Innovative industry ideas from 2023

As insights professionals around the world find their footing in the second month of a new year, we thought it wise to look back at the articles published by Quirk’s in 2023 and highlight a few that introduced interesting ideas or thought-provoking approaches.

And although artificial intelligence (AI) dominated conversations across industries in 2023, Quirk's editorial team found several big ideas outside of the ChatGPT-focused articles. This compilation touches on the following topics: online marketing research fraud, data privacy, artificial intelligence, collaboration and inclusive research design. 

We hope you find an actionable tip or two!  

The power of collaboration: Market research practitioners and academics 

By Chelsea C. Hammond, Smeal College of Business at The Pennsylvania State University

“It goes without saying that most organizations rely on innovation to stay competitive. Yet many (or likely most!) will tell you innovating is tough work. One significant factor inhibiting innovation is the dreaded stale perspective. Many practitioners struggle, for a variety of reasons, with thinking outside the box. Faculty consultants can provide new, unique, thought-provoking and conversation-starting perspectives that may ultimately lead to the spark that starts the fire of successful new ventures. 

“Faculty are the perfect additions to ideation and strategy sessions because they’re experienced with identifying and promoting new ideas – they’re constantly challenged to foray into unknown and untested waters to identify new and unique ways of looking at the world that will enhance the body of knowledge about their chosen fields.” Read more.

Takeaway: In a fast-paced world where marketing research suppliers and consultants are being asked to provide deeper and more discerning insights, collaboration with academics may assist in thinking outside the box and gaining a competitive advantage. 

Online fraud in marketing research: Tips for taking action now 

By Jim Longo, Discuss

“Using virtual video platforms in market research enables companies to see people live, track their behavior and monitor their environment. Video technology brings quality by proving the respondent is not a bot, and it also brings the data to life. In addition, articulation checks can be done to validate the users’ native tongue, and pre-work checks can be done to validate usage by showing products in the home.” Read more.

Takeaway: Marketing researchers must prepare to take additional steps to ensure data integrity when conducting quantitative research. One example is using video response questions, which can help mitigate some – though not all – risk of fraudulent participants.   

AI and marketing research: It’s time to wake up

By Finn Raben, Amplifi Consulting

“There is an assumption that all AI systems are ‘intelligent,’ but they are learning from humans, and humans are not infallible. This is not necessarily always a bad thing (as it teaches the concept of trial and error), but it does mean that the curation of the training data is essential to producing a competent model. 

Read more.

Takeaway: To secure long-term success when utilizing AI, Raben believes the marketing research sector must work to issue clear guidance on responsible use and better curate training data. 

Making sessions more inclusive and accessible to neurodiverse marketing research participants

By Mariann Lowery, Stack Overflow for Teams

“When discussing accessibility, the curb-cut effect is often mentioned. Curb cuts are ramps graded down on sidewalks to meet the street. While they were first made for wheelchair access in particular places, they also make it easier for parents to push strollers, people to use walkers or travelers to roll bags behind them. It is an example of design that often goes unnoticed.

“The curb-cut effect shows us that accessibility accommodations can benefit everyone. 

“For example, individuals consuming content in a non-native language find it easier to read and comprehend simple language. Plain language is easier to understand regardless of someone’s native language or education level. And all research participants can answer questions faster if instructions and questions are in plain language.” Read more.

Takeaway: Designing research with neurodiversity accessibility and inclusion in mind helps everyone.

Will ChatGPT replace your consumer insights team?

By Jeremy Korst, GBK Collective

“A key strength of generative AI models may be one of their biggest weaknesses: the ability to meld and ‘learn’ from all the data they ingest. This raises complicated issues around respondent privacy and potentially exposing proprietary company and customer data. Researchers must ensure that they have appropriate safeguards in place to protect respondent privacy and that they comply with data protection and privacy laws. Further, whenever considering the use of shared AI tools to analyze sensitive data, users would be wise to also consider potential competitive risks – who wants to train ChatGPT to become ‘smarter’ for one of their competitors? Read more.

Takeaway: While AI has the potential to be an incredible tool for consumer insights and marketing research, it shouldn’t be used in place of human intelligence. Rather, researchers must think critically and ensure they truly understand any new technology before relying on it.