How do you choose a market research firm when you’re new to the field? Many market research firms promise insights, but may leave you with pages of charts and graphs about your market or customers that don’t seem to connect together to tell a story and will take you a long time to interpret.
In the past, market research was done predominantly by phone interviews and could take months to complete. Now, online survey research is a cost-effective and trusted option. Not all market research firms have fully embraced the advantages of these online survey tools, such as fast completion, but rely on old principles like doing a long and unnecessary analysis of consumers.
I began working at Drive Research, a market research firm in Upstate NY as an intern this winter. I learned insights about survey research I never knew before. Below are 3 surprising and unique approaches to market research which immediately made an impact on me.
Here are 3 surprising things I learned about quality market research.
Factor 1: Focus on Client Success
When you’re planning market research, you want to answer a lot of questions. Each answer would provide your organization with a wealth of knowledge and new avenues for growth. However, acquiring answers to all of your questions carries a cost, because fewer survey respondents are willing to answer a 30-minute online survey when compared to a shorter survey.
Some research firms will try to cover everything and anything for you and leave you to untangle the complex opinions. A better approach is spending some time on the front end to understand which client objectives are priorities and which can be saved for another survey in the future.
Client objectives should be the focal point from the start of the discussion all the way to the end of the market research project. A quality market research firm has the ability to understand issues in many industries and give context for specific statistics.
When you need to narrow the scope of a project, a market research firm acts as headlights in the dark. They should help you prioritize questions which give you the most return on your investment. They should analyze the findings through the lens of your company and tailor their report so you understand your market and the next steps, instead of giving you a cookie-cutter summary.
Factor 2: Knowledge of Survey Respondents
Attention to client relationships wouldn’t mean much if a firm’s survey results were inaccurate. Ask your market research firm how they engage respondents meaningfully to attain quality data. Though reaching your target market is easier with the wide adoption of social media – respondents may abandon your survey after 5 minutes.
Connecting with samples of respondents in a way that’s thoughtful of respondents’ time maintains their attention. Also, check whether your market research firm understands and has access to local respondents for your quantitative or qualitative market research. These are called market research panels.
As the online world is constantly changing, it’s important to use A/B testing, which varies message design within projects. A/B testing helps market researchers create intelligent advertisements, invitations, and survey experiences to optimize the collection time and quality of data.
Factor 3: Compact Surveys for Clear Results
Ownership of client objectives and staying synchronized with research respondents results in a compact, timely survey. Some market research firms make their surveys shorter by fitting multiple objectives into question options, called double-barreled questions.
An example would be asking, “How much do you agree that Company ABC is fun and responsive?” This question has two objectives: to measure whether people think Company ABC is fun and to measure whether people think Company ABC is responsive, but the two concepts don’t mean the same thing. The responses to these questions are even more vague for clients because they can’t know which question was being answered when a rating is provided.
You don’t want to pay for redundant questions or questions that are double-barreled. You also shouldn’t be paying for survey questions where action cannot be taken on results. Feel out whether a market research firm is responsive to your feedback before surveys are deployed and ask them to keep you updated as insights accumulate.
Drive Research is a market research firm that concentrates on the value organizations receive because our employees are passionate about market research. Our enthusiasm for the practice drives us to stay updated on the latest and greatest trends in the industry which keeps us agile.
If you have more questions, contact us. You can reach us at 315-303-2040 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.