Matt Hay
Matt Hay 25 September 2023

Generative AI is About to Re-Shape Market Research

Since the launch of ChatGPT last year, generative AI has dominated discourse around technology. This next epoch in digital might free us from the drudgery associated with information work, or it might take your job and make your company obsolete (maybe both). The most overlooked virtue of the innovation’s arrival might be that no one is talking about NFTs anymore. Either way, everyone agrees that GenAI is about to change things.

Everything, in fact.

Art directors can plum in a quick brief and receive a hyperreal image that looks as though it was painstakingly wrought by a CGI expert.

Business strategists can outsource their knottiest questions to a super-intelligent second brain. And the accepted ways of managing the duller duties, like organising payroll, drawing up contracts or managing invoices, is likely to become automated.

The most profound shifts to do with genAI are about knowledge and information. Specifically, this will fundamentally alter how brands extract information about the markets they trade in.

Consumer insight and research will become even more meaningful with the arrival of genAI.  

Smarter Knowledge

In the early days of market research, there was little data. It was gathered through surveys and questionnaires then manually entered into a spreadsheet.

In the information age, data started expanding at a dizzying rate. The new challenge isn’t creating or finding data, it’s managing a profusion of it.

While it was vogueish to talk about the transformational potential of big data in the last decade, the introduction of genAI means that at last, it will live up to the hype.

At Bulbshare, we think there’s a clear opportunity in marrying genAI with market research practices. That’s why we are building a new platform – Smart Knowledge Base (SKB).

In recent years, we’ve seen clients wrestle with several fundamental problems to do with the information they own.

Firstly, data in multinational companies is often distributed, it’s stored on servers in separate corners of the world, and only regional staff have access to it.

Secondly, meaningful analysis of information takes a long while, and in a fast-moving world, insight has a shorter shelf life.

Thirdly, we’ve seen clients commission research into things they have already investigated, which means doubling up on data. SKB offers a solution to all these fumbles.

We’ve made it easy to use too. It’s powered by Microsoft Azure and OpenAI, so users can punch in research terms, then be served with report findings that are relevant. Our ambition is to halve spend on insight for those who use it.

Synthetic Data

As we become better at obtaining meaning from stats, the demand for high quality information will spiral upwards. The application of a data-led approach is about to have a bigger say in a myriad of decisions at company-level.

But there’s a problem: actionable, high quality data is about to become scarce as privacy laws and the introduction of GDPR put the brakes on what kind of insights brands can gather.

Some think that genAI can help here too. But the proposed approach isn’t about gathering real data faster, it’s about conjuring up new and synthesised information.

You read that right. Researchers reckon that the future of data might hinge on information that is dreamed up by a machine. The advantage of this is that such stats would be inexpensive to obtain, and because the numbers aren’t associated with any real people, research would be free from privacy and ethical constraints.

Not everyone is convinced that synthetic data is a good idea. A set that has been created by an algorithm flies in the face of all we know about empiricism – specifically that substantiated facts form the core of science, decision-making and logic itself.

And there is huge space for misuse: “Make me a data set that proves cigarettes prolong life for those over 60 years of age.” We foresee a new debate emerging between those who favour primary sources, and others who are happy to trust the machine.

This new array of tools is about to change the way brands make decisions. It will help us understand customers and the overarching trends that impact their lives.

Very simply, we will get more from the data we have, and where valuable data is lacking, many will try to synthesise it themselves.

In this future, genAI will be pivotal to unlocking the hidden complexities of our world. 

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