclusions. Ethical considerations regarding data privacy and security also need to be addressed. Moreover, the human touch cannot be completely eliminated from market research. AI should be seen as a tool to augment human capabilities, rather than a complete replacement.

In conclusion, while the debate continues, AI has undeniably made significant strides in the market research industry. It has the potential to revolutionise the way data is analysed and insights are generated. However, it is essential to approach AI with a critical mindset and ensure that its application aligns with the specific needs and goals of each organisation. The market research industry should embrace AI as a powerful ally, leveraging its strengths while being mindful of its limitations. When used judiciously and in conjunction with human expertise, AI can indeed be a game-changer, empowering companies to make data-driven decisions in an increasingly complex and dynamic marketplace.

P.S. Everything in italics was written by ChatGPT

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