July 4, 2023

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Market Research

Technology has been a constant disruptor for the functioning of the market research industry - from pen-and-paper surveys to digital ones. Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) has now emerged as the new kid on the block with the potential to take market research to a whole new level. 

AI comes with powerful tools and methods that can expedite data collection, thereby unlocking hidden patterns and unveiling actionable insights. It has already shown a positive impact on market research, especially for content marketers and start-up founders. With the industry predicted to grow to about $84 billion in 2023, how should executives be using these new tools? 

The graph shows the collective global revenue of the market research industry from the year 2008 to 2022, with the prediction for the year 2023. 
Global revenue of market research industry (2008-22) with a forecast for 2023, source

What is Market Research? 

Market research refers to the process of gathering and analyzing data that can be turned into actionable insights about a particular market, industry, or target audience. It acts as a crucial compass for businesses to navigate the complex landscape of consumer preferences and market trends. 

For content marketers, market research is an indispensable tool. It empowers them to understand their target audience on a deeper level and develop impactful content strategies that resonate with their audience, drive engagement, and ultimately achieve their marketing goals. 

However, traditional methods of quantitative and qualitative data collection - surveys, focus groups, and interviews - are falling short in the digital age. We’re generating vast amounts of data today, requiring innovative approaches to extract any meaningful insight in a timely manner. 

This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can make a difference.  

The bar chart shows the survey from August 2018 that was done on 250 decision makers of the market research industry. As seen, the predictions done in the year 2018 about AI have come to realization.
The survey was targeted at 250 decision-makers from the market research industry in 2018, to gauge their thoughts on AI advancements in the coming years. As shown, the predictions have almost come true, source

How is AI transforming Market Research for Content Marketers?

By using AI in market research, businesses can gain deeper insights into consumer behavior and stay ahead in a dynamic and competitive market. It offers transformative possibilities in market research by enhancing open-ended data analysis, advanced predictive modeling, and faster report generation. Here’s how AI unlocks new possibilities for businesses:

  1. Faster data collection and analysis: Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms can analyze large volumes of textual data to identify trends, patterns and themes, providing insights into customer’s opinions and preferences. Content marketers can also save time and effort by using AI-powered web scraping technologies like and ParseHub to automatically extract data from websites, social media platforms, and online forums. 
  2. Automated survey analysis: AI tools like SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics offer automated survey analysis capabilities. As a market researcher, this helps you save time and effort in processing massive amounts of survey replies, identifying patterns, and deriving insightful information.
  3. In-depth sentiment analysis: AI tools like Lexalytics and IBM Watson allow you to analyze customer sentiment expressed in reviews, comments, and discussions on social media posts or on online forums. Content marketers can improve engagement with their target audience by adjusting their strategies and messaging around customer’s sentiment towards their brand or product.
  4. Predictive analytics: AI-based predictive analytics tools, such as RapidMiner can analyze historical data to identify patterns and trends. This can be leveraged to predict possible future behavior and preferences. In market research, you can use these insights to estimate market demand, enabling your business to make informed decisions.
  5. Competitive intelligence: AI-based competitive intelligence tools, such as Crayon, can keep a close watch on competitor activities, product launches, pricing, and marketing campaigns. For a market researcher, this provides vital information on the competitor's tactics, can spot market gaps, and create strategies to maintain a competitive edge.
  6. Data visualization: Easy to understand charts, graphs, and dashboards may be created from complex market research data using AI-powered data visualization tools like Tableau and Power BI. This allows you to provide a visual representation of your finding to the stakeholders in a few clicks. Visual representations can highlight critical findings without needing to scrub through pages of documents. 
  7. Data integrity: AI-enabled survey platforms can instantly validate responses in real-time, flagging incomplete or inconsistent answers. This immediate feedback helps to maintain data integrity by alerting respondents to any errors or omissions. This ensures reliability and quality of data for the researcher.
A visual summary of all the ways that AI-based market research can help content marketers. 

Best practices for integrating AI tools in Market Research

To harness the full benefits of AI, it is important to follow best practices that ensure its effective integration into market research processes.

  1. Define your objective and strategy: Clearly define your market research objectives and the specific areas where AI can add value. You can start by answering the following questions while developing your strategy: 

    - What are the top 5 priorities of your brand or business?
    - What is the best possible way to engage your audience for your specific product feature or service?
    - What is the growth potential in terms of audience and market expansion; product features or services, etc. of your brand or business?
  1. Quality data is key: AI thrives on quality data. Ensure you have a reliable data collection and management process in place. For reliable analysis and insights, it's essential to have data that's clean, organized, and diversified. While handling sensitive information, take data privacy and compliance rules into account.
  2. Collaborate with data scientists: Partner with data scientists or AI experts who walk you through the implementation process and help you with potential applications of AI in your market research. Collaborate to create approaches, define algorithms, models, and methodologies that align with your specific research objectives.
  3. Test and validate: Before you fully integrate AI tools into your market research workflow, conduct pilot tests or proof-of-concept projects. This would validate the accuracy, reliability, and relevance of the AI-generated insights against industry benchmarks or manual analysis.
  4. Combine AI with human expertise: While AI can automate tasks and provide data-driven insights in minutes, human expertise is still invaluable. Combining AI capabilities with human insights and domain knowledge can help validate findings before making any decisions.
  5. Ensure ethical use of AI: Use of AI tools should be done responsibly and ethically. Make sure you adhere to regulations and standards, especially when managing sensitive consumer information. Maintaining audience trust in market research requires open communication about the use of AI in surveys or any other data collection methodology.
  6. Monitor and evaluate results: Keep an eye on the effectiveness of AI technologies and assess the results of your market research on a regular basis - whether the AI-generated insights align with your objectives and drive actionable results. Make necessary adjustments and refinements when needed.
  7. Stay updated with AI advancements: AI is a rapidly evolving field. Stay informed about the latest advancements, trends, and updates in AI technologies relevant to market research. Explore novel approaches and technologies to improve your market research skills over time.
This diagram shows where and how AI and humans can contribute to create a collaborative effort towards making better informed business decisions. 
Above diagram depicts the process that is a collaborative effort between humans and AI to help make better informed business decisions, source

Researchers are always looking for tools to improve their data collection and analysis mechanisms, as the quality of the derived insights defines their work. AI has the potential to become that future research assistant, especially with the wide net that needs to be cast while conducting market research. 

Do you agree? Have you tried any of these AI tools for market research? Email us and let us know your experience.

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