Remains Qualitative Research the territory of man or room for innovation?

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The rise of AI and bots is viewed by many in the research industry with fear and apprehension.
There are those that see clear benefits and those that reject it without question, but most still view qualitative market research as a human industry at the core where only the human senses can bring real insight in what consumers want.
Of course I am generalising, but essentially the qualitative research industry is still very traditional with human researchers at the heart of the activity. But that poses a problem.

"Do I serve the needs of my clients?"

An industry is only as successful as the way in which it serves its clients needs. And let’s face it, the needs of the clients of market research are evolving. The current health crisis that has swept the globe, has only accentuated this.
Physical or close contact is severely restricted, traditional means of qual such as focus groups, individual or group interviews are currently not physically feasible. At the same time consumer packaged goods industry through e-commerce is booming. Consumers still shop, but do it from the safety of their homes with new drivers in terms of what motivates them to buy.

"What drives my consumers today and possibly tomorrow?"

The research industry has adopted video conferencing, as did the rest of the world, with vigour. Using it as a means to bypass the restrictions imposed by the health crisis, but maintaining the focus on the human element at the centre of the research activity.
So are these measures serving the needs of our clients? I take it to you that they do not.

"A company's needs are driven by the behaviour of it's audience"

Today’s audience is changing and has been for a while now, because essentially it is in people’s nature to change. Generation upon generation, consumers are displaying new purchase behaviour. The current health crisis has only accentuated and accelerated it.
Let’s face it, today’s consumer is mobile first, is global, has a huge choice and decides what he/she watches, eats, uses, drinks, listens to, etc.
And we want to know what drives this customer in their own environment using the tools they know and use.
Luckily crisis brings innovation. We call it Qualitative Interviews at Scale or QIS for short.

"The CPG industry has very specific needs"

A product today has a very short lead time from development to go-to-market. It faces strong competition in a global market and needs to resonate with clients that are difficult to reach as traditional means of consumer engagement have changed.
At the same time, companies need to satisfy their shareholders with an annual revenue growth of +x%, putting pressure on the bottom line and ultimately the research budgets.
In short they need a research solution that is simple to implement with small teams, brings almost immediate insight for decision making and does not overinflate a research budget that is already under pressure.
In our mind, this can only mean 1 thing.
You need a solution that takes advantage of the medium nobody is without nowadays: the smartphone.
  1. A solution that allows you to have personal 1on1 conversations with your respondents at their choosing: anytime, anywhere
  2. A solution that is engaging, interacts with respondents and follows through on their feedback giving you a clear insight in what drives your consumers.
  3. A solution that instantly collects, categorizes and structures all respondents data and provides it to your research teams in simple to understand statistics and dashboards.
  4. A solution that does not explode your time table, your research teams or your research budget.

"Yeah, right... but where is the human touch?"

I can hear you say,” .. that does not give you that human touch, which is vital to get to the nitty gritty of the matter. That touch, that makes THE difference that only a human can give and no machine can provide”.
And you are absolutely right to question. A machine still has its limitations. However ask yourself this.

What do you prefer?

Let do a simple A B test.

 A a qual project costing approx 30k for a total of 25 respondents, performed by a human interviewer via Zoom, Skype, … An interviewer who is human and not superhuman, who sometimes has good and sometimes bad days. Who is doing the interview from home via video link with respondents at fixed times during the day nicely scheduled by another team member (kids or no kids in the room due to lock-down restrictions). With each video recorded, transcribed, discussed, reviewed, analyzed by the research agency team. Presented to the research team of the company after approximately x months, with an additional x weeks for the inhouse team to analyse the data and present the conclusion to senior management. And after which a quantitative survey is launched to test the assumptions, with the necessary additional time, budget and team constraints.

B A qual project costing 7.5k, for however many qual respondents you want, thus removing the need for quantitative follow-up research to test the thesis at scale. That is managed by one member of your in-house research team amongst many other projects. That is performed by a conversation AI, that engages with respondents at the time of their choosing, is always friendly, never has a bad day and never is biased. That asks open questions at the time of the respondent choosing and that follows through on the feedback provided by the respondent. With data instantly recorded, categorized and shaped in easy to use dashboards. So your in-house team can spend time on drawing conclusions rather than time consuming analysis and still provide the needed insight to senior management within a 2-3 week end-to-end timeframe for decision making.

Well, I know what I would choose…

Get in touch! Find out what GoBright.ai can do for your qualitative research!

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Jerome van der Linden
Jerome van der Linden

Jerome van der Linden is a co-founder of GoBright.ai and Bot Implementation Institute. A passionate Marketeer, Creator and Conversation Designer with a solid business experience

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