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The Benefits & Limitations of Automation in Market Research

Learn about the benefits of automating some of your tactical research. And discover the challenges of automating strategy.

Automation, automation, automation. 

For the longest time, it was only logical in science fiction. Even with the advent of computers, the logic and power behind them limited their capabilities. But as technology develops, rapidly increasing its potential and limiting its size, automation is becoming a reality. And McKinsey predicted a complete shift in the job market because of automation by 2030

However, the pandemic changed things. As businesses were forced to shutter to keep their employees from getting sick, they also had to find ways to keep their business afloat, prompting them to invest in automation wherever possible to help pandemic-proof their business. With inflation and a lower unemployment rate creating an incredibly hot job market, it’s hard to find enough talent. Thus furthering the push toward automation wherever possible. And that doesn’t even take into account the potential recession we’re facing, leading people and companies to tighten their purse strings.

All roads seem to lead to automation. But automation isn’t a one-size-fits-all, all-purpose, never faltering thing. So, when should you use automation in your insights?

The Benefits of Insights Automation

Insights automation enables you to easily use platforms with a lot of functionality built into them. Templated approaches easily distill information. Data visualizations provide quick ways to prepare reports and provide insights to your stakeholders.

But what does that look like in practice? 

Speeding Up Stage-Gate Innovation

The Stage-Gate process allows you to identify new ideas that should not be pursued before any serious financial commitment is made while also enabling you to provide resources to the viable ideas you want to develop. And automation dramatically improves the entire process.

Most large companies have distinct checks and balances that happen at each stage of product development, all the way from ideation to product launch. So many internal things must happen before launching a product. Automating certain aspects of that process allows you to speed up product development, getting through each stage faster. So, whether you’re testing initial product ideas or refining package claims before the launch, automating these results facilitates a quicker decision on the go/no-go element of the Stage-Gate process.

Mitigating Resource Scarcity 

As recession predictions come in, resources are likely headed for a bit of a crunch. Scarcity of resources could mean less money, fewer people, or (the one thing you can never have enough of) time. Just from that mindset, it’s a good idea to try and take advantage of automation to help limit the impact of potential cuts caused by a recession.

Additionally, the information set you’re working with is becoming larger. Survey data, social listening, transactional data are all used to help map trends, understand consumers, and figure out strategy. We are constantly inundated with new ways to find more information to help better understand consumers.  So, as people become a scarce resource, you won’t have enough time to distill all that information into actionable insights. 

Distilling Information Sets

There is an overwhelming amount of information available to everyone across the business at any given moment. It’s no longer easy to compile, digest, and understand it.

It’s a standard human evolutionary trait. It started with leveraging math to help speed up our day-to-day. Then computers and computing power increased, enabling us to spend time on things deemed more important. And now, we’re starting to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning to find insights that would have taken weeks to uncover. Now you can do it in days, hours, and possibly even minutes or seconds. 

Automating Tactical Decision-Making

It’s much easier at the moment to automate tactical and execution-based survey research. It lends itself to making quick decisions for specific use-cases. What’s the claim I want to make about this product? Or put on this packaging? We know that product or feature innovation testing is a great way to quickly determine what makes sense for a new launch. 

These insights are analyzed and displayed in easy-to-understand visualizations the moment a survey is complete so you can see which idea or claim makes the top of the list, saving you time from scouring data tables to determine your best option. 

Limitations of Insights Automation

Here’s the thing - you’re never going to automate strategy.

Foundational studies are essential to understanding your consumers and what motivates them. You might be able to automate some of the beginning phases of research by leveraging things like A.I. and machine learning, but you still need someone to make strategic decisions based on the insights. 

A.I. can help you categorize and make sense of the data, but humans still have to know if it makes sense for your business, or if it’s even meaningful. Because insight is only as good as the decisions you can make because of it.

Once you’ve used insights to develop your business strategy, your go-to-market strategy, and your product development strategy, you can start automating those more tactical decisions we mentioned above. 

Strategy Enables Automation

Automation in insights and market research is already here, and automating certain aspects of your insight generation will help you make decisions faster. But while this is true you still need to have a set strategy informed by good foundational research. Then you can execute and automate the more tactical research. 

If you want a tool that helps you automate certain actionable insights like concept testing and claims testing, check out our Upsiide platform

If you want more information on building strategies, don’t be afraid to reach out to us here.