Artificial Intelligence is becoming common vernacular these days in general business as well as marketing research. But, a quick Google search of “Artificial Intelligence and Market Research” reveals that AI has been primarily relegated to data analytics.
That said, AI is already revolutionizing other business operations such as sales prospecting, where virtual assistants are helping human team members be far more effective than they ever could have been on their own. For example, Conversica’s AI Sales Assistant can simultaneously hold thousands of email and text conversations with leads in a single day, with perfect follow-up and detailed performance tracking, freeing the humans to do what they do best- selling and closing deals.
Moreover, consumers are adopting AI into their homes with increasing speed. Think Amazon’s Echo, Google Home, and Samsung’s Bixby, to name a few. According to Strategy Analytics, 7% of North American homes will own at least one by the end of this year, and by 2022, penetration is projected to rise to 33 percent of US households; (read more here). Gartner says that by 2018, 30% of our interactions with technology will be through “conversations" with smart machines.
So what does this mean for marketing research? It means that we are on the verge of a broad installed base of smart households that come with a bevvy of new opportunities to utilize this technology for improved data quality. At Diagnostic Measurement Group, we are already exploring the advantages smart voice assistant speakers provide in terms of qualitative and quantitative data collection.
AI assistants are enabling consumers to provide both quantitative and qualitative feedback while engaged in the activity of focus. Instead of consumers sitting in front of their computers to take surveys while recalling their past behaviors and feelings, they are engaging in research at the moment of truth. It’s the difference between someone recalling how they felt about banal experiences like putting leftovers away into plastic containers versus walking their AI assistant through their process, finding the right sizes and shapes, describing the experience, and pointing out the challenges in situ. And, AI assistants can ask and record quantitative, scalar questions and open-ended answers alike while consumers engage in the activity in question or complete assigned tasks.
In partnership with Toronto-based Delvinia, we are currently experimenting with voice and conversational data collection in relation to projects fielded through the AskingAmericans data collection service. We are testing a number of potential ways to integrate voice user interfaces, like Alexa, into consumer surveys, including in-home product sampling programs.
The concept is remarkably simple:
Panelists who have self-identified as an Amazon Alexa user, download Alexa Skill, and synchronize their Amazon and panel accounts.
An alert is received when a survey is available.
Respondents ask Alexa to open the survey and complete the questionnaire via voice. Here’s a brief example video.
Combining this capability with DMG’s development of proprietary panels promises to enable companies to create their own AI-powered consumer panels for ongoing research that realizes huge efficiencies-of-scale in time and money with dramatically richer insights. Best of all, with unit prices dropping into the $30 range, the smart voice assistant speaker can be an incentive in itself.
Few will dispute that AI is coming into all aspects of our lives, and the sooner Marketing Researchers embrace this technology, the better. So if you’re curious to explore more about how AI can improve the quality of your data collection, give us a call.