Choosing a market research company can seem like a daunting task. In many cases for small and even larger businesses, market research is unfamiliar territory. Questions about scope, cost, and how a market research consultant can assist emerge quickly. Since many organizations employ market research infrequently, they are often left wondering "how do I get started?"
The good news is simply by reaching out to a local market research company early in the process you can find answers. The market research company will work with you to define a vision, methodology, and a step-by-step approach. They will help you formulate your objectives into market research outcomes and show you how to get you the answers you need from those who matter most. Here are 5 factors to consider when making your choice.
Costs for market research, much like many service industries, are tricky to understand. Essentially the cost of a market research project is built on the number of estimated hours spent on a project multiplied by hourly rates of those employees working on projects. Depending on the complexity of your project, the market research company in Syracuse may assign basic-level staff to your project, or advanced-level staff at a higher rate.
The portion of the market research process with the biggest impact on cost is the fieldwork. If a 400 complete survey is suggested, completing all surveys by phone will be very expensive just as it would be if you were to send them through the mail. The benefits of online surveys far outweigh the drawbacks. With the growth of smartphones and mobile devices, online surveys are the methodology of choice these days.
Make sure you understand the cost structure of a project with the market research firm. Understand if respondent rewards are included, what other expenses will be charged, as well as any other hidden costs which may exist.
In a service industry like market research and the equal availability and access to online tools, talent and staff is really the only true differentiator these days. Unfortunately, with everyone claiming their staff to be the best and the brightest, it ultimately dilutes this message of differentiation. If everyone claims to have the most talented market research staff, it's difficult to set yourself apart through messaging.
When hiring a market research company in Syracuse, ask "who will be working on your project?" Will it be entry-level staff "learning on the job" by virtue of your expense or will your project be managed by seasoned veterans? The advantage of using a smaller market research firm is that you'll be working with the owners, founders, and upper-management on your project because the organizational hierarchy is relatively flat.
Be cognizant of the firms who use big guns to close the deal but then hand your project to a fresh newbie for execution. Since market research is often an expensive ad-hoc request, you'll want to make sure the proper talent is working on the day-to-day aspects of your project.
Unexpected barriers pop-up all the time in market research. Try to work with a firm who can flip on a dime and make adjustments when needed. Did your management meeting get moved up a week so the 2 weeks you gave the market research company to report on the findings just get reduced to 4 days? The best market research agencies can adjust on the fly and make this happen for your organization. You'll receive the report within 4 days. Good customer service is based on one simple word: "yes."
Market research firms should work around your schedule. They cater to your openings on the calendar and are willing to re-prioritize their schedule to meet your schedule. They also cater to respondents' schedules. If the only time a respondent has for an interview is 6:00 PM PT, it means we're on a call at 9:00 PM ET. I've worked on several manufacturing in-depth interview (IDI) projects where I was awake at 4:00 AM completing an interview with a participant in Europe or India.
Flexibility cannot be understated. Rigidness promotes stagnation. Stagnant companies do not press to innovate, evolve and change with the industry and its clients. They get stuck in their ways and lose perspective. This is how small market research firms and start-ups can set themselves apart from the conglomerates.
This is one trait you cannot fake. It's earned in the trenches, not through an introductory phone call, meeting, or handshake. Trust evolves over time from promises made by the market research company to the client which are upheld. In a situation where you need to get started on this project ASAP? Need a proposal by Thursday? Again, the best market research firms can make this happen and commit to getting you this by your deadline.
The other angle of trust in market research companies lies within its passion in the work. You can tell easily if the team you are talking to is excited, passionate, and interested in working on your market research project. I mean genuinely, wholeheartedly interested. Not interested in the sales commission. Not interested in the dollar value. But rather interested in the research. Interested in the findings. When you go into your next discussion with a market research company in Syracuse, NY, keep this in mind.
This factor is slightly different from the talent-level as it relates to industry-experience. Although the market research process is very engineered across all industries, there is plenty of benefit in working with a company that knows your lingo. Maybe this company has worked with other competitors in your industry before. Maybe they have a staff member who has experience in your vertical from prior jobs. Whatever the case may be, there is some comfort in knowing the team working on your project has been there before and understands.
Search for a market research firm that has some background in your industry. Or one who can provide a dedicated and custom team to fit your needs. Is your industry so niche, this is impossible?
The other side of the coin is working with a market research company that has no prior experience in your industry and therefore could provide some new insights and a new perspective to your thought process. Perhaps ideas that wouldn't cross their or your mind if they had been too close to the industry over the years.
In Summary: Choosing a Market Research Company in Syracuse, NY
Consider factors like cost, talent, flexibility, trust, and experience when choosing a local market research company. Options exist but the choice is in your hands. We recommend creating a decision matrix where you rate the importance of several factors based on your needs. These could include items like cost, talent, flexibility, trust, experience and many others. Ultimately you'll want to grade each market research company on each factor to make your choice.
Have 1 or 2 factors in mind that are a make-or-break. One that immediately comes to mind is trust. The goal of a market research company is to be unbiased on objective. Working as your consultant you need to be able to trust in their process and procedure as so much of the market research project is behind the scenes (fieldwork, analysis, etc.) Choose a company who is transparent in their approach and is willing to over-share information along the way and has nothing to hide.
Drive Research is a market research company in Syracuse, NY. Interested in conducting a market research study with our team? Questions about your next project? Contact us at [email protected] or by calling 315-303-2040.