Market research industry trends in 2017 promise to do no less than change the field forever. And, as you might imagine, automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are key to these developments.

These days, people are constantly posting details about their tastes and preferences on social media and other digital platforms. Only software programs or algorithms could keep up with this daily tsunami of consumer data.

Automation and AI systems are going much further than data collection, however. They’re scrutinizing this information, recognizing patterns and reporting their findings. For example, some processes of co-creation can be automated; computers can efficiently collate and distill the actionable insights of co-creation group members.

Most startling of all, machines are starting to create their own advertising materials.

Social Media Exploration

When it comes to aggregating data, social listening programs are becoming invaluable. They give brands a broad and deep understanding of what people are posting about them. They can locate mentions of a particular company online, and they can analyze those descriptions to see which aspects of the brand are generating generally positive feedback and which are drawing largely negative responses.

AI for Report Content Creation

Artificial intelligence (AI) programs are already scanning enormous sets of data, extracting the pieces of information that marketing professionals are the most interested in and turning those details into reports that sound as though humans have written them.

A market research method that’s emerging — one that should be much more prevalent in the future — involves consumer psychological profiles that AI programs compile. These tools can gather statistics about an individual’s TV viewing habits, digital purchases, social media posts and mobile app selections. And, thanks to smartphone tracking systems, they can even monitor the stores that a person visits.

So many market research industry trends involve cutting-edge technologies. You might start to worry that human researchers may be phased out at some point. However, that’s not something to be concerned about. People will continue to play vital roles. Researchers will still need to convene focus groups and conduct surveys to fully grasp what people plan to buy, what new items they want to see and how they’d like current products to be improved.

Augmented Intelligence: The Merger of AI & Co-Creation

Finally, many future market research industry trends will revolve around augmented intelligence, a term that encompasses human knowledge ― such as the collective expertise that co-creation groups can supply ― automation systems and artificial intelligence. For years, many marketing pros have viewed the fusion of human insight and algorithms as the ultimate prize. It’s exciting to think that this convergence will soon be a reality for researchers everywhere.

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