The most common questions about automated market research, answered

Not sure if automated survey tools are right for you? We answer the top five most frequently asked questions.
19 May 2021
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Heath Greenfield

SVP, Kantar Marketplace

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If you are a practitioner or user of market research, you cannot help but be aware of the rise of automated market research platforms over the last few years. Self-serve platforms are democratizing the research process, allowing anyone to get consumer feedback quickly and cost effectively. Unfortunately, many people still see them as the Swiss Army knives of market research: able to do a lot of tasks but none of them well. But market research platforms have grown in sophistication in recent years, and automation no longer means having to settle for second best.

Thanks to automation, market research projects that once took weeks can now be completed in a matter of hours, and without breaking the bank. Getting fast feedback from consumers is no longer limited to the big guys. Speed and low cost do not have to undermine quality, and when the benefit of market research agility is considered, concerns about automation are easily addressed. Here are the five most common questions we hear from potential users of automated market research.

Don’t I need to be a research expert to use research tools?

Crafting an effective survey takes knowledge, expertise, and time. In the early days, market research platforms were designed to create custom surveys from scratch, but this also meant that it was easy to build flaws into the research design based on the user’s own biases or lack of research knowledge. This is no longer the case, as automated market research platforms like Kantar Marketplace now offer an array of templated tools with proven expertise already built into the research design. Concept tests, ad pre-tests, post-tests and more can now be created and launched in a matter of minutes using intuitive and user-friendly interfaces.

Isn’t there going to be a steep learning curve to new technology?

Another hangover from the days of custom-only survey systems is the belief that there will be a steep learning curve. And it is true that in the past, becoming adept at using a generic survey online interface was often a lengthy and frustrating process. The advent of task-specific, automated tools has made the process far simpler and easier. To launch an automated study, the user interface guides you through the process, asking only those questions necessary to configure for your specific use case. Now you can get the quality consumer feedback you need quickly and efficiently.

Doesn’t market research automation mean a lack of customization?

The good news is that automated market research no longer demands complete standardization of processes to gain the benefits of efficiency and speed. With the shift to more specialized tools, finding the right balance between standardization and customization is much easier than before. Any automated tool worth using should be easily configurable to your brand and category. Similarly, you should be able to specify exactly what types of consumers you want to talk to, wherever they are in the world. But maybe you want even more flexibility, in which case it helps to have a do it together or serviced option available that allows you to configure the automated survey to meet your specific needs, without losing the benefit of speed.

Doesn’t self-serve market research mean I am on my own?

Today, digital analytics summarize research findings succinctly and present them in an intuitive and easily comprehensible format. If you want to get more detail, you can. But what if the findings are ambiguous or even contradictory? This is when it helps to have a research expert on hand. Someone with hands on expertise to help guide you through the project or help interpret findings. You probably will not need help, but it is good to know it is available if you do.

Will the results of my market research be secure?

Data security is a concern for every business, and automated market research platforms must comply with all the latest security protocols and implement constant testing to protect client data. And security does not just mean protecting against external threats – it also means having the right internal permissions and controls. Today’s automated market research platforms must offer secure sign-on, customizable access rights, and client-specific portals and dashboards, if they are to be meet the needs of business.

Automated market research has come a long way

Advancements in technology have made automated research tools more sophisticated and easier to use. That means that anyone can now take advantage of the agility offered by automated market research and be confident that they will not have to compromise quality or utility.
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