One distinctive factor differentiating supplier side research from client side market research is the requirement of selling the process. Clients who hire their own in-house market research team clearly have a need for market research. In client side research, teams have to "sell" to their management team when they need specific market research projects. For example, this internal sale would involve the Target research team convincing Target management to commission customer focus groups to understand pharmacy impact on retail sales in its stores. If there wasn't an inherent value and need for market research, a team of salaries wouldn't be needed. So there may be a need to "sell" additional research on the client side of market research, but theoretically the management team has already bought-in to the concept.
However, supplier side market research like what is offered through Drive Research is a different story. Obviously those who work for a market research vendor or supplier understand the importance of market research as they chose it for a career. Good choice by the way, but we're biased. Supplier side researchers are tasked with convincing other businesses to give us something they value (money) for something of value in return (research or data), as Dan Pink would phrase his sales approach.
This is where a double sale of market research is needed. If you are a business development or sales person in market research, you are often tasked with: (1) selling a client on why market research (in general) is critical to their organization, and then (2) convincing the client, among the market research suppliers they can choose from, why they should choose your firm. Other than the occasional RFPs and inbound calls, much of the business development person's time on the supplier side can often be consumed by this double-sale of market research to new prospective clients.
If you correlate this market research double sale to selling a product like green tea, you'll start to realize how tricky selling market research is some days. Selling green tea would be considered "niche" similar to a service like market research. For example, let's say you run a green tea stand on 3rd Street in a major metropolitan city. Hundreds of people walk by you each minute and your job is to sell them green tea. You'll talk to some non-tea drinkers, green tea drinkers who drank a cup years ago and didn't enjoy it, and some people who don't even know what green tea is.
So your first job for this audience is to convince them they need green tea because of the health benefits, antioxidant power, to increase in metabolism promoting weight loss, etc. This may matter to some and not to others but let's say out of the hundreds, you've at least convinced a few to listen.
Once you have a person sold on buying green tea, you have to tell them why your green tea stand on 3rd Street has a better product than the green tea stand they will pass on 4th Street, 6th Street, and 9th Street.
Your green tea may be more expensive than other stands so you have to show the potential customer what additional value they get from buying from you. In some cases you may get a potential customer interested in your product, but they cannot afford it. Or they have to settle for a small tea instead of the large. The double sale of market research creates two jumping off points where a potential customer can opt-out. So the example I provided may be too candid, but proves how difficult selling the concept of market research to a new client can be due to the double sale involved.
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