Emails. Phone calls. Snail mail. The constant barrage of market research sales pitches that promise the next great solution to truly understand your consumer, and requests to share their differentiated approach, can be tedious at best. I know the process well from being on the client side, and now witnessing the converse experience on the supplier side. Below are four questions every insights manager should ask before moving forward with a new supplier:
1. Can They Take My Research To The Next Level?
One of the most frustrating things researchers can run into is a vendor who wastes valuable time in qualitative exploring questions that they already know the answers to. Partnering with quality suppliers experienced in the category makes a big difference in maximizing insight nuggets vs. things you already know. This means targeting your specific consumer segment effectively, intrinsically understanding what will move the project forward, and eliciting actionable feedback from those consumers.
2. Do They Understand My Needs?
A research partner should not only help you to execute your specific research objectives, they should be able to provide actionable insights with validating support that you can easily turn around and present as guidance to your organization. Partners should be able to build your confidence via case studies, webinars, and brand/work references. It’s important to establish a level of trust before conducting research so that you can let the research supplier run.
3. Can They Operate Effectively Within My Research Scope?
Your company’s internal hurdles, time constraints, research needs, and budget can filter many suppliers out before they start. For example, if concepts end up being tested late, it can create a big time crunch and a quick-turn supplier may be needed over a rigid one. On the flip side, if you know that projects only pass the stage gate with a volumetric, that will dictate a different direction. Timelines are more important than ever, so knowing in advance that their methodologies are able to not only hit those deadlines, but also flexible enough to handle additional obstacles like last minute executive questions or negative validation results, can make a big difference in delivering the value to the company.
4. Can They Be A True Partner Through The Process?
A first step is to understand how their methodologies benefit your specific project, and then the larger learning plan. For example, a research supplier that offers both qualitative and quantitative methods could create synergies in learning (and paperwork)! Sometimes the actual research is the easy part of the process, it’s getting a supplier approved and up to speed that slows things down, which is especially important when timelines are tight. And we can’t forget about our favorite topic: budget. The best research agency in the world won’t work out unless they align with the (often shrinking) budget.
With the constant need to do more with less in the market research space it’s imperative that we are connecting with valued partners. We want partners to not only complete the research, but also take our research to the next level. Research vendors should become a partner and an extension of your team. Speed, quality and affordability are more important now than ever, so never feel bad for asking a lot of questions before you start.
If you are having trouble finding your perfect research partner, request a demo today to learn how GutCheck’s quick consumer reads could be exactly what you’re missing!