If you are reading this post, the good news is you are interested in market research. Market research is an investment. It eliminates risk and increases the chance of success with your operations, marketing, and strategies. The decision to move forward with market research is a good one. Now you have to determine whether you want to manage the process in-house or outsource.
This article will explain the pros of each option for your organization.
To outsource or not to outsource? That is the question.
Benefits to In-House
The greatest benefit of conducting market research in-house is the perceived cost savings. Without hiring a market research company, you'll save your company a lump sum of money. However, we do say perceived cost savings because at the end of the project you might end up taking 2x or 3x the time it would take a professional. So if you're spending all of your time in the market research, what other priorities can't you tackle?
No one will know your business better than you. This is particularly true if you work in manufacturing or highly technical spaces. All of the products, processes, and terminology is something you'll likely be well-versed in that the market research company may not be initially. This will help you construct the survey questions and categories quicker.
Finally, you have the relationships with your customers. An outside market research company does not. If you send the invite directly, you're likely to obtain a higher response rate than a separate company. However, sending these invitations directly can also create issues with accuracy and bias. See point 1 in the next section.
Benefits to Outsourcing
Based on the prior point around relationships with customers, sometimes customers may not tell the whole truth if they respond directly back to the firm. Especially true if you have long-standing relationships with customers or your sales people have decade-long relationships. It is hard for a customer to tell the truth or offer negative criticism if the feedback goes directly to the sponsoring company. A third-party or middle-man helps.
A market research company can bring in expertise and context. They know all of the key questions to ask, how to ask them, and best practices. They will provide context to let you know if a customer satisfaction score of 55% is good or bad. The market research company can offer benchmarking data to compare your company against. Here are 4 benchmarks to measure in market research.
Finally, an outside firm can add credibility to the process. By mentioning your organization is working with a market research firm, it adds legitimacy to the process. This often helps customers take the survey more seriously.
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