Not only does the use of AI lead to more accurate results, it is also more efficient and scalable
Understanding consumer behaviour is one of the biggest challenges faced by companies across the world. The need to understand consumer behaviour is not only substantial but also a perpetual one. So much so that the global revenue of the market research industry crossed $ 73.4 Billion way back in 2019. Moving forward a large chunk of this will come from online tools for social listening and research.
Now, there are a lot of insights companies can gain by seeing what consumers are saying online. This is an area where Artificial Intelligence or AI offers progress in leaps and bounds. Not only does the use of AI lead to more accurate results, it is also more efficient and scalable. However, before we talk about its impact, we must first define the term Artificial Intelligence.
What Is Artificial Intelligence?
In simple terms Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science dedicated to getting computer systems to perform tasks that are seen as requiring human intelligence and faculties. AI is widely used for business purposes to perform tasks like forecasting consumer behaviour, generating product recommendations, detecting fraud, personalising advertising, building chatbots and performing deep market research.
Application Of Artificial Intelligence
Today the source of information for traditional market research is drying up. Most of us do not have the time or patience to stop and respond to random surveys and fill lengthy questionnaires. We are however extremely vocal about how we feel about nearly everything under the sun when it comes to posting online. This is where AI becomes exceptionally powerful.
Delving deeper into AI, let’s focus on two key sub-fields: Natural Language Processing or NLP & Computer Vision. NLP is a way of teaching machines to understand human languages. This can be in a domain-specific manner to allow machines to understand context in the same way a human being does.
For example: By looking at social media conversations AI can not only tell whether consumers are saying positive or negative things about a brand, but also identify the context in which they are saying it. This could help a brand identify what segment of users prefer them over the competition and why they prefer them, among other things. An insurance brand could use the same technology to understand why consumers renew their insurance or why they switch to another brand. This is the sort of research that would otherwise require a lot more manual effort and surveying.
The second element is Computer Vision. This refers to essentially training machines to interpret the visual world in the manner human beings do. This helps identify human behaviour and emotions and convert them into rich insights for marketing and research teams within organisations. It essentially cuts down hours’ worth of research, human effort and then presents this information in an organized and easy to interpret manner.
AI Driven Changes In Businesses Today
There are already tangible changes that we can look at in terms of how AI has made its way into businesses. Take for example online shopping where one can now try on a shirt without ever physically visiting the store or see how various sunglasses would look on your face by simply swiping on your screen. These virtual trials are powered by narrow domain AI which is able to perform specific tasks like identify the contours of your body or face and visually apply existing objects like shorts or sunglasses to it.
The applications of AI are of course vast and go way beyond e-commerce. Take security for example: Security cameras today can switch to night-vision automatically by understanding the amount of light in the surveillance area and selecting the right mode for recording the best quality video. Then there are self-driving cars which are once again powered by AI that are able to recognize threats to people inside and outside it and alter speed, direction etc accordingly.
The Future Of AI & Market Research
There is still a lot more we can do using Narrow AI in agriculture, dealing with pollution, healthcare etc. These are real world problems that AI can solve much faster and in a more efficient manner. That said these applications are still domain-specific and are all narrow AI despite their complexity. What we achieve with AI today are menial tasks compared to what it will be capable of achieving in a few years.
Today we’re in the early stages of AI, think of it like a toddler. Over the next 10 years however, AI will grow up and we will see a lot more applications in healthcare, finance, marketing, advertising and countless other industries. The usage of AI for market research and social listening for one will be the norm rather than the exception.
There are several tools in the market today for social listening and online reputation management but most tools are limited to tracking. That’s why at Germin8 we’ve built tools that go beyond just tracking metrics - they understand the conversations and our team of analysts are able to gain rich insights for the brands that use us.
Over the next decade we will see more realistic applications of autonomous cars, AI powered robots assisting humans in manufacturing, AI led diagnostics in healthcare, virtual teachers in education that will be personalized for each pupil and more.
It is therefore evident that AI has enormous scope and will be pivotal in charting the path for multiple businesses in the future. To put it more eloquently, we may only have uncovered the tip of the iceberg but we are still on the cusp of developing transformative technology that will positively impact the way industries function.
The author is Dr. Ranjit Nair, CEO and Founder, Germin8
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
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