This changes everything – right?

David Boyle is director at Audience Strategies. He can be reached at Richard Bowman is director at This Is Insight. He can be reached at

ChatGPT is a free tool that combines the power of natural language processing with machine learning to generate hypotheses, insights and great writing at scale. Imagine having a super-smart robot researcher at your disposal, ready to analyze data, find patterns and come up with hypotheses and suggestions in a fraction of the time it would take a human. This is the future. And it's here now.

Our experience, as long-time market researchers who have immersed ourselves in the artificial intelligence (AI) tool, is that ChatGPT is a game-changer. 

As we went over the steps we typically take to help brands understand and set strategies based on their audiences and worked out how ChatGPT could help at every stage of the process, our minds were blown by its power. 

Some examples where we have successfully used ChatGPT in market research in the recent days include:

  • Coming up with a list of category-related needs at the pitch stage with a client. Usually, we’d not get to this until a couple of weeks into the project. This allowed a much richer conversation about how the project would go than would otherwise have been possible at that point.
  • Analyzing customer feedback for a large entertainment brand. We don’t usually do this kind of work but we were able to pull out themes and write a helpful report into the big opportunities more quickly and more comprehensively than we otherwise would have done.
  • Generating great ideas for integrating intellectual property (IP) from a famous TV show into a client’s product. We helped get to a comprehensive list of opportunities that met their audience needs much more quickly and with way less research into the IP, freeing up the experts to refine and enhance our ideas rather than having to do the basics.

Challenges and pitfalls 

In this article, we will explore how ChatGPT is changing the field of market research. We will discuss its capabilities and how it could impact the market research skill set. Additionally, we will cover the challenges and pitfalls to watch out for when using ChatGPT and how to balance AI with human expertise and creativity. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how ChatGPT can benefit your work as a market researcher and how it has the potential to revolutionize the field.

One of the most significant benefits of using ChatGPT in market research is its ability to streamline existing processes, saving market researchers a massive amount of time and effort. Say goodbye to slow and brain-draining hypothesis-generation; to laborious desk research to understand a new industry; to thinking through what a brand should do to engage a target audience. Say hello to efficiency!

Imagine being able to explore new categories, identify audience needs and hypothesize about audience behaviors with just a few clicks. ChatGPT can also help you gain a deeper understanding of customer feedback and social media conversations, which can be easily loaded on a project-by-project basis. It's like having a super-smart research assistant working tirelessly in the background to help you find insights and patterns, in every industry you can imagine, so it can help you overcome the limitations of human memory and bias. Almost instantly. For free.

But that's not all. ChatGPT can also help you with something that most of us dread: analyzing customer feedback. You can now bid adieu to hours of going through pages and pages of customer responses and commentary!

"After using the AI tool, the authors are excited by its potential but aware that human input and guidance are still crucial."

Save days of hard work

One of the most exciting ways to use ChatGPT in market research is for idea- and hypothesis-generation. This is particularly useful in the early stages of market research, when trying to identify potential audience needs, frustrations and opportunities. With the right guidance, you can save several days of hard work and produce results that are more comprehensive, of higher quality and communicated more effectively than you would have been able to achieve alone.

Think of ChatGPT as your new best idea-generating buddy. Hypotheses that would usually take days or weeks to develop can be on your desk when the idea of a project first crosses your mind. For those at research agencies, it can help you come up with a list of category-related needs at the pitch stage with a client, it can analyze customer feedback and pull out themes that you wouldn't have thought of and it can even help a client come up with great ideas for targeting segments. It's a virtual brainstorming partner that never runs out of ideas and can come up with new and fresh perspectives.

Getting started with ChatGPT

Once you have a better understanding of ChatGPT and its potential uses in market research, it's time to take action and start incorporating it into your work. Here are some steps you can take to make the most of this tool:

Experiment: Use ChatGPT to test different prompts and analyze the output to see how it can generate hypotheses, insights and suggestions.

Identify specific use cases: Find the tasks that ChatGPT excels at, such as analyzing large volumes of data or generating ideas and content at scale, and focus on mastering them.

Maintain a human touch: Remember to balance the use of ChatGPT with human input. Use the insights it generates as a starting point for further exploration and analysis rather than accepting them as the final answer.

Use in conjunction with other methods: Pair ChatGPT with other tools for a comprehensive understanding of your audience and to make informed decisions.

Continuously learn and adapt: Keep investigating ChatGPT, its capabilities and limitations and how it can best be used in your work as a market researcher and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Augmenting and changing

We don’t see ChatGPT as replacing human skills. Rather, in our experience, it's about augmenting and changing the market research skill set. It can replace some traditional market research tasks, such as manual data analysis, while also enhancing other skills, such as generating hypotheses, insights and suggestions at scale, Allowing us all to add more value to more clients in more sectors.

Imagine not having to spend hours analyzing data. Instead, ChatGPT can do that for you in a fraction of the time. This allows you to focus on more important tasks such as interpreting the findings from the data, creating insights and developing strategies. 

This will free you up to do more strategic work. By reducing the need to spend time and brainpower on certain tasks, we’ve found that we can focus on more strategic and higher-level activities that require creativity, problem-solving and decision-making. The things that humans are great at! Additionally, ChatGPT's ability to generate human-like text can help us to communicate more effectively and efficiently, whether it be in the form of reports, e-mails or customer interactions. This frees up more time for us to spend on developing new ideas, analyzing data or building relationships with clients. We certainly advocate letting the machine do the heavy lifting and letting yourself focus on refining and enhancing the ideas it generates. We now work at a higher level on more topics with less stress than before. 

Challenges and pitfalls

While ChatGPT is a powerful tool, it's not without its challenges and pitfalls. As with any new technology, it's important to be aware of them but we haven’t found them to be any kind of a barrier to use. 

One of the biggest challenges is balancing AI with human expertise and creativity. For all that it can do, it's important to remember that it's not a replacement for human expertise and creativity. You’ll still need to refine, validate and size the ideas and hypotheses it generates using traditional methods. Use ChatGPT as a tool to augment both human skills and existing market research processes, not replace them. A good rule to remember is that you’ll always need to add to, edit, revise, reword and improve anything that ChatGPT generates. It always needs human strategic guidance and a human touch.

Another challenge is remembering that the accuracy of the results generated by ChatGPT is directly related to the quality of the data used to train it. And there will be biases and omissions in the data used to train it, as there are in ANY data set. By writing the right prompts and by adding your expertise to what ChatGPT comes up with, you can ensure that the work you deliver is relevant, unbiased and accurate.

Lastly, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the limitations of ChatGPT. It's not capable of providing the same level of context or understanding of the cultural or societal implications of the results it generates. It is a tool, not a replacement for our evaluation and judgement and the final answer, recommendation and communication always have to be owned by and led by a human being. 

Here to stay

In conclusion, we believe that ChatGPT is changing everything in the field of market research, and it's here to stay. It's a powerful tool but, as with any new technology, it's important to be aware of the challenges and pitfalls.

To make the most of this opportunity, it's important to use ChatGPT in a way that complements human expertise and creativity. Use it to augment your skills, not replace them. Ensure that the data used to train ChatGPT is relevant, unbiased and accurate. And have a clear understanding of the limitations of ChatGPT and use it in conjunction with human understanding and judgement.

Don't be afraid to embrace this. Try it out for yourself. Even if you think we’re only 10% right, that’s enough for it to revolutionize how you work and take your career to the next level. So, take the leap and let ChatGPT help you become a better market researcher.

The future is here. Jump on board!