AI in Market Research: Beyond the Hat, Where's the Cattle?

March 3, 2024

In the realm of market research, Artificial Intelligence (AI) often feels like a well-touted hat—visible, discussed, and admired. Yet, when we look for the cattle, or substantive applications of AI that revolutionize the entire market research process, the pasture seems surprisingly empty. The conversation around AI in market research has been robust, but the actual deployment of AI-driven methods throughout the research process? Not so much. We've only begun to scratch the surface.

Current Utilization of AI in Market Research

Today, the use of AI in market research is mostly confined to analyzing text data, such as open-ended responses, and assisting with questionnaire designs. These applications, while valuable, represent only a fraction of what AI is capable of achieving. AI's ability to sift through vast amounts of data and extract meaningful insights can indeed streamline these aspects of market research, making them more efficient and less prone to human error.

The Uncharted Territory

Despite these advancements, a significant portion of the market research process remains untouched by AI's transformative potential. Activities such as translating surveys into different languages, testing surveys for reliability and validity, and rendering collected data into presentation-ready formats like PowerPoint still demand a considerable amount of manual effort. This reliance on traditional methods not only slows down the research process but also introduces the possibility of human error, affecting the quality and reliability of the research outcomes.

The Opportunity Ahead

The question then arises: What's holding us back from unleashing the full potential of AI in market research? The answer lies in a combination of factors, including the complexity of integrating AI into existing workflows, concerns about accuracy and reliability, and perhaps a lack of awareness about the possibilities AI offers beyond the basics.

The real opportunity for AI in market research lies in automating and enhancing these time-consuming manual tasks. Imagine AI-powered tools that can instantly translate surveys into multiple languages with cultural nuance in mind or software that automatically tests surveys for potential issues, suggesting improvements based on best practices. Consider the impact of AI algorithms that can not only analyze data but also generate insightful, visually compelling reports tailored to different audiences.

The Path Forward

To move from the hat to the cattle, from discussion to action, the market research industry needs to embrace AI not just as a tool for specific tasks but as a foundational element that can redefine the entire research process. This requires investment in AI technology and skills, along with a willingness to experiment and innovate.

Moreover, as AI takes on more of the heavy lifting, market researchers can shift their focus to the strategic application of insights. By leveraging AI to handle the tedious aspects of research, professionals can dedicate more time to interpreting data, crafting narratives, and advising clients on actionable strategies.


The potential for AI in market research extends far beyond what we've seen so far. To fully realize this potential, the industry must look beyond current use cases and explore how AI can automate and enhance every step of the research process. By doing so, we can transform market research into a faster, more efficient, and more accurate tool for understanding the world. The hat has been tipped; now, it's time to round up the cattle.