Arman Eshraghi, CEO and Founder of Qrvey, hosts a podcast, “SaaS Scaled.” Our latest episode featured Phil Ahad, former Chief Digital Officer at Toluna, the leading global insights technology and panel provider.

You can watch or listen to the podcast here and we’ve covered some highlights of their discussion below.

Where are AI and LLM headed?

“Obviously, the use cases are endless. The opportunities are massive. A lot of companies need to find a balance, especially in my industry, market research. Where can we leverage this to be most successful and efficient, but also maintain quality and service levels? The technology is advancing a lot faster than the behaviors in our comfort zones to implement.

“Quite frankly, I feel like AI could do half of what I do on a day-to-day basis already today. Now where I’m able to implement it and leverage it is going to be that key in maintaining consistency and quality of the data and deliverables for our clients. If I look at it in the lens of market research, there are three core use cases for it.

  1. Efficiency in procuring and developing the work, i.e. project management and operations efficiency
  2. Quality of responses that we collect from consumers, so quality of that data cleaning, scraping, and ensuring it’s of high standards
  3. Synthesized synthetic responses, actually replacing human responses to consumer insights projects or market research studies with AI. This is probably going to be the most disruptive to the space.”

Could AI start doing market research on its own in 5 or 10 years?

“In market research, a lot of the work that we do centers around new concepts, new ways of consuming, new ways of doing things, new products or services. And that’s where you need human insights because you haven’t collected that information on a new widget that comes out today.

“That’s something you get from just human interactions and inventing it and deciding. And this is a lot of the work that a company like Toluna and others in the space do today, we’re testing a lot of future concepts. This is where I think we’ve got to find that balance between human-generated insights and AI-generated insights.”

Should SaaS startups conduct market research?

“One of the reasons why I re-entered the field of market research 10 years ago is, historically, market research has been really expensive. It’s been a very time-consuming and heavy human-lifting type of process. Companies without significant budgets would always bypass the research and just go with their gut feeling.

“Toluna and other companies in this space have been very disruptive to the traditional model of market research. We’ve made it more cost-effective with DIY and automated solutions that allow anyone even with no market research experience to go into the platform, click a button, and get really good, solid research in real time.“To your point, Arman, I still think market research is quite expensive, even today. And this is where AI definitely gets you to the next level and gets you closer to a point where you’ve fully democratized research. You made it available to anyone. Now, obviously, you’re still always going to have service levels, but I think basic data-driven decisions are absolutely critical.”

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