Can Market Research Be Automated?

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Technology is a big part of market research and is changing how companies operate. James Webb wrote that more market research is being brought in-house due to “the wealth of data and technology now available.” This wealth of data has, in turn, led to the rise of automation in market research. The question that businesses are now asking is: Will an industry reliant on personal interactions, data gathering, and information analysis be improved through automation?

Big data and market research

The amount of data available is increasing, with the universe of data expected to reach 180 zettabytes by 2025. What’s more, 90% of the world’s existing data was generated in the last two years according to Bernard Marr, author of Data Strategy: How to Profit from a World of Big Data, Analytics and The Internet of Things. The challenge for companies is making sense of the data and using it to improve their market research. And this is where automation comes in. It can identify patterns and correlations from large volumes of data, such as social media, and use that information to show changing customer trends.

Automation can streamline and increase market research processes

Automation eliminates the need to manually check data. This, in turn, helps streamline businesses. A Verizon Connect post on outdated manual processes explains how automation can save a significant amount of time, as well as reduce the chances of human error, which can end up being very costly in the long run. Efficiency is increased, ensuring that more is done in less time. A prime example of this is British multinational firm Reckitt Benckiser, which is the parent company of brands such as Dettol, Durex, and Cillit Bang.

A Market Week feature on the rise of automation in market research reports that Reckitt Benckiser, in conjunction with market research technology provider ZappiStore, has automated its processes. By doing this it has led to a 14% jump in market effectiveness, with Reckitt Benckiser now able to increase the number of adverts it tests in a year from 188 to 333. It can also evaluate more brands (32 post-automation compared to 25 pre-automation), which translates to an increase in how effective the adverts were from 45% to 59%.

Market research professionals will still have important roles

It is a misconception that automation will push industry professionals out of their jobs. Market researchers will still be a vital part of the industry, but their roles will change, according to Marketlytics and Velocity MR CEO Jasal Shah. With machines taking over the labour-intensive aspects of market research, professionals can then focus on “big and visionary thinking that machines can’t do,” as well as engaging with consumers on a personal level to build loyalty. These skills are best suited for insight-rich researchers with exceptional soft skills. Market researchers will be able to use the automated tools available to them in order to improve their reach to customers.

Email marketing

One aspect of market research that has benefitted from being automated is email marketing. In ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Email Marketing Automation’ social media manager Tereza Litsa points out that while email marketing “is still a powerful method to boost your marketing goals,” it can be challenging for bigger businesses. A solution to this is automating email marketing. Through this process, emails are automatically sent to a specific list of people at specific times once a predefined set of triggers (e.g. customers who bought a certain product in a particular time frame) is activated. Automating the email sending process saves time and effort, and ensures that the right emails are sent to the right target market.

Automation is the way forward

The answer to the question of whether marketing research can be automated is yes. The accuracy in analysing data, the fast and streamlined execution of tasks, and the costs saved are a clear indication of how the industry is moving forward. Automation will not push the human element away from market research as human insights and ideas are needed to drive the industry. Rather, it will help foster a culture of innovation that will help target specific markets.

Authored by Cleo Louise |  Exclusively for www.elizabethnorman.com 

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