AI in Market Research: Our Founder’s Perspective

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to generate vast changes in the marketing landscape. It is already permeating marketing in many ways: in market research, advertising, and sales. This was the topic of the fifth Sven-Olof Bodenfors seminar, recently hosted by the University of Gothenburg.

One of the speakers for this event was Anders Bengtsson, founder of Protobrand. In his session, titled “Better market research and consumer insight with AI”, Anders spoke about some current limitations of AI, but also two benefits for market research: its ability to eliminate the distinction between quantitative and qualitative research, and its ability to transform data collection itself.

Qualitative versus Quantitative Research


In academia, as well as in in business, there is a large divide between quantitative and qualitative research practices. Yet according to Anders, this distinction may be a thing of the past. “With AI, there is the opportunity to collect qualitative data at high volumes without losing sight of what the data means.” he says in the session.

While previously, survey methods such as Likert scales fed questions to consumers, AI presents an ability to obtain the authentic voice of the consumer and their lived experience. AI probing, one Protobrand capability, is based on the respondent’s own used language rather than predetermined questions. Combined with projective methods like metaphor elicitation, we can access the same consumer stories that were previously collected in home studies or focus groups, but in a more scalable way: through a smartphone interface.

Because of AI, we also now have the tools to analyze this qualitative data at scale. Protobrand does this by having experienced researchers train an AI model, which is then able to identify nuanced themes within the data set. In these ways, AI is fundamentally changing both data collection and analysis.

In his session at the University of Gothenburg, Anders explains the above information and goes on to present a case study in which AI is used, demonstrating the rich insights that can be created using AI probing and metaphor elicitation. The topic of the study is human’s thoughts and feelings on their relationship with the planet. Through the Life on Earth case study, we see how AI can give us access to the “why” behind the “what”.

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Interested in seeing the rich insights enabled by AI in this study? You can learn more about the Life on Earth case study here.


Answering Other Questions about AI


After the panel was over, members of the audience asked some thought-provoking questions about the future of AI and where it is headed. Although all acknowledged that the future is unknown, the panelists drew on their expertise to answer these questions. One question was about the ability of AI to come up with new and innovative ideas – after all, since AI is trained to work off of existing content, will this be possible?

Anders took the question first, relating his answer back to market research and how human input is still needed. “If we don’t feed human ideas into the universe, you’re going to dry up of ideas eventually.” he says. He goes on to explain that in market research, one trend we are seeing with the adoption of AI is a sort of democratization, where even companies with smaller budgets are able to access more insights than they previously could before. However, for companies to stand out, Anders says, they will still need to gather insights from humans going forward. The full question and answer can be seen in the video below:


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In Conclusion


When it comes to AI in Market Research, changes are already being seen – from the democratization of the industry to the ways in which we perform data collection and analysis. As demonstrated by the Life on Earth case study that Anders presents in the fifth Sven-Olof Bodenfors seminar, AI provides researchers the ability to summarize large sets of highly detailed data and uncover nuanced themes as a result. 

This work can illuminate endless dimensions of how consumers behave, think and feel, and can provide actionable insights for marketers looking to narrow the say-do gap. In particular, working with Protobrand helps clients connect functional attributes, symbolism surrounding consumer identity, and the emotional activation of brand experiences. This fosters measurable success in the areas of product innovation and brand differentiation.


Interested in learning more about how Protobrand leverages AI to gain actionable insights for our clients? Book a demo today.