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Are You Putting the Machine Learning Cart Before the Market Research Horse?

Posted by TrendSource on 3/17/17 9:40 AM

Advertising is going through some changes

Machine Learning, according to Forbes, has started a veritable revolution in digital advertising, opening up new possibilities for auto segmentation and personalized content. This allows advertising agencies to drill down to granular levels when targeting customers, building brand loyalty through personalization—serving up the right content or offer to the right person at the right time on the right platform.

In a world where 99.8% of online advertisements are simply ignored as customers expect deeper levels of personalization and a seamless multi-channel experience, adapting to this brave new world of automated advertising supported by machine learning is imperative. Yet far too often marketing firms put the proverbial cart before the horse, rushing to roll out machine learning without implementing checks and balances to ensure accuracy and efficiency.  

Indeed, as digital advertising expert Thomas Wieberneit explained, “Data fuels all of this (Machine Learning) – lots of data; and data that is as accurate as possible.” The problem with data, of course, is that it’s only as good as the methodology that produces it.  And that’s where hands-on market research comes in.

Hands-on market research gives direct access to actual real-world consumers, not just their digital projections, and eliminates the inaccuracies and inefficiencies inherent to even the best predictive technologies.

So, where to start?

Combining multiple Voice-of-the-Customer methodologies into a custom-tailored market research programs gives marketing firms accurate and direct data that simply cannot be gleaned from artificial intelligence alone.

Panel Surveys, for example, offer marketers a window into consumers’ brand perceptions and priorities, while shop-alongs provide similar insights into shopping habits and purchase drivers. Both methodologies inform machine learning by providing a set of known truths to juxtapose against machine-derived assumptions about customers’ buyer persona, journey, and segment.

Similarly, customer intercepts put marketer-produced surveys directly into customers’ hands, providing an adaptable resource that can be deployed to evaluate brand engagement, loyalty, and overall satisfaction.

Whether your business is entirely digital or brick and mortar, or you are striving for an omni-channel balance between the two, your customers still are, and always will be, living and breathing people. Hands-on market research puts your finger on their pulse and, in doing so, provides a sturdy foundation to build out predictive technological capabilities that ensures their accuracy and efficiency.

Yes, digital marketing solutions are paramount, but you wouldn’t build a shiny new house on top of a sinkhole, would you? 

Learn how marketing agencies can  build a hands-on market research foundation.

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Topics: Market Research, Customer Insights, Customer Behavior, Technology, Digital Technology

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