Market research projects stand a better chance of success when you get off on the right foot. That’s why the Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) Analytics team and other divisions at RMS make it standard to do some level of project kickoff meeting prior to the market research. This kickoff meeting can be handled over the phone or in-person, whatever is most convenient for both parties.

Other than introducing the client to the research team they will be working with, kickoff meetings serve a larger purpose. Asking the right questions to a client during a market research kickoff meeting will help everyone to be on the same page from day one. Therefore when the report is delivered on day 34, the client knows what questions will be answered. The kickoff meeting is due-diligence to ensure that as your research study matures properly.

If there’s one thing a market research analyst is good at, it’s asking questions.  Whether it’s in a moderator’s guide, a survey script or live at a kickoff meeting, analysts need to ask the questions that will ultimately solve their client’s problems.  Think of the kickoff almost as a survey before the survey.

Here are three good questions to ask your client at a kickoff meeting before your market research begins:

1. What are your expectations from the research? Sure, this covers a lot, but it really gets to the core of why the market research was commissioned in the first place. You might find out it’s as straight-forward as “we need research to tell us which of these five site locations is the best choice for us” or “we need to find out what the community thinks about our merger with ABC Hospital.” Or, you might find out that different divisions within your client’s company want different things from the research. Maybe the human resource team would like to use the customer satisfaction ratings for training, maybe the marketing team would like to use the awareness data to improve advertising ROI, and maybe the management team would like to use the overall satisfaction data to trend the progression of their company from year to year.

2. The timeline from the proposal states we’ll wrap this project up by this date; is there anything being done by your company from now until then that might affect or bias the data? It seems like an obscure question but it is critical to know.  As market research analysts, we like to conduct our fieldwork during a controlled time period or “pure” stretch. Whether it be a brand new advertising campaign, unexpected bad PR, or a change to the customer’s account login system – the research team needs to be aware of such news. Therefore, if we know your third quarter revenue results are being published and made public on October 14th, we can push to be out of the field by October 13th so none of our data incurs any unexpected bias. We’re glad we’ve approached this topic with our clients because sometimes they’ve mentioned something to our team that made us adjust on the fly.

3. How will you be using our results? This ties in nicely with the first question and a post written by Chris last week. Let’s say you are undertaking a new mystery shopping project, which attempts to evaluate cashier services at various drug stores across the region.  The client states they would like to use the results to create a benchmark and provide reliable data to help them design a training manual for new cashiers being hired by the store(s).  Once fieldwork is complete, you’ll want to develop action items and recommendations that new hires can translate.

    • Do this: The greeting offered by the cashier is one of the most important factors of the customer service experience. The cashier should always offer friendly and personal greetings to each and every customer.
    • Not this: Based on the correlation and regression analysis, the examination of the p-scores reveals that the coefficient related to the greeting presented by the cashier is a large driver to global fulfillment with the customer experience.  If cashiers can increase this score by .67 points, it will result in a 24-percent increase in global fulfillment.

market research kickoff meeting

Taking the time to have a kickoff meeting that addresses the right questions upfront can save you a lot of grief and rework on the back-end of the project. Just like doing research in the first place can save a client a lot of money and wasted effort, having a productive kickoff meeting can have the same effect on your research project.  Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY.  If you have any questions you’d like to run by us please click on the ‘have a question’ box in the top right corner of our blog.