Hiring the right market research firm is critical to the success or failure of your market research project. Here are 8 criteria you should consider while evaluating prospective collaborators.
So you want to launch a new product, better understand your customers’ needs, or explore new potential markets. For this, you would need to conduct market research to get actionable insights before you take the next step. But, you don’t have the time or resources that you need to collect or sort through data, interpret, and analyze it.
Sounds familiar? If you find yourself in this situation, you may need to consider working with a market research firm. Doing so can save you hours of valuable time and resources, and provide you with the timely insights you need to make quick business decisions.
Should I Hire a Market Research Firm Or an Independent Insight Expert?
When hiring someone to conduct your market research, consider whether you need to hire a firm or an independent expert.
Large enterprises generally have extensive market research projects and big budgets. They may prefer the services of an established market research agency that can provide a broader range of services.
However, many market research projects are smaller in scope and require quick turnarounds. Sometimes companies already have a lot of market and customer data spread across various systems and tools. In such cases, you may not always require a large agency. You only need someone to collate, analyze and provide insights.
Instead, you could consider hiring freelance market research analysts or insight experts. This works best for small and medium-sized enterprises and startups. Independent market researchers are more agile and can deliver insights more quickly. They also generally have lower overheads and shorter turnaround times.
Where To Look For Market Research Agencies
Everyone knows the names of the biggest market research companies like Neilsen, IPSOS, Kantar, and Gartner. But if you would prefer to hire a smaller or more niche market research firm, there are several sources you can use to find them.
Here are the top 5 ways you can find a market research firm:
When customers have a positive experience with a brand or company, they make informal recommendations about it. This is called Word-of-Mouth. Ask people in your industry or area if they can provide a referral of market research companies they have worked with.
Online forums like Quora or Reddit are good places to interact with subscribers and get answers to questions. On Reddit, you can find relevant subreddits and ask their subscribers for references of research firms.
- Social media
Get references of reputed agencies from your professional network on platforms like LinkedIn. A quick post calling out for a firm with details on your research needs will allow you to find reputed agencies within your network.
Tip: Use the search bar on LinkedIn to find companies in a specific field or region. Type the name of the industry and click on the Companies tab. You can further refine your results by Location, Industry, and Company Size.
- Gig Marketplaces
Freelance platforms like Upwork and Freelancer.com host a number of firms that list their services on this marketplace. Through their filters, you can pick firms suited to your needs, budget, and preferences. For more focused results, try niche marketplaces that specialize in market research. Insightgig.com is one such marketplace.
However, selecting a market research firm is not as simple as picking a name from a list. There are certain qualities you need to look for before finalizing the right one for your purposes.
8 Criteria To Consider When Hiring Market Research Firms
- Recent and Relevant Experience
Markets change rapidly. Trends and attitudes can become obsolete and irrelevant in the span of a few months. It is vital to check if the firm you’re shortlisting has recent and relevant experience in your specific industry and geography.
- Audience Profile
The target audience profile is another important variable in research projects. The firm you hire must have previously worked with the audience profile you’re interested in.
- Tools and Software
Every organization uses different tools and software for market research. Besides, tools and software are updated and released regularly. Find out if the firm you intend to recruit has experience with suitable tools and research methodology for your purposes.
- Research Methodology
Methodology will differ depending on the type of research you need – quantitative or qualitative. Check that the firm has experience with conducting research using the relevant methodology.
- Flexible Processes
Some companies have very rigid and long processes from client onboarding to project completion. Look for a firm that can adapt its processes to your needs.
- Customized Solutions
A lot of firms offer product and service packages. However, a one-size-fits-all approach may not work for all projects. If you need customized solutions the firm should be able to provide them.
- Value Addition
Data collection is an important first step in market research. But that data also needs to be interpreted and analyzed. Only then can you make decisions and take action based on the insights. The market research firm you hire should be able to add value with actionable insights.
Time is of the essence when making business decisions. You need to get the insights you’re looking for in time for you to take the best course of action. Else it’s a waste of resources and effort. The market research firm you choose should be able to deliver insights in real-time.
Best Practices For Hiring Market Research Firms
When hiring a firm to do your market research it’s important to remember some best practices.
- You know your industry, market, and audience best. Ensure that whoever you recruit to do your market research understands your point of view of the domain.
- Always do a thorough check of the ratings, client recommendations, and feedback of the firms that you shortlist.
- Review a sample of their work to understand their processes and assess the quality of their insights.
- Evaluate their ability to understand and appreciate the market research brief.
- Think of the firm you eventually hire as an external partner. Ensure that both sides are clear about expectations right from the start.
There are two important steps to hiring the right market research firm. Knowing where to look is one step. The other is understanding the criteria with which to evaluate your potential collaborators. We hope this article helps you find the firm best suited to find answers to your research questions.