If you saw our blog last week on working with research experts, you may already be working with a market research consultancy, and yet you still may be asking yourself, “how do I know I am working with the right experts?”
Many research firms have their own specialties and focus es; it’s important to find a firm that meets your needs and has your interest at heart. Watch out for these 5 concerns:
1. Your Industry Isn’t Their Specialty
When you take the step to trust your company’s market research insights with an outside firm, you’re choosing to share information that’s specific to your organization and team and because of that, there’s automatically a learning curve. A third-party researcher has to develop an understanding of your company’s history, products, and goals, which can add extra time to your project. If you’re a B2B company or you offer products or services to an audience of professionals, adding that part of the learning curve will simply make it too steep. If your researchers are still learning the basic terminology that goes along with your industry, you can rest assured they are likely not the right folks for you.
When a market research specializes in your industry – you’ll notice a difference in the way they approach your research. For starters, they won’t need to get the lowdown on your company – other than a new market entrant (which they may know about anyway) they will know who you are, what you do, who your competitors are, and your current stand in the market. They’ll be able to offer productive suggestions during the research development process. They’ll hear you when you say “we’re not sure” and provide true solutions to close your gaps in market and customer understanding.
Key Takeaway: If you choose a marketing research partner who doesn't knows your industry, it could not only
cost you more time and money, but also increase the chance of receiving poorly supported insights.
2. Their Research Results Aren’t Applicable to Your Needs
If you receive the results of your study and you’re still not sure what decision you should make in more than small areas where the data is unclear, something is certainly wrong. If you are working with a researcher who has not taken the time to understand what you will be doing with your research results, the risk of receiving research results that aren't applicable goes up significantly. This is a close cousin of the "Your Industry Isn’t Their Specialty" issue. When you receive the report for your commissioned study, unless you’ve specifically requested raw data only, you should always receive key takeaways that highlight significant findings and actionable recommendations to help you take the next steps to use that research.
Key Takeaway: If you never answered any questions regarding how you will be using your research results in the
design phase of your research project, it’s a solid sign that you aren’t partnered with the right experts.
3. Research Takes Too Much Time
As I’ve mentioned, market research is a significant investment – that means it doesn’t get performed to gather “interesting information”; you commission market research to find a solution to a problem. Frequently, that problem is pressing and has a deadline attached. For instance, if you’re double checking the potential reception of an innovative product that is currently pre-design freeze, you need answers fast.
If you choose to commission research hoping for an answer within a few weeks and that project takes three months, that delay could cost you valuable time and money, and in some cases, an important competitive edge. Ensure you’re avoiding this problem by cutting out the learning curve I mentioned earlier and partnering with a firm that has experience working in your industry – they already know your audience and therefore they’ll reach them faster. Granted, there are difficult situations where some respondents are just difficult to engage, but they should know more about reaching them than you do.
Key Takeaway: If you are not shown concrete new tools to make survey design, sampling, reporting, and insight sharing
faster and more efficient through new developments in technology, you are likely partnered with a company
that isn’t committed to the future of marketing research.
4. Research Loses Its Value Too Quickly
How does your company retain the value of your market research studies? After you get the data, what steps do you take to ensure it is worth the effort? This is a common struggle among those who commission market research; extending the value of research results, insights and data is something that is on everyone’s mind today.
Stretching out the value of marketing research investments involves ensuring the data and reporting are flexible with respect to their analysis and reporting. If you are getting static powerpoint presentations as reports with no end in sight, seek out a company that provides tools and solutions to retain the value of that data. Your partners should have that goal as top of mind.
Key Takeaway: If there is no communicated strategy on how to make sure your research keeps
its value for as long as possible, it is likely you will be doing it again sooner than you hoped.
5. They’re Stuck in the Past
A good market research company is looking to the future – they’re actively innovating ways to improve the productivity and efficiency of the research cycle. If your partners don’t have a focus in modernizing research, if they aren’t mobile-friendly, if they still stress the value of long surveys, show no concern for the growing needs and decreasing attention spans of respondents, or only report in static PowerPoint - always – they could be stuck in the past and certainly aren’t maximizing the return on your investment.
A company that’s looking to the future is looking to improve the cycle and your experience with the market research process.
Key Takeaway: If you are hearing, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” from your research firm in 2018, you should ask questions.
At the end of the day, it still may make sense to not change things dramatically, but never pay off to not ask the questions.
The Actionable Difference
Actionable Research is a primary marketing research firm that specializes in the medical and dental, digital technology and consumer products and services fields. We are experts in our fields, and are investing in our future constantly. Let’s talk about the ways Actionable Research can help meet your research needs. Contact us today.