The latest GRIT report confirms trends we’ve seen in the insights industry over the past few years. Hot button topics fall in two camps, either “game-changer” or “much ado about nothing.”  As industry professionals grow more familiar with these topics, the divide becomes more distinct.

The jury is in: big data, storytelling (data visualization), automation, and artificial intelligence are the real deal. These topics are all considered game-changers or at least interesting trends by suppliers and clients across global geographic regions.  MR professionals are more skeptical about topics like virtual reality (VR) and artificial reality (AR), attribution analytics, and marketplaces. GRIT respondents tend to think these latter topics are potentially “much ado about nothing” or at least claim it’s “too early to tell.”

Within the game-changer topics, there is a further divide between big data/storytelling and automation/artificial intelligence. It’s easy to grasp the tangible benefits of big data and data visualization: more data to analyze and better methods to communicate insights. 

The benefits of automation and artificial intelligence are more nuanced and therefore more obscure. They permeate so many aspects of our industry in small but meaningful ways but rarely get noticed for the influence they have on the industry.  Interestingly, if you exclude professionals who are “not sure” about automation from the latest GRIT report, it is actually the most commonly cited “game-changer” topic among respondents—edging out big data. This suggests that although automation is less understood, those who understand it well are convinced about its critical role in our ever-evolving industry.

As 2017 comes to a close, projects we’re working on are launching with access to more and better information than ever before, resulting in reports and dashboards that are better looking, more intuitive, and more actionable. Big data and data visualization get the credit, but automation (often assisted by artificial intelligence) is the unsung hero behind the scenes at every step of the process, from project launch to wrap.

Automation provides a foundation that allows disparate parts of our process to work seamlessly. This helps MR professionals execute projects quicker with better accuracy. The human benefits are clear: survey respondents get a better experience (shorter surveys, clearer communication) and project managers are able to spend more time doing what they do best: consulting with clients and ensuring a flawless experience!

Automated technology has allowed Critical Mix to run a 24/7 business.  Recently, we had a customer call us in a panic on Friday afternoon about a new project that needed to be complete by 9 a.m. on Monday. We collaborated with their team on our CMIX platform to create the survey, select an audience from our OneOpinion panel and, most importantly, provide the client with technology to interpret and analyze the data with impactful dashboards—all finished by Monday morning. The way we do research is evolving and with the ever-demanding digital age, insights are needed in real-time.  Modern technology has allowed us to create insights for clients at a fraction of the time required in the past.


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