The grass is always greener? Not always the case, but it's human nature to wonder. No different in market research and the B2B service market. For many small and mid-size businesses market research is more ad-hoc than continual. It's used to answer specific questions or obtain feedback as needed for very particular projects. Then, it's put aside until another need comes 6 or 12 months down the road.
Here is your ultimate guide to market research for small businesses.
Because of the irregularity in market research, many small businesses are not exposed to a variety of market research companies.
Think about it terms of driving a car. You may buy one every 3 to 5 years. During the time of purchase you might test drive the 2 or 3 you have in mind but your unaware of how the hundreds of other models operate, handle, and feel.
So over the next 5 years unless you drive a friend or family member's car, you don't know how other vehicles operate. But when you jump into your friend's car you quickly realize how much smoother, quieter, and nicer the ride is. You don't know what you don't know.
Working with a new marketing research company can open your eyes and give you insight into all of the things that are lacking in your current consultant relationship.
Without having exposure to other marketing research companies, you may not know what type of benefits the other firms can provide. Sometimes the grass is greener and other times the grass is burnt.
Here are 4 signs it might be time to begin looking over that fence.
Sign 1: It's Expensive
In a service-based industry costs can vary widely based on hourly rates, staff working on your project, fees, and other variations in size and scope of your project. It all comes down to value. When you pay for a market research project you have certain expectations of what you want to learn. At the end of the day, if the value you received and what you learned does not equal the price tag it may be time to search elsewhere.
Having a local market research company does offer some advantages, but the technological innovations and online capabilities has opened doors for businesses to work with consultants all over the country. Therefore several market research companies are able to offer extremely cost-effective services to clients.
Make sure you are getting all of the value you expect from your firm. They should be working with you to reduce the cost of your projects, not add to them. The market research company should regularly look to refine costs and find other more cost-friendly ways to conduct the market research.
Why continue to conduct the same old study by phone if it can be done through email with some adjustments and weights? Why conduct it by mail, when you can slowly begin transitioning to email? If these are questions you're asking yourself, your marketing research company should already be addressing them.
Is your marketing research company doing everything they can do to create the most valuable cost-effective market research for your organization?
Sign 2: It's Stale
Getting bored with the results and insights? Is it the same old report month-after-month with no new insights, recommendations, or strategies? Do you feel like the marketing research company is just running through the motions to meet the contract requirements?
These are all signs the company is likely not going above and beyond for you. The best marketing research companies always find ways to integrate new trends, new nuggets of information, and add new insights to a project.
The findings you receive should allow you to take immediate action on the results. So each new report you get should create next steps on your end. If the market research reports do nothing of that and you find yourself not even opening the emails, the market research has gone stale.
Think about looking elsewhere to work with a consultant who can add additional value to the analysis and reporting. Stale is not good for anyone. You should ask more from your marketing research firm.
Sign 3: It's a Revolving Door for Your Team
This is something I've seen over the years working with some of our own market research vendors. For some companies, every time I reach out to my sales rep for a quote, I find out that someone else with a new name and new email has stepped into that person's role to message me back. They say they'll be handling my account from here on out only to find out 3 months later when I email them for another project, it's someone new yet again.
It's hard to build trust in a vendor relationship when you are constantly trying to reeducate a representative on your needs and expectations. You want to work with a marketing research firm who has experience in your industry and experience working with your team. They know all of the nuisances that might take months or years for a new team member to relearn.
If you find that your marketing research company is always bringing in someone new to manage your account, it creates problems. Let alone pointing to a bigger issue at that marketing research company that is consistently losing and bringing in new staff.
Tenured account representatives, managers, and analysts add value to your market research projects. With each new market research study they are able to apply new insights which can be tied in and correlated to findings from old studies. The experience gained with each new market research study is something that is really difficult to achieve with a revolving door of team members.
"Hello Valued Client. Thank you for your question. Tom no longer works at our company. My name is John and I'll be handling your market research projects for the next 2 months until I switch teams. Then you'll be working with Sarah for the 3 to 6 months after that."
Sign 4: Your Account Isn't Getting Attention
No one wants to be ignored. If you feel your organization is Priority Z with your marketing research company you work with it may be time to find other firms who can give you more attention.
As a market research consultant they should always have your organization's interest in mind. They should be responding immediately to your questions, anticipating needs, and delivering well beyond the expected value of the market research.
Not sure if you're getting the attention? How quickly does the marketing research company respond to your messages? Do they answer your calls or return your calls immediately? Do they dig into the findings of the market research or just run the basic tables and charts? Are they consistently meeting your deadlines instead of asking for additional time?
What is one vendor's watermelon is another vendor's grape. Priority A versus Priority Z. So ask yourself, are you your vendor's grape? Or their watermelon?
Contact Us with Questions
Drive Research is a marketing research company in Syracuse, NY. Our client base expands across Upstate New York and across the country.
Interested in a quote? Contact us at 315-303-2040 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.