In recent years, future of market research reports have pointed to the market research industry making huge strides in terms of keeping up with growing big data technologies. In fact, more and more companies are investing in better market research technologies. And, the U.S. industry for business intelligence, market research, and opinion polling is projected toreach $31 billion by 2020.

While big data continues to grow and the insights industry continues to adopt and invest in automation and machine learning, researchers looking into the future of market research in 2019 predict that growth may stagnate. Additionally, there is a need for a more educated workforce to supplement these powerful data solutions.

In this post, we’ll look deeply into reports on market research to determine what to expect in the future, for both the good and the bad.

1. A boost in new AI, machine learning, and automation technologies

40% of market researchers believe that Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning will have the biggest impact on the insights industry, according to a recent report. And, this isn’t a blind prediction.

In 2017, 53% of companies adopted big data analytics, and that number only continues to grows as technology bigwigs continue to use and acquire big data analytics brands. For example, just recently Salesforce acquired Datorama, an AI-powered marketing intelligence platform. These types of acquisitions provide companies with powerful data unification, integration capabilities, data collection capabilities, and the ability to get a more accurate view into consumer behavior in real-time.

With a rise in new technologies, market research must continue to innovate to remain a leader in customer intelligence. According to a recent report by Fuel Cycle, a majority of market researchers agree that the changing market landscape requires more use of agile tools. In fact, 71% agree that AI and automation (77%) will have the biggest impact in the next five years.

As of now, only a small segment of market researchers use cutting-edge technologies in video analysis (22%), geolocation (20%), and automation (19%). However, it’s expected these will grow in importance as a more complete picture of audiences and customers are needed and desired to support Big Data.

2. Market researchers hope to see technologies that support the human touch

Over 70% of market researchers believe automation, artificial intelligence, and video analysis technology will be very important over the next five years. However, market researchers are most excited about technologies that offer a human touch.

While big data technologies help withaccurately capturing loads of data, there is still no machine or computerreplacement for human cognition, especially in terms of creating a story behind nuanced data. 

As such, marketer researchers are most excited to use tools and software that connect them more directly with consumers, such as mobile solutions and better sample. This also includes video analysis tools, geolocation, social listening, automation tools, and more. Market researchers are excited to use these tools to create a better data story that more accurately describes consumer preferences and behaviors.

3. The market research industry will hire more data scientists

It’s no secret that AI and machine learning technologies exist abundantly. But even as the industry invests more and more in AI and machine learning, it doesn’t necessarily mean all market researchers are using these tools.

In fact, according to the Future of Market Research Report by Fuel Cycle, shockingly, only 11% of respondents report using AI for their current research objectives. To make matters worse, only ⅔ of those currently using AI plan to continue to use AI in future market research.

There is a wide gap between the advancement of AI and machine learning technologies and the willingness or ability for market researchers to use those technologies. As such, the future of market research is expected to include an abundance of hiring qualified data scientists and those with AI and automation experience.

4. Uncertainty about the adoption of AI technologies

This post already reported that 70% of market researchers believe AI and automation technologies will be important over the next 5 years. What’s surprising, however, is only 36% of MRs believe automation will techniques will be adopted by their companies in the next 12 months, according to the same study.

It’s clear market researchers understand the importance of innovation and new technologies, but they don’t necessarily have a complete understanding of the full benefits of these technologies, or how to use them to further market research practices and drive better business decisions.

As of now, stakeholders and executives don’t seem to entirely grasp how use of these new technologies can enhance human research and add value to the business. It will be interesting to see if there is a bump in education of what AI and machine learning can do for market research and how it can help with understanding customer behaviors and preferences.

5. Budgets might not accommodate for adoption of new technologies

Another hindrance for market researchers to be able to effectively adopt AI and automation technologies may lie in budget deficiencies.

After all, if executives and stakeholders don’t understand the value of AI and automation, it’s unlikely they will allocate a budget for investing in the adoption of innovations. As of now, less than ¼ of market research budgets are spent on innovation.

Much will rely on the help of data scientists and smart market researchers to growth their knowledge base to include the use of new methodologies and technologies. If they can prove the value, perhaps it will be rewarded with necessary funding.

Wrap Up

Machine learning, AI, and automation technology continues to grow. In fact, it’s growing at a rate so quickly that market researchers can barely keep up. In 2019, the future of market research may include some growing pains including educating market researchers, hiring more data scientists, and taking strides to decrease the gap between the technologies available and the ability to use them to further market research.

For more information about the future of market research and to look into better market research technologies, check out Fuel Cycle today. Book a demo at your convenience.