Tech, With Love

The Rise and Rise of Automation

I get it, it’s efficient, always-on and yes, occasionally a pint of milk at 4 a.m. is just the thing. An automated solution to a real customer problem – low cost with high consumer benefit. Great for simple transactions, less amazing when the machine is broken, products are out of stock, or you just need advice.

Same in research. Today, around 1,200 software companies supply the research industry. Automated platforms and DIY tools are super-efficient, deliver faster results, and are a good route to data and information. Lest we forget till recently, running a ‘project’ was a monumental heave of loosely connected manual processes. Now technology automates, standardizes, and reduces cycle time and cost. For the agency, the ‘win’ is clear: the use of tech improves margins.

But unlike automated stores, the success model needs the overlay of human intelligence. Insight happens at the cross-section of technology and human intelligence. Left alone, all that data just creates noise, not insights, and not action.

Why This Matters

We have a unique opportunity as an industry – as data literate storytellers: draw on science, evidence, and imagination.

We see the overlay of human intelligence creating an exciting new future for our industry. Why?

  • The task of finding the story is tough. Experts are needed to review.
  • Data needs context. Humans provide context.
  • It is the story and the power of telling it which stirs us to act.

More and more, the benefits of AI and human intelligence are becoming concrete. Breakthrough innovations in AI and automation are lowering the barrier to entry and expanding the use cases.

Meanwhile Here at eFluence

We’re big fans of AI and even more so with a commercial overlay.

Our prediction algorithms do the heavy lifting. For example, with Flash.PDP™, the hard processing work is done. The algorithm references brand new images against the database of similar images from the same category. It calculates whether the image looks more like a top performer or has closer visual similarity to images that don’t work with shoppers. The algorithm will tell us straight away. And most of the time, straight away is when the decision must get made.

Clients find that time saving is an invaluable decision support and a game-changer in testing and learning.

Our database has identified that PDP images that use contrast and emphasis to highlight key elements are more likely to perform better.

In the cat food sector, both images below would pass the standard compliance and best practice guidance most CPG’s use. Still, only one of them is impactful in the fraction of a second before your shopper scrolls past. In this case, the green background helps the white banner in the middle of the bag stand out better, and the use of emphasis and colors help make ingredients more engaging.

Point is the algorithm will take you so far and human judgement gets us the last mile.

Once you have the KPI’s, then human intelligence steps in to help answer these key questions:

  • Are the results compelling us to act now?
  • Is there a pattern developing that can help us improve our general rules, so we create more ‘winners’ at source?
  • Is there an obvious fix, perhaps tweaking colors, contrast, or simplifying?
  • What alternative imagery do we have? What is the cost and or benefit of making a switch?


There’s a bewildering choice of AI-tools and it’s growing every month.

Clients tell us they don’t need more data so the path from clever tech to action is where to focus. Unfortunately, all too often software solutions are data heavy and (often by choice) insight light.

It doesn’t have to be like that. The journey to insight and action is faster, and with the right wrap-around, it’s smarter too. Smarter relies on weaving AI-tools into the workflow, clear on where they add, and where human intervention is needed.

Without the human overlay and commitment to value-creation, it’s just another tech platform fighting for attention among hundreds of others. With it, there’s a new opportunity for our industry and a bright future for consumer insights.

Find out more by contacting us at for a free demo!


Adrian Sanger helps insight start-ups, scale-ups, and established agencies bring winning products to market. He is a Director at eFluence™, the technology division of Behaviorally. He has helped in the build of Flash.PDP™, from the very beginning and now works with clients to shape the program and realize the value. He is a classically trained researcher, assisting C-level Insight teams in tackling their biggest growth challenges, including finding market opportunity, elevating their product strategy, and positioning, and developing winning go-to-market. Connect with Adrian on LinkedIn.