In 2021, the global market research services market increased from $69.6 billion in 2016 to a whopping $76.37 billion in 2021. This number is expected to hit $108.57 billion in 2026 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 7.29%.
Market research is booming and comprises many major league players such as Forrester, Gallup, Gartner, and Nielsen, to name a few.
With all the different options available, businesses can often find it hard to pinpoint market research firms aligned closely with their objectives. When selecting a market research firm, it is essential to ensure that it can add precious insights to both the brand and its products. When choosing a market research firm, it is equally important to consider factors such as project objectives, budgets, and timelines.
A good market research firm can help businesses understand customer behavior, how a brand is performing compared to its competitors, and make critical business decisions. Market research is highly data-oriented, and a quality research firm conducts customized research to provide businesses with accurate data and insights.
So, how can we ensure that the market research firm we choose is right?
Well, to make it easier, we have compiled a list of ten critical questions to ask while choosing a market research firm.
Here we go.
How to choose a market research firm?
1. Does the market research firm have a thorough knowledge of the geographies to be targeted?
Geography plays quite an important role when it comes to market research. They significantly influence how businesses launch their products and how the target market will perceive them. A quality market research firm should be familiar with the target market and aware of the different geographical factors that can impact the market. They should be able to gauge aspects such as demographic trends, customer preferences, and challenges in the particular geographical market.
2. Does the market research firm have a clear understanding of the target audience?
Consumer research firms need to have a good grasp of the target audience. Ensure they are completely up to speed on the business objectives and how the product is expected to perform in the market. Consumer research is a critical aspect of designing a great UX. The market research firm needs to use trustworthy participants and ensure that they meet the required criteria. This makes sure that the data collected is of the highest quality.
3.Does the market research firm have experience working in the same industry
In order to give the best results, it always helps if the market research firm has worked with other companies in the same industry. This way, they already know the methodologies or frameworks proven to work well for the specific industry. Ensuring the market research firm fully understands a unique business is instrumental in gathering highly actionable data.
4. How does the market research firm collect and analyze data?
Since investing in a market research firm comes at a high cost, it is essential to understand how the firm plans to collect and analyze the data from the research. What are the research methodologies they plan to use? What tools do they use to gather insights and interpret the data? Does it match the business/project objectives? The best thing to do is to ask for examples from previous research projects.
5. How often does the market research firm take to develop its findings?
Time is a critical aspect of any research project. It is necessary to set clear expectations for deadlines and understand when and where company resources need to be allocated. Ask the market research firm for clarity on these factors and question them on how they plan to take each step of the research project forward.
6. Does the market research firm have all the required capabilities for the research project?
Often we find that several market research firms are far from what they claim in their sales pitches and advertising collateral. Before closing in on a firm, ensure they have a dedicated team and resources to handle the project. It is important to understand the team’s expertise, the impact they have managed to bring in, and their capabilities. It is also important to understand if the team that initially handles the meeting is the same team that will be managing the research project.
7. How well-designed are their survey methods and questions?
The objective of qualitative research is to gather valuable and actionable insights and to understand customer perception. Evaluating the methodologies and surveys proposed by such firms is essential to see if they are indeed thought-provoking questions that invite critical thinking.
8. Does the market research firm justify the investment?
Since there are many market research firms available, some firms come at a higher cost while others come at significantly lower costs. Choosing the right one is important, not going by the cost. Rather, choose the one that can add value to the business. A cheaply priced firm may not provide the kind of insights and feedback that adds value to the business.For instance, working with a cheaply priced firm may seem attractive. But it is easy to forget all the time and effort needed to bring the firm up to date with the business and what is required from the research project.
9. Does the market research firm have proper security and privacy measures in place?
Another key aspect in choosing a market research firm is to evaluate its security and privacy policies. The research firm needs to understand the security and compliance procedures of the business and handle sensitive data with utmost attention to detail. An experienced and professional firm will already have these policies and know how to do the project while meeting all the appropriate security standards.
10. How is the market research firm planning to utilize the assigned budget?
A market research project involves a significant budget. This is why qualitative research firms must streamline the research project and ensure they do the most with the budget. They may be required to customize their approach based on the kind of target audience, geography, product requirements etc., and they should be able to think critically of every possible way to utilize the budget and bring in the results.
Market research is an investment in understanding the viability of a product. It provides unique insights and allows companies to make strategic and tactical decisions. Therefore, it is important to choose the right market research platform that leverages quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to deliver insights critical to product development.
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