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Embracing Innovation: The Transformative Impact of the ‘Hottest Technologies’ in Market Research

Kathryn Topp May 28, 2024

This commentary from Kathryn Topp was originally published in the 2024 GRIT Insights Practice Report. You can access the full report on the Greenbook website here.

In an industry often considered to be quite conservative, the showcased adoption of new technologies like synthetic sample and chatbots marks a significant evolution in the market research landscape. As a leading voice in this space, I see these changes as not only inevitable, but also necessary, if the market research function is to stay relevant and favored in the new era of generative AI and insights we have entered. 

The reliance on methods like online surveys, while still having a place in a well-rounded insights strategy, is seeing a gradual shift with the introduction of more dynamic and efficient tools. This shift towards new technology is helping researchers address longstanding challenges that the industry faces, such as sample quality, privacy concerns, and the escalating costs and time associated with data and analysis collection. The integration of chatbots, for example, revolutionizes data collection and analysis by allowing researchers to uncover richer insight through natural language. These AI-driven tools are not merely operational aids but are becoming core components in the strategic toolkit of market researchers, enabling real-time data gathering and richer, more nuanced insights. 

While synthetic data is still very much in its infancy, its potential to enhance the quality and speed of research while reducing costs and ensuring privacy is unparalleled. By generating data that mimics real user behaviors and attributes without utilizing actual user data, researchers can overcome many of the privacy and ethical issues that plague traditional data collection methods. This approach also grants access to very niche and previously difficult-to-reach groups. Currently, synthetic data products on the market can conduct research on market insights, trends, brand perceptions, written concept tests, and segmentations. These tools use synthetic data to answer research questions, and this is just the beginning of their potential impact on the industry. I absolutely say ‘keep watching this space’ as the growth in synthetic data products and adoption will continue to accelerate throughout 2024.  

Of course, the shift towards these new methodologies is not without its challenges. Integrating cutting-edge technologies into established practices requires not only a shift in mindset but can also involve some adaptations in the operational process. 

Despite these hurdles, the opportunities these innovations present are vast. They offer a chance to leapfrog traditional limitations and propel market research into a new world of effectiveness and efficiency. The adoption of generative AI technologies is not merely a trend but a critical evolution that will define the future landscape of market research.