Today’s market research firms are increasingly turning to automation in an effort to provide cheaper and faster results to their clients. It makes sense; automation has played a part in human existence since at least the 3rd century BCE when Ctesibius invented an automatic clepsydra (water clock), improving upon the older version by automating the flow of water and, thus, making it more precise. By removing the human element from a task, it is hoped that processes will be more reliable and effective. In many ways this is true. Technologies like smart thermostats, electronic assistants, automatic bill pays, programmable coffee pots and robotic pet feeders provide faster ways to do everyday tasks without worrying about human error. Take a look at how automation in market research helps drive success:
Automation Increases Productivity
Strictly speaking, businesses are more productive when they yield more outputs with fewer inputs. This means they do more (provide insightful and actionable results) with less (time, energy, money, resources). Automation drives productivity by providing solutions to common, repetitive problems, allowing researchers the freedom to work on more innovative pursuits. For example, in the past, researchers have expended a lot of time and energy on manually choosing a target group to survey. As an alternative, using aggregation techniques that utilize automated selection parameters to choose a target audience means market researchers have quicker access to, and a wider range from which to pull, respondents. Workflows, automated product and marketing testing and software–assisted data refinement can all help market researchers divert their attention to other, more interactive and productive endeavors.
Automation Enhances Accessibility
Market researchers know that clients want information yesterday. You can’t make a decision if you don’t have timely and accurate data. Automation provides clients access to data in real-time. Business can use technologies like automated data visualization tools and real-time dashboards to see data inputs immediately and continuously; they can monitor respondent participation and glean useable results without having to wait for the data collection to end. Early access to the data so that companies can spot trends and patterns can mean speedier results and a better return on investment (ROI).
Automation Boosts Precision
Quality results come from quality evidence. Automation can boost evidential precision by tailoring quantitative data collection techniques to individual experience. Market research firms can now use tools like automated conditional branching to manage survey questioning in direct response to individual answers. Routing respondents to the questions that most reflect their interests and expertise keeps respondents engaged and interested in the data collection process and helps ensure that the opinions expressed in the research are the most appropriate and applicable to the situation. In short, automation can better predict the prognostic relevance of respondents, thus boosting the accuracy of results.
While automation can provide companies with numerous benefits, it’s important to remember that quality market research relies on human synergy. In this sense, automation isn’t so much about replacing humans with machines as it’s about using machines to enable more meaningful human interaction. Automation frees up the researcher so that he or she can be creative and innovative. Contact our co-CEO Colson Steber at Communications for Research (CFR) to help you determine how and when to use automation in market research to your best benefit.
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