In 2016, we saw trends surrounding mobile research, big data, wearable technology, personalization, and global reach. So far in 2017 we’ve seen some of those trends continue. But where the industry is headed has a significant impact on the way market researchers do business. So to finish off the year we see a few other notable trends— most of them resulting from big data— that will continue into 2018 and change the way we do research forever.
1. Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning…
Many define automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning separately, yet they all go hand in hand. For example, machine learning gathers big data, processes, learns from that data then uses artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate the learning and gather more data, thus creating an automated process. But what does all of this have to do with market research? Well, hopefully it’s somewhat clear that the ability to gather, process, communicate, and learn from data has a huge impact on market research. Specifically, it will impact market research by
- Providing a means to gather and interpret big data
- Limiting the time spent on determining the what, when, where, and how so researchers can focus on why
- Solving for the restrictions on sampling and reach when it comes to the number of data points needed to provide accurate insights
Basically, the factors above change the way we, as market researchers, conduct business each day and may even change what we’re called.
2. Market Researchers or Data Scientists?
We know market researchers in some instances will still be market researchers, depending on the methodology. But due to the influx of data that’s becoming available, there’s already been a shift to data sciences for some in our industry. Data scientists currently use visualization and machine learning tools to help them find new trends and patterns in data. With the adoption of more of these tools being utilized in marketing and research it’s more likely that a blending of the two roles will take place. For example, researchers will start with data science to bring to light what’s happening in relation to a specific business problem, then use market research to determine why that is before returning to the data (or machine learning) to figure out how to predict future outcomes and solve problems quickly. In other words, market research and data science will form as one process to create a holistic view of research.
3. Smartphone Based Research will Rise
A few years ago research made leaps and bounds in order to optimize studies on mobile devices. Continuing with that trend will be the use of smartphones to gather more specific data on consumers. Applications have the ability to gain access into the data of smartphone users and provide that data to others, for a price of course. While there will likely be some sort of framework set in place around how that process works, until then, there’s not much stopping researchers from gaining access to that information. Data like location, gender, age, purchasing habits, and app usage are just a few examples of what’s available. Fundamentally, this information will add an unparalleled level of insight into the behavior of consumers. And just think what happens when we combine it with machine learning and expert market researchers and data scientists.
To learn more about how to prepare for these trends, check out our webinar where executive leaders discuss machine learning and big data solutions as innovations for zero-based budgeting techniques.