Since the dawn of marketing, the ultimate aim has been to send the right message to the right people at the right time. Technology makes it easier to drill down into customer demographics, personalize messages and measure responses to monitor marketing’s effectiveness. That’s why the marketing technology space has experienced explosive growth over the past several years.
The number of marketing technology solutions has grown from approximately 150 in 2011 to well over 7,000 in 2019, according to the Marketing Technology Landscape infographic. Marketing technology stacks keep growing as we look for new ways to automate processes, measure results, improve outreach and achieve greater efficiencies. But a new technology is about to change everything.
The emerging field of AI-driven market research is putting marketing’s holy grail within reach. With market research available more broadly at a fraction of its former cost and time commitment, marketing teams will be able to conduct dynamic segmentation and brand optimization projects and develop more effective media strategies. Best of all, AI-driven market research will increase impact by a factor of 10, scaling across the organization.
Tenfold Increase in Market Research Impact
While most marketing and business functions were completely transformed by technology over the past 20 years, market research has lagged behind. Traditional market research projects are measured in weeks if not months and involve expensive expertise to generate insights that are typically related to highly specific questions. With AI, the same projects can be done in minutes with algorithms.
Instead of using market research solely to resolve questions around big-ticket initiatives like brand strategy, AI makes it possible to access market research for day-to-day decisions. Rather than renting the skills of expert teams, in the future, companies will use algorithms to create research designs, employing analytical frameworks and business context to create questionnaires, analyze data and deliver insights.
AI-driven market research is transforming the practice by consolidating various research methodologies and data types onto a single platform and automating the entire research process, from survey design to final work product. But just as importantly, the product gives specific recommendations on business decisions rather than just insights that require expert interpretation — centering AI and layering on methodologies and frameworks makes this possible.
AI-driven market research’s ability to create scalable business impact across the organization makes it a true gamechanger. Old school research projects are lengthy, expensive undertakings designed to address a single issue (e.g., identifying the optimal brand strategy, price point or package configuration). After that purpose is fulfilled, the data generated is typically shelved.
With AI-driven market research, data doesn’t gather dust once a decision is made; the knowledge and data from each project join a repository containing the company’s entire body of research and can be leveraged to answer business questions posed in easy-to-understand language. Users can simply ask questions using a portal, and the AI solution will generate responses and reports using natural language processing. The simplicity of the process enables broader use, creating 10 times the impact.
Three Marketing Use Cases for AI-Driven Market Research
As AI-driven market research changes the way companies make business decisions, users will find that the applications go far beyond a single business unit. Well-designed AI and machine learning tools get smarter over time, extending business impact across departments. Here are three ways marketing can use AI-driven market research:
- Dynamic segmentation: Enterprises need to be able to respond quickly to fast-moving market trends. With AI-driven market research, it’s easy to create dynamic micro-segmentation models, build archetype segmentation for messaging design, develop attitudinal segmentation to reveal customer mindset. This capability allows companies to keep their messaging and products relevant in a changing world.
- Media strategy: An AI-driven market research tool that can define campaign success and identify impact is invaluable in media planning and execution. By bringing a wide variety of data sources together (survey data, social media, in-house sales numbers, etc.), it can broaden analysis and provide recommendations to improve customer interactions. Crucially, AI-driven market research also measures ROI for media and promotion investments and recommends channels to ensure that marketers maximize returns.
- Brand optimization: With the right AI-driven market research tools, marketers can create a brand measurement framework that is centered on the customer and gain access to data sources to create an end-to-end picture of brand health, including a visual snapshot using dashboards. Brand optimization tools provide indispensable insight on brand equity as well as recommendations for what brands can do to capitalize on that equity and strengthen customer loyalty.
Marketing’s Holy Grail
Businesses have been looking for ways to create accurate customer personas, craft and execute effective media campaigns and build and capitalize on brand equity since commerce began. Big data has helped in this regard, but too much information remains siloed to fully unleash its power. For large, consequential questions, many companies still turn to traditional market research.
AI-driven, platform-based market research is a better solution. It lets companies leverage the data, insights and results generated from individual research projects across the organization. Its self-learning algorithms can align with company objectives and account for dynamics that are unique to each enterprise, delivering value to product development, sales, the supply chain and beyond. Its natural language processing capabilities make AI-driven market research easy to use for people without specialized training, expanding the number of users and amplifying impact tenfold.
Faster, cheaper and all-around better market research is now available to add to the marketing solution stack, giving teams a nimble, affordable market research option they can use to make business decisions every day rather than confining market research to the most high-stakes decisions due to the expense and time restraints with traditional market research. AI-driven market research democratizes the field and puts the holy grail of marketing within reach.