The rise of automation in market research

Machines are being used to automate a rising number of processes in the marketing world. Programmatic ad buying, artificial intelligence, chatbots  and other emerging technologies are changing the landscape and bringing with them new efficiencies and ways of working.

It follows then, that market research also stands to benefit from automation. One such example is the use of robots to test the effectiveness of advertising.

Brands want answers to specific creative campaign questions before their activity starts (around messaging and execution), while it is live (to assess how the target audience is responding) and when completed (to determine what ROI it has delivered).

Automation improves the accuracy of this kind of research, speeds up the collection of data and can save brands money. It also makes ad testing more intuitive and should mean human researchers can spend more time analysing the results to produce the actionable insight that brands crave.

One British multinational to invest in a fully-automated creative testing process is Reckitt Benckiser (RB), owner of brands including Dettol, Durex and Cillit Bang.

It is working with market research technology provider ZappiStore to improve ad testing results. By automating processes it has been able to increase the number of ads it tests in a year by 77%, from 188 to 333, which has resulted in a 14% jump in market effectiveness. Previously the business focused primarily on analysing the effectiveness of TV commercials but it now examines creativity across Facebook, point of sale and online video.

Automation allows large brand owners to think and act with the agility of a startup.

Mathilde Levy, RB

The company has also increased the number of brands it can evaluate from 25 to 32, which has improved overall ad effectiveness from 45% to 59%.

Since the introduction of a suite of Kantar Millward Brown Link solutions run through Zappi, RB have seen a 77% increase in assets tested (188 to 333,) resulting in a 34% increase in Copy development revenue.

Mathilde Levy, RB’s senior consumer and market insight manager for Europe and the US, says automation has made a big difference.

“In the FMCG/ CPG world there is the internal clock of the marketing function and the external clock of the life of the customer. These two clocks are not always synchronised,” she says. “By using automation the internal clock is more in tune and allows large brand owners to think and act with the agility of a startup.”

The company is keen to introduce automation into other areas of its research, such as qualitative work enabling more interviews to be carried out in people’s homes using machines.

“Automation is also removing barriers internally,” says Levy. “The research we provide is not always as timely as marketers want it to be and we can be regarded as blockers. Automation changes this. Instead of serving as a validation function and being the policemen, we become more of a consultant, providing insight that can help to drive the business forward.”

RB is now looking to upgrade its automated efforts, which will enable its brand marketers to cross-compare previous studies with new ones to reveal trends that would previously have cost too much time and money to uncover.

Learn more about ZappiStore 

Republished with elements from Marketing Week

Alkistis Chatzidimitriou

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Alkistis Chatzidimitriou

Alkistis is an Associate Director of Product Marketing at ZappiStore.

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