Automation in Market Research – GRIT Report Analysis
By Bruno Ribeiro
Edited by Ana Jovanoski
The GreenBook team just released the 23rd edition of the GRIT Report (GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report) and we at MindProber are honored to be included in the first-ever GRITscape, occupying our buzzing village on the island of Neuroland.
(Tip: See the incredible GRITscape 2018 Insights Industry Map on page 98 of the Report)
While the GRITscape is a clever and extremely useful way to map the market research landscape, the GRIT Report focuses on a more interesting subject: Automation in market research.
At the beginning of 2018, we mapped automation as one of the trends that would gather momentum within the industry throughout 2018.
This edition of the GRIT Report reprises the automation survey held in 2017 to understand where the trend is going, and if automation adoption is indeed growing within the industry.
Automation adoption 2017 vs. 2018 comparison
Looking at the comparison table between 2017 and 2018, we might hastily assume that in fact, automation adoption is decreasing.
In most of the items, we can see that the number of companies that say they are using automation did diminish from last year. Except for Project Design, every single one of the tasks analyzed saw a decrease in terms of adoption.
Sample issues (as pointed in the report) aside, this apparent slowing down of automation adoption is, we believe, linked to the facts that:
- We are still in the early stages of development of automation tools, and
- Not all organizations are prepared to integrate these tools within their companies’ toolbox.
What seems to happen is that there is an eagerness to test the tools and run pilots. As the results or the processes are not aligned with expectations or ecosystem, the idea is then dropped, at least in the meantime.
The GRIT team calls this the “narrowing of focus” hypothesis, where the number of companies that responded that tasks are “not applicable to our organization” has grown across the board. As a growing number of organizations dip their toes in automation, the number of those that do not find a fit between tools and their current objectives also grows.
This can also be seen in the following graph. It clearly shows that there are still:
- A lot of automation tools that are being tried on a pilot basis, and
- A lot of companies that are not sure how to best test and implement these automation alternatives.
Automation in market research, future perspective
But while there is still some uncertainty about what tools to use and what tasks to automate, there’s little doubt that automation will increasingly become essential in market research.
In fact, more than 70% of the sample agreed with the notion that the adoption of automation throughout the industry and within their organizations will grow in the next years.
As we pointed at the start of the year, automation in market research is growing and it will become a mainstream feature in the next five years. As with all new technologies and processes, full adoption does not happen overnight. It will take organizations several tests and pilots not only to start to understand what sort of competitive advantages they stand to gain but also how best to integrate the adoption of automated tasks within their current processes and workflows.
It is natural and expected that some headwind friction occurs when new processes are tested. But automation in market research will continue to evolve and to allow faster and more insightful inputs to be gained, as the automation of tasks free researchers to think and analyze more thoroughly the way consumers think, behave, and make decisions.