While every business wishes to grow, not every business makes the right decision to reach that goal. With fast-moving technology and aging population, business audiences are constantly evolving, but many established businesses struggle to stay ahead of this curve.
In today’s global marketplace, we can’t afford to rely on our gut to achieve growth, nor can we get all the answers we need from an online report. That’s why it’s critical to align your business with a market research firm that helps you fill in the information gaps to make growth-based decisions.
However, selecting a partner to conduct research on your behalf is a significant commitment, and naturally, it can be a challenge. But there are ways to figure out which firm will be best for you.
Research doesn’t have to be expensive. If cost is a primary driver for you, check locally for a startup or a small research firm. Your local AMA (American Marketing Association) can also be a great source to look for market research firms in your city. Even if you don’t end up working with a big, well-known firm, you will likely be met with optimism, excitement, and a low cost. Just be prepared to spend more time getting these types of suppliers up to speed on your industry, product, and brand.
If cost is less of a concern, consider reaching out to an established research firm with case studies and proof of experience in market research. It’s ideal to partner with a market research firm that has a proven system for gaining insights into market and industry trends and gathering qualitative and quantitative research from both your team members and customers.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE ASKING
Once you’ve determined the type of company that’s within your budget, there are three key questions you should ask when choosing a market research firm.
IS THIS FIRM GOING TO GIVE YOU ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS?
It’s not enough to just provide the data. An effective market research should deliver actionable insights. When speaking with prospective firms, ask how their research will help you make decisions and changes within your operations and marketing.
Additionally, examine how they phrase objectives in the proposal. Go with a firm that words their objectives in terms of decision-making. Is their objective simply to perform a brand awareness study for you? Or is it to understand brand awareness to identify the customer market with the greatest opportunity so you can redirect your marketing spend?
DO THEY EXCEL AT COLLECTING AND ANALYZING DATA?
Since you’ll make important decisions based on the research, you want a firm that knows how to collect high-quality, reliable data. A good way to assess a firm’s expertise is to make sure the data collection and analysis methodologies they use align with your objectives.
Any firm that’s worth your investment will be able to explain how their approach can achieve your goals whether they are using in-depth interviews, online surveys, secret shopping, focus groups, or other data aggregation.
DO THEY HAVE A HISTORY OF SUCCESS WITH COMPANIES LIKE YOURS?
Find a firm that can provide references from clients with objectives like yours, then contact the references and ask them how they used the research. A good firm that is worth your investment should be able to connect you with satisfied clients who used their research to inform decisions.
You can also consider other factors such as communication approach, available resources, and timeline of the project. But to begin, comparing market research firms with these three primary questions in mind will help you make a solid research investment.
If you’d like to learn more about how to meet your market research needs and gain actionable insights for your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.