“AI will not be able to replace human creativity in market research”
“Machines and artificial intelligence may outperform humans in data collection and processing. However, they will not be able to replace human creativity and initiative in market research” – Dr. Jason Pallant affirmed during the lecture with the topic “Using market research to exploit advantages for businesses.”
This is an event in the series of Industry Link activities – Cross-border learning organized by Swinburne Vietnam to create opportunities for students to connect and learn from leading industry experts. Dr. Pallant has many years of experience in the market research field, and he has been in charge of many projects with big clients such as Google and Hallmark. He shared with K1 Business students the importance of research and methodology of finding information that brings value to businesses.
Why do you need market research?
Any product or communication message that wants to be successful needs to capture the needs and psychology of customers. “Research helps us understand the rationale behind every decision our target audience makes. The essence of successful campaigns and products is to understand and address the customer’s pain points. And to find these needs, we need a combination of methods to get accurate and useful information,” said Dr. Pallant. “Once you understand what your customers want and need, it is easy to stay ahead of the curve.”
To get the most accurate information, combine multiple data collection techniques
In marketing research, collecting information can be categorized into two main methods: qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative studies tend to collect and process statistical parameters (age, how many people, time, etc, …). Vice versa, qualitative research will focus on psychological analysis and the meaning of the action of the research object.
Depending on the purpose and questions to be investigated, the researcher can choose to survey, analyze data (quantitative) or personal interview, group interaction, describe emotions (qualitative) for the project. Usually, qualitative research aims to initially explore the psychology and thinking of a limited number of participants. Quantitative one is often used in later stages to confirm whether the information is correct for the masses.
“Each method has its strengths and will yield very different information. No method is perfect, and a keen researcher will combine these methods to get the best picture. You can find out what customers think of you by interviewing some customers and confirming if many others think the same way by surveying or analyzing your website and sales data.” – Dr. Pallant offers advice on how to approach a research problem.
Will AI replace humans in the field of research?
Applications of artificial intelligence are increasingly widely used in collecting data and understanding user behavior. Therefore, many people think that with the speed and ability to process the amount of information that “eats off” the human brain, AI will completely replace humans in the market research field.
To the question of whether this reality will happen, Dr. Pallant expressed optimism and confidence in the power of researchers: “Artificial intelligence is a powerful assistant in large-scale data collection and detecting trends. However, the market research’s role is to understand the meaning of that information and trends and decide what to do with them. For example, AI announced that users like to watch entertainment videos between 8 am and 10 pm. Nevertheless, it is the marketers who decide to make fun content videos and post them at 8:30 to get more people interested.”
“The beauty of research is the combination of data and creativity. From the collected data, the researcher needs to use his insights and thinking ability, to find the meaning behind the customer’s actions and move towards the big picture of the market”, Dr. Pallant added.
The future of market research in the digital age
With the social networks and multimedia development, people are gradually transitioning to digital platforms, where our actions and words are easily collected. It is an opportunity as well as a challenge for the field of market research. Marketers will have more powerful tools to learn about trends and user psychology, improving customer experience and product quality. Social listening, measuring advertising performance, and tracking digital conversions are just a few ways that information gathering is growing and will grow in the future.
On the other hand, when every move of the users is tracked, privacy and digital information security issues will cause many challenges in collecting and analyzing the market process. Without explicit information provisions, businesses can face legal problems, in addition to communication crises and customer distrust.
Facing the above opportunities and challenges, Dr. Pallant reminds young people who are planning to pursue research: “Always keep a ‘curious’ attitude and be ready to dig deep to find out the root of an issue. When you keep your spirit of learning and creativity, despite changing tools and circumstances, you will always stand and find valuable information.”