When it comes to market research, your organization has two choices: (1) conduct the study in-house or (2) conduct the study using a third-party. I suppose a third choice exists of not doing the market research at all, but we wouldn't recommend this. Each of the first two options provide their own unique advantages and disadvantages.
As a market research vendor here in Syracuse, NY, it would be in our best interest to convince you why you should use a third-party for your market research efforts right? To support this (shameless plug) notion, let's explore the reasons behind why outsourcing all or portions of your market research works in your favor. Hopefully this post will shed some light on your choice. Pun intended in 3...2...1...
Let's continue. Here are 5 benefits to using a third-party market research firm:
Benefit 1: Confidentiality
Customers who respond to surveys often fear the feedback will be directly tied to their name. They wonder "if I say something bad will this impact my relationship?" or "will this impact the service I receive?" It's become more common recently for companies to follow-up directly and immediately to poor customer experiences which has potentially largely influenced candidness in responses. Here's some more information as to why confidentiality is no longer king in surveys.
Using a third-party or proverbial "middle-man" ensures responses are kept separate and out of the immediate hands of the sponsoring company doing the research. The third-party tie-in may never be more important than it is in an employee survey. Sponsoring and managing an in-house employee survey is playing with fire. Although confidentiality and anonymity can be promised in this situation, it's never fully believed by employees. Skepticism breeds lack of trust.
Another advantage of using a third-party tied to confidentiality is the ability to blind a study. If your organization wants to measure the perception or awareness of your brand in the community and your logo or name is slapped all over the online survey, it will certainly skew results. Using a third-party which can blind the research leaving respondents unaware of the sponsor can provide more reliable results.
Benefit 2: Perspective
After working on the client-side of market research for a year, I learned there can be some divisions which lack self-awareness or perspective. This is not a bad thing, it's just human nature to be caught-up in your daily work that it's a struggle to take a step back. Using a third-party brings in a fresh set of eyes or a new approach which can provide benefits. Sometimes organizations get so caught-up in doing things they way they always have, they lack innovative and fresh ideas. A third-party market research can bring this perspective to a market research study.
Benefit 3: Time
This is one of the more tangible and easily explained benefits of using a third-party market research vendor. A third-party market research consultant can work as an extension to your internal team to turn around analysis, insights and recommendations faster than if you had done them alone. The additional resources may also help shorten the timeframe for a project as a whole. For instance, it may take you 6 to 8 weeks to complete a project in-house whereas a third-party supplier could complete it in half the time.
Benefit 4: Expertise
Using a third-party market research firm may provide your organization with access to talent and experience you may not have available in-house. This could come in the form of a skilled moderator to run your focus group sessions. Or, the expertise could come through a unique methodology or analysis technique such as regression or discrete choice. Another form of expertise could be experience in a specific industry segment such as financial services, higher education or manufacturing.
Benefit 5: Capabilities
The final advantage we'll touch on in this post is capabilities. When we mention capabilities we are referencing specific advanced survey tools and market research resources you may not have access to in-house. The advanced survey tools owned by a professional market research firm will give you an opportunity to access real-time data or create complex surveys with challenging skip patterns.
Some of the best market research firms also have quantity and contract discounts with other suppliers which help you obtain more affordable rates. A quick example here is using a panel vendor for an online survey. As a separate organization going to a panel vendor like Critical Mix, you may receive a cost-per-complete rate (CPC) that is much higher than they may give a preferred vendor who uses their panel many times throughout the year. Ultimately using a third-party market research firm with this type of relationship creates lower project costs for you.
Drive Research is a market research vendor located in Central New York. Interested in learning more about our market research services? We offer a number of custom approaches including Voice of Customer (VoC) and Customer Experience (CX) research. Contact us at 315-303-2040 or email us at info@DriveResearch.com.