This is perhaps the Holy Grail topic for any market research company as we all vie to get it right in this fiercely competitive market place. So what are the key qualities you should look for?
After thirty years of experience working within the market research sector, and working with a large array of different clients, across different sectors, I believe we have a fairly good idea of what clients are looking for and what qualities market research agencies should be delivering upon.
Much of this comes from the ad hoc nature of our business and thus the need to continually strive to service our existing clients to the best of our capabilities, as well as generate new business. It makes us ask questions of ourselves. It stops us being complacent. So what are the 5 qualities to look for in a market research company?
#1 It’s all about the service
For me, client service should be at the heart of everything we do. Some may say this is a hygiene factor, and yes, it should be, but it is the level of service you provide a client with, that can make all the difference.
It is about understanding the facets that surround the projects we undertake, being our clients sounding board if needed
Service is not only about producing great pieces of work and insight, but also about building partnerships with our clients. It is about understanding the facets that surround the projects we undertake, being our clients sounding board if needed, and building a client agency relationship where honesty and trust on both sides prevails.
It is about delivering nothing less than what you would expect yourself.
#2 Innovation, Creativity and Point of Difference
This is perhaps the area that smaller market research agencies like ourselves, find increasingly more difficult to prove in the highly competitive environment we operate in, especially with more limited financial resources and budgets that are perhaps enjoyed by larger organisations in our field.
The ‘what makes you different to other agencies?’ question is one that we all perhaps find challenging, but possibly need to look at differently. It’s not just about what you do, but how you do it.
It’s not just about what you do, but how you do it.
There are many different ways in which research agencies can prove their innovation, creativity and point of difference such as new research methodologies, new technologies, new ways of delivering outputs and building new partnerships.
As a market research company who endeavours to provide high levels of client service, we feel we are duty bound to keep our fingers on the pulse and offer our clients the latest research advances. More here about what we do
#3 Let’s keep thing flexible!
In a dynamic world where things are changing all the time, flexibility in what you are providing to clients is vital. The ability to adapt to changing needs as projects develop, even as early as the proposal stage by providing options to clients with a ‘pick and mix’ menu of methodologies and costs, is important. It’s about working with clients and building partnerships, not about dictating.
Experience is key to clients. It gives them confidence and reassurance that as an agency you know what you are doing and can talk knowledgeably to their internal clients.
After operating for 30 years, across a variety of sectors, our knowledgebase as a company is pretty vast. Some might see a lack of specialism as a hindrance, but we don’t. It makes us look at projects differently. It allows us to pull on our experience and knowledge of people and how they behave in other environments. Too often I feel research looks at ‘customers’ behaviour within a particular sector and scenario, without looking at the person.
Too often I feel research looks at ‘customers’ behaviour within a particular sector and scenario, without looking at the person.
When choosing a market research company it’s important to find an agency with a holistic viewpoint. Why? How else will you discover what external factors, outside the sector you are researching, are influencing people and why? We need to look at people more holistically. Does the agency conduct their own trend projects to learn how consumers are being affected by the trends around them? This knowledge delivers key insights for your business, that left unexplored, may only present half of the picture.
It may be an obvious one, but over the past three decades in business, the one thing that has remained constant in the research world is that people buy people.
Choosing a market research company with the right mix of talent and skill base is important. Every member of staff should bring something to the table whether that be client side and industry sector expertise, digital marketing experience, design background or other.
Every member of staff should bring something to the table
But it’s not just about talent, it’s also about approach-ability. Ensuring clients have the confidence to have conversations with you will ultimately lead to better insight.
– Lisa Ollerenshaw, Joint Managing Director of Turquoise Thinking Ltd.