AI in Market Research: Navigating Revolutionary Times

As technology transforms how we live, work, and communicate, there’s no question we live in truly revolutionary times (with perhaps a touch of bizarro intertwined). Growing up when phones and computers were just emerging into everyday life, it's riveting to witness the rise of AI-powered language models like Chat GPT and their potential impact on various industries, including market research. The myriad benefits, concerns, and implications of AI have led to endless chatter as we consider how it could shape the future of consumer engagement and grapple with the larger societal implications. 

At Brightfield Group, we are working with these technologies to accelerate communication internally, enhance our data annotation needs, and support customer needs. Exciting opportunities lie ahead, from anticipating questions with precision and context, identifying crucial data cuts, crafting impactful visuals and presentations that resonate, and utilizing consumer and social data to reach and comprehend customers tomorrow. Nonetheless, AI also raises concerns and prompts debate about its influence on consumer engagement and broader societal implications. 


The Power of AI in Market Research and Outreach

AI-powered language models aim to generate human-like text that can resonate with diverse audiences. This can accelerate your reach to consumers, helping companies engage their target audience and attract new customers. AI can generate human-like text, improving communication and adapting to consumer preferences. However, prompt engineering and leveraging the right data inputs is but an emerging art. 

Not only do you want to nail what you know about your consumers, you want to connect to them deeply and with your own voice. Giving adequate guidance to AI is key to ensuring that prompt messaging resonates with your consumers. You can miss the target if inadequate guidance and information are provided to the AI, and you can also lose your voice in the process - perhaps the authenticity that attracted your customers in the first place.

Ways Market Research have used AI 

For years, AI has been propelling market research forward – it's only recently that significant advancements have emerged within generative AI, particularly in the realm of Chat GPT. Techniques spanning from clustering methods for persona development to language analysis represent the diverse forms of AI that have been shaping research approaches for decades. Here are a few ways Brightfield has utilized AI within our social listening and consumer insights platforms:  

  • Persona Creation: Many clustering approaches for defining consumer segments rely on unsupervised learning – an algorithm that groups similar items into clusters. The end result is a segment – a collection of distinct clusters in which each cluster's members share broad similarities. 
  • Predictive Analytics: From brand share model predictions to identifying potential cannabis users using trained datasets, supervised learning methods like regression and classification have played a significant role in market research for a long time. 
  • Natural Language Processing: At Brightfield Group, AI-based language models have always been an integral part of our research process. AI for market research innovation proves valuable for processing vast amounts of data – such as social conversations – and utilizing models to identify emerging themes and trends within these discussions. 
  • Personalized Targeted Messaging: Consumer insights professionals are exploring ChatGPT-like tools that use key segments and audience profiles as inputs for generating marketing messages. By providing essential demographics and desired characteristics for a campaign, marketers can develop tailored messaging ideas for a specific audience. This significant leap forward in generative AI allows for more precise and impactful communication with consumers. 

Potential Concerns and Challenges

As we embrace the incredible advancements in generative AI, it is crucial to remain particularly attuned to the concerns and shifts that are emerging. 

  • Attention and engagement: Will AI-generated content lead to information overload, causing people to tune out or pay less attention to content? Will people stop paying attention as content creation accelerates across social media platforms? The answer may be yes, depending on the consumer segment.  Identifying consumers' core interests becomes critical in this new landscape. Smart marketers stay attuned to shifting communication channels and preferences. It's crucial now more than ever to know which consumers gravitate towards Discord versus Pinterest, Reddit versus LinkedIn, and so on. 

  • Backlash and generational differences: Recent advancements in AI will not be without backlash. But where will the backlash come from? Will younger versus older generations respond differently to the shifting social landscape? Platforms like Facebook and Instagram may become noisier with the proliferation of online bots. One effect of AI’s expansion may be an increased necessity for offline marketing. If the internet becomes too noisy, the right offline channel could become a more effective point of messaging.

  • Trust and authenticity: With AI-generated content, will there be deeper distrust in what we see online, leading to confusion and skepticism about the authenticity of information? The concept of “fake news” already permeated society, and with more advanced graphic design technology, deep fakes further blur the lines between reality and digital reality. Time will tell if further advancements in AI help solve this problem or contribute to it. 

  • Cognitive implications: Will AI improve or hinder our cognitive abilities, making us lazier or forcing us to be more precise in the instructions we provide and sense-check the irrational decisions made regularly? In Brightfield’s consumer insights, we see consumers in need of focus across demographics. How large a role AI will play in our lives is still unclear, but focus-enhancing technologies that help our cognition rather than impair it could be another way AI advanced to better serve humans. 

These are only glimmers of the questions starting to mount. All I can say is let's buckle up  about the shifting roads ahead!


Adapting to Shifting Landscapes

  • Cutting through the noise: With the potential for increased content generation, market research firms must focus on delivering insights that deeply connect with consumers. This includes using both traditional and AI-generated approaches. As consumer preferences and communication channels evolve, we are in for quite a ride and race to keep a pulse on where consumers are, what they're paying attention to, and finding the right messages to resonate. 
  • Responsible AI Use: It’s important that when using Chat GPT for social media, we use it responsibly. This includes dependable data security and responsible targeting. Good market research should strive to utilize what we know about people to help them be their best selves instead of aiming for superficial quick clicks that are unlikely to garner true loyalty. 

We live in extraordinary times, with AI revolutionizing the landscape of market research and consumer engagement. Navigating this rapidly changing environment requires recognizing the benefits and challenges that AI presents and ensuring that we use this powerful technology responsibly, ethically, and effectively in the pursuit of better connections with our consumers. 

About Jennifer Kregor

643f4e25d71a692a1eb29722_Jennifer KregorJennifer’s 15 years of experience in product development, data science, and research has forged her passion for continuous learning and growth. As Senior Director of Product Development, Data Science, & Research Methodology at Brightfield Group, Jennifer is passionate about using cutting edge methodologies in programming and statistics, and believes machine learning and language analysis play a pivotal role in providing human insights. Always approaching a problem with an eye on the many individuals composing it, she hopes her research will help identify the products and lifestyles that help people thrive in a way tailored to their own singularity. She’s particularly fascinated with the vast array of uses and cases where CBD has helped individuals be well and enjoy their every day with more gusto.



Published: 4/28/2023