How Smart Companies Choose a Market Research Vendor

How Smart Companies Choose a Market Research Vendor

Five Easy Tips for Finding the Best Fit

targetYou’ve got a big product to launch and a lot of questions to answer:

  • How do I know if I’m targeting the right consumers?
  • What is the best mix of features to offer?
  • How should I price this product?

A market research vendor can definitely help to answer your questions…but finding the right one? That can be tricky. Research studies can cost thousands of dollars and their findings can impact million dollar marketing decisions, so you want to be right.

I get it. I spent a lot of years working with market research vendors, and I’ve had my fair share of disappointment.  It turns out I’m not alone, as shown by Quirk’s Corporate Research Report.  Vendors who “over promise and under delivered,” “projects handled by junior staff,” and “not taking time to understand our business” are common problems and can make the process frustrating.

But it shouldn’t have to be. In fact, five smart moves can help you avoid the market research headache and save some serious time and money.

  1. Look for consultative researchers, not order takers.  Does a vendor sound like a “yes man/woman”? Then keep looking. You’re going to benefit the most when you find a consultative researcher who takes the time to understand your business. They should be interested in what you’re doing, who your competitors are, and what you want to accomplish. Also, don’t be put off if they push back—that’s a hallmark of a strong researcher who’s confident in their abilities and recommendations.
  2. Don’t get hung up on requiring expertise in your industry. Yes it’s true that industry expertise is helpful but it is often overrated.  What’s more important is whether your hiring good researchers or not.  Just like the fundamentals of marketing, the principles of market research can be applied to any business.  Hire smart people and you’ll be rewarded.
  3. Ensure high data quality standards. The “garbage in, garbage out” rule is never truer than when it comes to market research. The findings are only as good as the methods, data, and processes used. Talk with a vendor and make sure they use high-quality data. They should know how to screen out unwanted respondents and spot survey cheaters. On top of that, their surveys should be concise, easy to follow, efficient, and limit bias.  With measures like this in place, it means that better findings can lead to better decisions for your company.
  4. Check their references. Just like a job interview, references can be a great way to hear what it’s like to work with them. Make some calls before you decide—sure, the references they give you will probably offer glowing reviews so be sure and ask why and even ask for examples.
  5. Make sure they respect your budget and needs. A good market research vendor doesn’t just offer up “gold standard” solutions. They should also take your marketing budget and research needs into account. Someone who works closely with you on this is definitely a keeper.

Finding the right market researcher takes a little time and some research of your own—but is it worth it? Absolutely! If you’ve got other questions about finding a researcher for your marketing challenges, let me know! Give me a call at 949-340-7568 or email me.