The market research industry is about to witness a generative leap, thanks to the advances in generative AI (GenAI) and large language models (LLMs) that have been unfolding in 2023. These technologies will enable us to create new kinds of insights, products and services, as well as challenge our existing practices and paradigms.

As we enter 2024, we need to be prepared for the opportunities and risks that GenAI will bring to our field. We need to be innovative, agile and responsible in harnessing the power of AI, while also being aware of the ethical and regulatory implications. In this blog, I will share my five predictions for how GenAI will shape the future of market research in the next year.

1. Innovation Will Require More Creativity

GenAI tools that were considered cutting-edge a few months ago will soon become commonplace and expected. Basic applications of GenAI, such as translation, text coding and summarization, will no longer be enough to differentiate yourself in the market. To be an innovator, you will need to go beyond the obvious and explore more creative ways of using GenAI for your research needs.

2. Customization Will Be Key

One-size-fits-all models will not suffice for the diverse and complex research questions that we face. Instead, we will see a shift to domain-specific AI, where models are trained on your own data, your clients’ data and/or industry-specific datasets. These customized models will provide more accurate, relevant and nuanced insights, tailored to your specific research objectives and contexts. They will also reduce the chances of getting generic or inaccurate results from GenAI.

3. AI Assistants Will Be Your Best Friends

Imagine having a smart, friendly and helpful assistant that knows your job and can support you with various tasks. That’s what AI assistants will do for you in 2024. These tools will not replace human experts, but will augment their skills, improve their efficiency, simplify their training and minimize their need for consultation. AI assistants will help you with tasks such as data collection, analysis, reporting and presentation, while allowing you to focus on higher-level work.

4. AI Governance Will Be Essential

As GenAI becomes more integrated into the research process, the need for centralized governance will become more urgent. We will see the emergence of formal AI organizations within market research companies and client organizations. These groups will provide strategic guidance on product vision, training, productivity and risk mitigation. They will also keep track of new and emerging regulations and legislation, as well as ensure that AI is being used ethically and responsibly.

5. Consolidation, Collaboration and Chaos Will Coexist

The GenAI startup landscape is getting crowded and competitive. According to Coresignal, nearly 8,000 new AI-driven startups launched in 2023 alone. Some of these startups will offer valuable solutions and innovations, while others will be fraudulent or ineffective. Larger companies that lack the agility or resources to build their own solutions will acquire these startups for their patents and talent. This will lead to a period of consolidation, but also to potential losses for companies and investors that don’t do proper due diligence.

We will also see a surge in strategic partnerships with established AI vendors, such as Databricks, AWS, Google and others. These partnerships will be vital for accelerating solutions and offering trusted advice for navigating the rapidly changing ecosystem.

We are at the dawn of the Generative AI era, and we don’t know yet all the ways that these technologies will impact the market research industry. 2024 will be a year of constant change and disruption in the market research space. My advice? Stay curious, stay adaptable, and stay on top of new technologies to ensure you’re in the best possible position to stay ahead of the wave.

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Jan 17, 2024