In his 2019 Lucid State address, CEO and Founder, Patrick Comer posed a direct question to the insights world: what are we doing? It’s clear that we’re all committed to growing our businesses, increasing response rates, and engaging new customers. But the truth is, our industry has also been limiting itself. By committing to traditional methodologies and putting mild effort into innovation, the direction of the industry has become discordant, with some researchers embracing technology and others supporting legacy approaches. Like Patrick, I believe investing in technology is our responsibility – and it’s time for all of us to acknowledge the profound opportunities that innovation brings to our ecosystem.
At first glance, I realize this call to action may seem irrelevant or redundant. Everyone knows technology is important – it’s 2019, and tech is a central part of our lives. “Programmatic” has become an industry buzzword. Online sampling is thriving. It’s evident we’re not living in the dark ages of research. But is that really good enough?
I could recite dozens of reasons why technology (automation, specifically) is good for your business, but you’ve heard it all. I’m not trying to preach the gospel of automation – we’ve been selling it for years, and I am absolutely certain that technology is the future of the industry. So, instead of focusing on why automation will bring you into the 21st century, I’d like to talk about what it means for insights as whole.
At Lucid, we aren’t interested in technology for the sake of technology – our platform is enabling us to change the way data is collected and used, on a global scale. And that’s powerful. I know automation can be complicated, and it requires the expertise of developers that traditionally flock to job markets outside market research. The opportunities are wider and weirder, and the problems seem scarier and more opaque. But our philosophy around automation is simple: yes, APIs require effort, but the benefits greatly outweigh the risks.
Think of an API as a living, breathing thing that demands ongoing nurturing and attention. Like any relationship, it’s only as valuable as the effort you put into it. But if you give it the attention it needs, an API integration can automate processes that take your business and sampling to the next level. And it can take your clients to the next level. And their clients. My point is, each small step toward innovation moves the entire industry forward.
Embracing automation simply means giving yourself a bigger toolbox to create value. We see this with new insights platforms that are being developed, and we applaud this commitment to innovation. So yes, companies who don’t orient themselves towards automation will be at a competitive disadvantage that will only increase as time goes on. But more importantly, they will miss the opportunity to create new value for their users and their clients.
Lucid invests in technology because of the capabilities it offers to businesses across the globe – not just our own. We are constantly exploring many of these avenues, and we’ve proposed a number of tools to leverage automation within the insights space. I’ve seen how API integrations have transformed the businesses of buyers on the Lucid platform; our Marketplace API has empowered them to develop new technologies and create new business opportunities beyond their traditional scope. All of this enables us to navigate toward previously untapped markets.
There is no final, total technical solution that solves our task of answering the world’s questions. Sure, there are unsolved challenges that we aren’t currently equipped for: how do we build platforms for the entire world to answer questions? On every type of device? In every currency? How do we step up fraud detection in the age of botnets? Will AI-powered programs become indistinguishable from humans, and if so, how do we solve for that?
These types of challenges aren’t solved from an armchair – they’re solved by engaging with them proactively, asking hard questions, and admitting you don’t have all the answers. We certainly don’t, and have been thrilled to have our partners engage us on these questions. We invest in tech because we think the opportunities far outweigh the costs. We feel good about this bet. If you’d like to discuss automation for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out – because innovation starts with collaboration.