Q&A with 2CV, 2023 Groundbreaking Research Project Award winner 

Editor’s note: 2CV won the 2023 Groundbreaking Research Project Award, a category in the Marketing Research and Insight Excellence Awards. The award winners were announced during a virtual celebration on November 14, 2023. To learn more about the awards go to https://www.quirksawards.com/. 

2CV worked on a project that used AI to conduct survey research with Gen Z, resulting in winning the 2023 Groundbreaking Research Project award. The team learned a lot during this project including solutions for revitalizing survey participation, improving data quality and leveraging AI effectively. 

This research project provided crucial insights for Vireo, a startup offering urban gardening education programs. Using innovative AI-assisted research tools, the study highlighted the potential of AI to enhance research capabilities and deliver in-depth insights at scale.  

2CV’s team believes this research project is the start of a new research practice, a truly hybrid model of synergetic research blending qualitative and quantitative approaches. 

“The possibilities of blending qualitative and quantitative practices are endless – the power of AI to work with and make sense of unstructured data at scale are incredibly exciting and we’re looking forward to making our mark pushing forward this new approach in the coming years,” the 2CV team said.

Learn more about this project from the 2CV team below! 

Your award-winning project was conducted for Vireo, a startup offering urban gardening education programs. Can you share a bit about the project and the research outcomes?   

Vireo, our client, specializes in hydroponic garden projects that offer immersive, hands-on educational experiences for young people. Their mission is more than environmental, it’s a full educational program that helps students develop social skills, academic skills and foster personal growth.   

The objectives of this study reflected this dual mission – first, we wanted to understand how Gen Z feels about the environment today and the role schools should play in educating them about it. Second, we wanted to explore how they feel about their educational journey overall and to what extent they felt they were being equipped with the necessary skills for their working lives. 

Traditional surveys often fail to engage Gen Z, leading to disengagement and low participation rates. To address this challenge, we took an innovative approach by utilizing Inca, a conversational AI survey platform. Inca played a vital role in tailoring the survey experience to Gen Z's preferences, incorporating visual stimuli, interactive features and conversational AI.  

By using images and emojis for rating scales, offering a mobile-friendly interface and employing smart probing techniques, we transformed factual open-ended responses into profound emotional insights. Beyond our innovative data capture method, we used AI in the development of our questionnaire, in the data cleaning process, to assist our process of analysis and to generate unique visuals from participant verbatim. 

We worked closely with Vireo to identify key themes aligned with its value proposition. The culmination of our efforts resulted in the creation of impactful infographics that will be integrated into Vireo's social media marketing and sales pitches. Additionally, our research has served as validation for Vireo's mission and attract potential investors, contributing to its long-term growth. Our research project not only solved business problems for Vireo but also provided valuable insights into Gen Z's attitudes and motivations.  

Please explain the overall impact you think AI will have on the marketing research industry based on your experience with this project.   

This study was a real proof of concept for 2CV to demonstrate the power of AI – it represents the journey that we’ve been on this year [in 2023] in rapidly exploring, testing and adopting AI into our working lives.  

We have forged partnerships with AI experts, invested in state-of-the-art technology, created internal safeguards, policy and training and, most importantly, fostered a culture of innovation that drives us to push the boundaries of research. 

We believe the roots of the techniques we used in this study pave the way toward solving key industry challenges such as improving the survey participation experience and improving survey data quality. We feel that AI can be the bridge that blends the qualitative and quantitative practices – making quant approaches more discursive and empathetic and making qualitative research easier to analyze at scale.  

We see roles for AI at every stage of the research process – it can make the data capture process more personalized and more human. We can use it to tackle survey fraud – although it will also make that worse – and it will help us make more bespoke and interactive research deliverables.  

Although we believe AI has the capacity to supercharge the research process, we strongly believe it plays a supporting role – we have to keep the human in the loop to make decisions, guide the process and ensure the output from AI aligns with our values and goals.  

As we use AI more and more, our understanding of its strengths and weaknesses continues to evolve – helping us to understand appropriate use cases and shape its ongoing development and deployment. 

Describe the most challenging aspect of the project. 

Although AI proved very useful at the analysis stage of this project, we had to use a two-pronged approach, with separate platforms for our qualitative and quantitative analysis of the open-ended data. We haven’t yet found a platform that is adept at providing a truly integrated analysis experience – they tend to lean toward qualitative or quantitative exploration but can’t do both convincingly.  

Since running the project we’ve seen the platforms we use evolve and add new features – but we still haven’t found the hybrid analysis platform of our dreams that can do intelligent coding of open-ended verbatims and provide you with tools for more in-depth qualitative exploration.