Is AI a market research miracle?

Artificial Intelligence hasn’t just transformed our world but is also profoundly affecting market research by revolutionising how companies understand and predict consumer behaviour. This was the view of Ipsos Global Head of Product Testing Dr Nikolai Reynolds during a recent visit to South African clients and agencies, where he shared groundbreaking insights on using AI to redefine consumer research and product development.

Reynolds commented, “Embedding AI into core data analytics has allowed us to achieve even greater precision in our data analysis, accelerating product development cycles and providing our clients with insights that are not only faster but significantly more robust and actionable.” He emphasised the indispensable role of human insight when integrating artificial intelligence into market research and explained that while AI significantly enhances data analytics and processing capabilities, it requires the nuanced interpretation only human minds can provide.

The synergy of technology and insight

Reynolds also addressed a critical challenge in the use of AI within market research, namely overcoming AI ‘hallucinations.’ This phenomenon occurs when AI generates plausible but incorrect or irrelevant data, a common risk when AI operates without sufficient human oversight. “We mitigate these risks by ensuring our AI systems are fed with extensive, diverse data sets and closely monitored and guided by our skilled analysts. This process helps maintain the authenticity and applicability of the insights we generate, ensuring they are deeply rooted in consumer behaviours and cultural contexts, Reynolds explained.

Amidst concerns about AI replacing human jobs, Reynolds offered a reassuring perspective. “Artificial intelligence is transforming job roles rather than replacing them. It’s about augmenting the capabilities of staff and allowing them to engage more in strategic decision making and less in mundane tasks. This shift enhances job satisfaction and leads to richer, more creative outputs,” he explained, underscoring Ipsos’s philosophy that the best results stem from the synergy between human creativity and machine efficiency.

The Total Product Experience Framework and InnoExplorer by Ipsos exemplify the innovative integration of AI with behavioural science. These tools leverage advanced AI algorithms to interpret and predict consumer behaviour with unprecedented accuracy. “By blending AI with an understanding of human behaviour, we can deliver insights that are not only accurate but also resonate on a human level, ensuring our clients can foster stronger connections with their customers,” Reynolds explained.

Precision through localisation

Addressing a key area of concern around the AI revolution, namely data authenticity and accuracy, Reynolds mentioned the need to adapt data tools to specific market contexts. The process involves tailoring AI models to interpret local nuances, such as South Africa’s 11 official languages. However, it goes beyond simple translation to include idioms, slang and behaviours. This customisation ensures that Ipsos’s AI tools accurately capture the authentic sentiments of diverse consumer bases.

“To ensure the integrity and cultural relevance of our insights, we rigorously validate the AI’s outputs,” Reynolds explained. “This dual approach of localisation and validation guarantees that our market insights are both accurate and culturally attuned.”

Potential inaccuracies are overcome by maintaining the traceability of AI-generated data, ensuring transparency and reliability. These adaptations maintain the relevance and reliability of insights across varied global markets.

What’s clear is that as AI continues to evolve, its integration into market research will transform the industry, enabling faster and more accurate insights into consumer behaviour. Reynolds highlighted that the future of market research lies in leveraging AI to complement and enhance traditional methods, ensuring that insights are not only rapid but also deeply reflective of diverse consumer realities.

Scroll to top