How to Successfully Integrate Partners into Your Research Plan

We get it. Research projects are like your babies; sometimes it is really hard to let go. Yet, similar to sending your child to daycare, you often can’t do it alone. There are so many moving parts within a research project and so many logistics to cover—as well as tighter and tighter deadlines to hit. Asking for outside assistance can help you maintain your sanity!

On a large portion of research initiatives, you will likely arrive at a point in developing your research plan where it makes sense to bring some help on board. Unless you are working independently, this help can often come within your company. However, there are many occasions where you will need to outsource this help. Whether you need help with sampling, facilitation, moderation, research design, or even a full-service approach, finding partners you can trust can be challenging. You wouldn’t just drop your kid off at the first daycare you see; you would research and properly vet multiple options to find the best and most trustworthy fit. This rings true in the research world. Let’s be honest: there are some less-than-stellar service providers out there, but there are also some really great options available that you can integrate seamlessly into your research process.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

The more information you share with your partners—both about the specific research project at hand, and about the intricacies of your company—the better equipped they will be to add value to your team. For example, sharing something like an internal rebranding deck in order to help your partners understand past brand equity and desired brand movement goes a long way; this allows partners to deliver on specific project objectives while tying learnings to company-level objectives, making every project that much more valuable.

Treat Your Partners as Partners

No one likes being treated as the hired help. Valuing your partner’s time, commitment, and effort in a demonstrable way goes a long way towards truly collaborative, productive, and successful relationships. Having invested partners can make all the difference between a mediocre and an extraordinary marketing campaign.

Don’t Be a Micromanager

If you have properly vetted your options, and properly set expectations on the front end, it is best practice to allow your partners to complete their tasks without too much oversight. If you are overly involved, there was no reason to outsource to begin with. Plus, from our experience, better results come without someone constantly peering over your shoulder.

See the Forest through the Trees

Often times, the vision of and collaboration with those outside your organization can provide different perspectives that make all the difference in a successful research project; sometimes you are just too close to a project to remain unbiased.

For example, our team recently worked with a major manufacturing company whose marketing team was just beginning to cut their teeth in the research world. This team was cognizant that they didn’t have the experience needed in the arena, but they were pretty set in the research path they wanted to follow. After multiple projects were fielded, this client team began leaning more and more on our team. On top of the project-specific work, we took the time to really dig in to the client’s business needs and became a vital resource. This particular client was very reluctant to consider qualitative research at first, but they have now embraced qualitative research for every set of concepts they need tested, based on our recommendations. Because of our team’s outside perspective, we are able to provide context and refinement opportunities in addition to the quantitative screening that has now become crucial to this client’s process of moving ideas forward internally.

To see how one of the product marketing teams at Google has integrated GutCheck as a trusted partner into their research plan and development roadmap, check out this quick video.

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