There are advantages and disadvantages of hiring a marketing research firm rather than conducting the market research yourself. An obvious disadvantage is that it costs more; however these firms usually have the experience, knowledge and expertise to gather information that is more detailed and accurate.
Before hiring a marketing research firm there are some things you should know. There are three types of marketing research firms. They are categorized by the type of services they offer. While some marketing research firms concentrate on just one segment of market research such as surveys, others will offer full market research.
Types of Market Research Firms
Market research firms can be categorized by the following:
- Limited Service Research Supplier– A market research firm that specializes in one aspect of market research such as questionnaires or surveys. Limited service firms may also help in developing advertising strategies based on the data they collected.
- Syndicated Services– A market research firm that provides all clients with a standardized set of information. They provide standardized data that can be use by a wide variety of businesses. This type of firm can also be considered a Limited Service firm.
- Full Service Service Supplier– A market research firm that completes the entire market research project for the client. They offer client both quantitative and qualitative market research. Services they offer may include: telephone interviews, surveys, focus groups and more.
Where to find Market Research Firms
First thing you should do is make a list of potential candidates. You can find marketing research firms by searching in search engines for market research firms in your location. There are sites such as www.greenbook.org where you can also find firms in your location. Other sources include trade magazines, trade books, directories and referrals.
Once you have a list of potential market research firms, now you need to do some research to learn more about these firms. Uncover the following information:
- Have they worked with businesses in the same industry as you? -If the marketing research firm already has experience working with businesses in the same industry, their knowledge and expertise in the field can be helpful.
- Does the marketing research firm have a good reputation? -Try to speak with past customers to learn about their experiences. Try to find information and reviews about the marketing firm online.
- Do they offer high quality service? – Good market research can make all the difference to your business. Market research can help uncover the data you need to start and grow a successful business. Therefore you must ensure that you are hiring a research firm that will live up to your expectations.
- Do they complete projects on time? – Discover the anticipated time range for the firm to complete a project. Find out if they were able to meet their deadline expectations in the past.
- Do they offer reasonable rates compared to others in the area? – Although budget is important especially for small businesses, sometimes you get what you pay for. However their prices should be reasonable compared to surrounding marketing research firms. Be sure to get different quotes. When comparing pay close attention to quality. It may make more sense to pay a little more for a market research firm with a better reputation and dependability.