There are two important segments of market research. Currently, we focus most of our efforts on primary research methods, but we work with many clients and partners who also leverage syndicated research. Gathering information from as many sources as possible helps build a better picture around insights and can increase the effectiveness of product and marketing strategies. Further, it helps build background and a better understanding around other industries.
Knowing the difference between primary and syndicated market research is knowledge any market researcher should have. But knowing how to use them together can make a market researcher’s efforts even more effective.
Conducted separately from specific organizational objectives, syndicated research is meant to be independent of any one company’s needs. Usually, it’s some form of an industry report that is meant to provide a view into an entire category and provide context on a broader scale. Specifically, syndicated reports tend to be sampled from a general population of respondents and are usually less specific in their goals.
Such examples of popular syndicated research providers include Nielsen, Kantar Millward Brown, and Ipsos. Companies like these usually choose to specialize in specific industries where they use syndicated data to provide higher-level learnings that cater to a variety of clients and verticals. They can either offer raw data or full reports for purchase.
Syndicated research should be used for two main purposes: exploration and context. When it comes to exploring an industry and expanding competitive understanding, syndicated data or reports can provide the first steps into understanding new opportunities or may even spark new ideas for research. Secondly, the information provided in this type of research can include industry trends or understanding that help provide context around what’s going on in the current market landscape.
There are considerations with syndicated research. It’s not meant to be the primary means for insights—which is why it’s not the one called primary research. Because it includes a larger audience, varying methodologies, and could include different types of data, it shouldn’t drive any sort of decision making for an organization. Realistically, it should only be used to guide next steps for research or expand upon industry knowledge.
Primary market research, otherwise known as custom research, is necessary to use in addition to or in place of syndicated research since that information doesn’t answer specific business questions. Formally defined, primary research is anything you as a brand initiate or conduct yourself either internally or with a research partner to addresses your own specific research strategy. We, meaning GutCheck, are a primary research provider.
Primary market research is meant to solve unique research objectives and provide a more tailored approach to research needs. It can encompass a wide range of methodologies as well, but with more targeted audiences. A brand also has more control over what questions are asked and what results are provided in the final deliverable.
Pairing the Two
You may be starting to see how the two segments of market research can be used together. However, the differences are still important to note:
- The most obvious difference lies in the specificity when it comes to objectives, audience, and reporting—syndicated research is more encompassing, while primary research is more definitive based on the business conducting it.
- Data is usually privy to only the client requesting it when it comes to primary research; whereas in most cases syndicated research can be purchased by anyone.
- Syndicated research provides extensive reports and is often more robust in data points (i.e., more questions are asked and larger reports are created in order to appeal to as many businesses as possible).
- Syndicated research is often only done by vendors as it requires extensive analysis and access to lots of data; whereas primary can be done internally or by a vendor.
Aside from the differences, primary and syndicated market research provide a more aggregate view of the research landscape. Syndicated research builds the understanding around an industry to help determine where to spend time and focus efforts. It also helps organizations identify trends or build the connections between their needs and the needs of others to prioritize strategies. Primary market research then drills down syndicated data or other strategic needs into what makes sense for a business.
To learn more about how we combine higher-level, category information from big data with primary research to generate more holistic insights, download the snapshot below. You’ll also see how GutCheck Constellation™ makes big data meaningful in an actionable way, to help grow your brand.