One of the smartest investments that any business can make in its short-term success and long-term survival is hiring an experienced, knowledgeable and value-added market research company. Below, we highlight the five things you should look for to ensure that you choose the right partner, and steer clear of the wrong ones.
1. Recent relevant experience
Most market research companies will have (or at least claim to have) experience. But this is frankly irrelevant if their experience is not recent and relevant. Within the last two years, if a market research company has not worked in your specific industry ( e.g. selling furniture online ) or with the same target audience who will participate in the research, then cross them off your shortlist and keep looking.
2. Comprehensive expertise with multiple methodologies
Some market research companies will steer you towards a certain methodology — not because it is best for your research needs, but because it is the one they are most familiar and comfortable with. This is a huge red flag. The right partner will learn about your specific and unique needs first (i.e. the business problem you want to solve), and then use their comprehensive expertise with multiple methodologies to identify the optimal way forward.
3. Customized solutions
This cannot be emphasized enough: there is no such thing as generic or one-size-fits-all market research, and any company that attempts to head down that route (and take your business with them for the costly and miserable ride) should be avoided at all costs. The only viable approach is one that is customized to your specific needs and takes into account unique variables — not the least of which includes, and respects, your timeline, and budget.
4. Focus on value – not just data
Often, market research companies can get so lost in the data (because there is so much of it, and it is usually quite interesting!), that they lose sight of the fact that you are not paying for numbers or charts: you are paying for reliable business intelligence, actionable insights, and above all, real value. Make sure that the company use choose understands their role is to help you solve problems and achieve ROI.
5. Dedicated project managers
Last but not least, ensure that the market research company you partner with has dedicated project managers who will not just take ownership of the process, but just as importantly, will be your constant and responsive point person every step of the way.