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How AI is Disrupting Market Research

What does the future hold for market research?

Imagine you're an executive at a pharmaceutical company or a partner at a consultancy firm. You've got some hefty strategic questions to deal with: What are the hurdles to adoption for the new Lupus treatment? How should we price it? Which markets should we target?

These aren't questions where you can shoot from the hip or delegate to ChatGPT. They demand comprehensive primary market research and insights from clinicians, healthcare professionals, and patients, all synthesized into a fully backed decision. Your go-to option is to run a multi-month study involving survey prep, target population ID, insight calls, and a mountain of primary and secondary source evaluation. This tried-and-trusted process is reliable, but it is expensive and takes time, running into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now, picture this: instead, you instruct an AI agent with the strategic questions, and it handles the entire process from start to finish. The platform zeroes in on target expert populations, crafts discussion guides, dispatches surveys, hosts calls, and within days, delivers a dynamic summary report complete with recommendations. You can tweak the AI's assumptions along the way, ensuring it stays on track, and when the report lands, the AI is ready to field follow-up questions with detailed expert quotes and video insights.

An autonomous AI research agent is not here yet, but the requisite components are there or thereabouts, and AI is already shaking up market research. The potential to slash costs, save time, and make more informed decisions is tantalizingly close. More informed decisions can ultimately help the right treatments develop and reach patients faster. This is the holy grail in an era where the impact of healthcare R&D per dollar on patient outcomes is declining, and the time to get products to markets is increasing.

The potential for disruption and value creation from AI in the sector is undeniably huge. 

How is AI Already Impacting Workflows?

AI in the Identification of Experts

AI is transforming how we match experts to research needs. At Techspert, we use unstructured data from call transcripts to populate structured expert profiles, enhancing match quality and cutting out manual data entry. AI also drafts expert bios from profile info, making it easier for clients to assess relevance and choose participants.

What about the experts themselves? Are they still needed? Yes, more than ever. While the vast online data feeding AI models is extensive, it's not limitless. To get an edge over that online content, you will always need to extract insights from the offline world and bring them online. This is what Techspert does best: finding the right experts who can share the latest, on-the-ground insights on product, market, and company developments. Combine this fresh content with large language models, and their combined impact is greater than the sum of the parts. 1+1=3.

AI for Gathering Insights

AI is redefining interactions with experts. It's beginning to design and write survey questions and discussion guides. In some very recent cases, AI even takes the lead on calls, asking experts questions, freeing up consultants, and offering experts flexibility. Will experts adopt new asynchronous methods of sharing interaction? It remains to be seen, but early signs are that this approach is gaining traction, with experts benefitting from the full flexibility when they provide the insights too.

Simultaneous translation, live on calls, is also just around the corner, which could break down all language barriers, not with subtitles, but with live simultaneous augmentation of the call into the required languages.

AI in the Interpretation of Insights

Here, AI truly shines. Improved call transcript accuracy opens the door for all sorts of downstream analysis. AI-generated summaries provide instant, digestible highlights from calls, and Techspert was first to market in early 2023.

Dynamic analysis tools like Techspert’s ECHO Ask also allow clients to get immediate, on-demand answers to research questions, such as ‘What were the pricing concerns for treatment X?” complete with references to transcripts, quotes, and recordings.

What are the coming frontiers for AI disruption? For one, there is significant, as yet untapped, value in generating comprehensive research reports directly from content. This would save consultancies vast amounts of time on data processing and let them focus on high-value analysis.

In addition, new business intelligence tools are being developed that combine expert insights with secondary sources and Generative AI. For example, platforms are now available that aggregate earnings reports and expert call content to provide on-demand answers to inform public equity research. There are opportunities in other markets, including in the healthcare and life sciences space for the expansion of this model with dedicated research tools.

Looking Ahead

Consultancies, expert networks, and market research firms are working hard to integrate the latest AI models and tools. The potential to save time and money while delivering better results is undeniable. Workflows are changing fast. Primary insights from experts will always be the cornerstone of the process, but how AI will wrap around those human insights and where humans' role in that research process will be in 3 or 4 years is anyone's guess.

What’s my guess? I'd say by 2028, AI will be doing the vast majority of heavy lifting in market research. Human input will be pivotal at the start and end of the process: refining questions to be asked, vetting AI research outputs, and adding accountability and service throughout. For everything else, AI will be running the show.

This informs Techsperts philosophy to stay human where it matters and let AI and technology handle everything else.

We’ve been an AI-first company since 2017 and have continued to stay at the forefront by integrating the latest models into our systems for expert match and expert insight extraction and analysis. We’re excited to see what the future holds and to be part of it making it happen!

Get in touch to find out how we can transform your primary research.

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