I came across a great article that discusses finding creative and cost-effective ways to conduct market research without breaking your budget. This generalizes an issue that Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) encounters on a daily basis.
You can read that article here from the Dallas Business Journal – click here. Here is a quote from the first paragraph of the article: “Last year, most companies slashed marketing expenses and reduced market research budgets to almost nothing. It’s survival time, but I would argue many companies are going about it all wrong. Now, more than ever, market research can help companies to invest wisely the few resources they have.”
The author Michaela Mora, founder and president of Relevant Insights, suggests the following six strategies to make market research more affordable.
1) Controlling the research scope – separate the “nice to know” from “need to know” information for your business.
2) Reducing the sample size – as samples get larger, estimate accuracy and sample costs increase, but there is a point where the gains in estimate accuracy don’t justify the increased cost. Oftentimes, increases in sample do not justify a gain in statistical accuracy. This is why 400 completes is usually the cornerstone of any quantitative study. The bunker blog will tackle this model in a future post.
3) Using customer databases or internal panels – not having to repurchase new sample saves on cost and increases response rate and ease of survey administration.
4) Using online data collection tools – generally a less expensive and faster option than other traditional modes. This comes with a few caveats though. One being programming and deploying online surveys is easier and cheaper than ever, however the online tools that facilitate this don’t provide the content of the actual survey. You still need expertise in questionnaire design, research methodology, sampling and data analysis to be able to extract useful insights from the survey data. Secondly, online surveys are not always the most appropriate methodology for the research objectives and target sample. For example, consumers in lower income brackets are less likely to have Internet access; therefore they would be underrepresented in an online-only sample.
5) Hire small market research agencies – there are many small market research agencies with big agency capabilities and experienced market researchers, but low overhead cost. They are often very responsive and flexible and can do the job with the same — and sometimes better — quality than bigger research firms for a fraction of what larger firms would charge.
Market research doesn’t have to be expensive to be well done. Consider these points and find a research partner that is willing to invest in your success. This will allow you to do market research on the smallest budgets.
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