Editor's note: Rick Kieser is CEO of Ascribe. He can be reached at rick.kieser@goascribe.com.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone mainstream and there is simply no escaping reading, hearing and talking about it. No matter the industry, AI will impact it. Indeed, AI is already impacting such disparate industries as finance, health care, travel, national security and farming! 

Marketing research has traditionally been hesitant and slow to adopt change as an industry. However, in the case of AI, we’ve already rapidly embraced many AI-based tools. To increase the value of these tools, researchers will benefit from understanding them and what they can do to help now and in the future to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for lower costs, greater efficiency and faster and better insights. 

Marketing research is the foundation of successful marketing, product development and customer service. But traditional research can be expensive and time-consuming. Simple surveys can cost between $15,000 and $45,000 and often much more, and B2B one-on-one interviews cost $300 to $500 each and more. Focus groups, on average, cost $8,000 each. And a simple project takes weeks to complete. 

Further, traditional research is not designed to handle the mass of data now available in some businesses (e.g., retail, CPG and others). As a result, due to the cost and time investment needed, many companies are priced-out of using research completely. And many companies opt to use market research only for the most critical and risky projects, such as product launches. 

As an industry, we must find ways to reduce the cost and time barriers to marketing research and make insights more available for businesses inundated with omnipresent feedback. AI is an essential piece of that solution.

AI is a wide range of technologies that apply to many different situations and refers to the ability of machines to perform task...