With rapid advancements in Large Language Models (LLMs), AI is transforming market research practices. A paper by researchers from OpenAI and the University of Pennsylvania projects more than 50% of work done by most survey researchers can be automated. 

Market research companies can gain a significant competitive advantage by leveraging AI tools. To enjoy the potential productivity gains, market research companies should be investing in figuring out how to use AI to improve performance. Market researchers should be exploring how to automate their jobs and prepare for the disruption to come. 

How so?

For market research, AI streamlines data collection, cleaning, and analysis, reduces instances of human error, and provides more affordable and timely insights. Notably, an AI-powered tool can generate a research report within minutes or even seconds, while a human analyst on their own may take days or weeks to analyze and summarize the data manually. Using ChatGPT, I:

  • Generated a sample study with 12 respondents
  • Analyzed it
  • Got key findings from the study
  • Generated business recommendations based on those findings

→ All in less than 5 minutes. 

See here: https://shareg.pt/3w3zAuI 

In fact, many research tasks we once had to do manually are now outsourceable to Large Language Models (LLMs). Here are a few examples with ChatGPT:

  1. Summarize online reviews.
  2. Draw trends from open-ended responses.
  3. Categorize responses.
  4. Generate customer personas or profiles. (AI uses these profiles to tailor survey questions and/or user experience to that specific customer).

Thanks to automation, researchers can spend less time on tedious tasks and more time making strategic decisions. We’re now able to focus instead on designing effective research studies, collaborating with clients to understand their objectives, and analyzing and communicating insights from data.

The current capabilities of AI are already impressive, and this is just the beginning. The speed of innovation in AI is unprecedented and yet still accelerating. 

There are now experiments testing GPT-4’s ability to develop and manage entire businesses autonomously. While achieving this will take more time, experimentation, and optimization, a potential trend we’re already seeing is using AI Agents for various business functions: “Agents are going to be extremely popular, and extremely focused. You’ll have one for marketing, one for sales, etc, etc” (Twitter). See the following demonstration of an AI agent designed to autonomously conduct market research for given topics:

These ideas are exciting; however, using AI-powered software to aid in research is only effective if proper steps are taken to hedge the risk of pulling inaccurate answers. LLM-powered software are not yet a panacea and there’s a lot on the line for market researchers. To hedge that risk, researchers should use human oversight to review or validate AI-generated insights to ensure they are accurate and aligned with business objectives.

If we utilize AI tools effectively, the increases in our efficiency as market researchers will be profound.

Some fear that generative AI will disrupt businesses and replace jobs. 

It will. 

It will allow for startups to beat out incumbents. It will replace the jobs of those who do not utilize tech to aid their human performance. But more importantly, it will supercharge what humans can do if we learn to leverage AI well.

Whether we like it or not, generative AI is here. We’ll be faced with a choice: to rage against the machine or collaborate with it.