The truth is, you are completely capable of conducting your own market research in-house. For example, if you have questions regarding your company’s image, products or services, you could create a survey and email the survey to your current client list requesting they participate. If you are curious about a new product or service you may want to offer, you can utilize the internet and discover information about what’s currently available in the marketplace (secondary research). Or, if you are interested in discovering how satisfied your team is, you could ask them. These are all examples of how you could conduct market research in-house.
Although the examples above are viable options and would not require an outside third-party market research firm, they are not necessarily the best options to achieve your desired objective from the research when conducted in-house.
Think about a fire department. A fire department consists of trained professionals that are qualified to enter a burning building. Or, think about the doctor you visit when you are sick. They are professionally trained and qualified to medically care for you. Now, think of a professional market research firm in the same way. A market research firm provides a professional service based on the education and expertise of the staff.
You know the saying, “Simply because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.” There are benefits to calling the fire department, visiting the doctor when you are sick, and hiring market research professionals when you have questions that need to be answered regarding your business.
Here are five reasons you will benefit from hiring a professional market research firm:
#1 Professional Expertise
There are so many aspects to consider when designing, implementing, and analyzing data collected from research. From the very beginning, and throughout the entirety of the project, there will be critical decisions to be made.
For example, on a basic level, research can be separated into two choices from the very beginning: quantitative and qualitative. Think of quantitative research as generating data in a numerical form and qualitative research yielding data more related to the human experience (non-numerical).
You may know what questions you desire to be answered, but do you know whether quantitative or qualitative research would be the best option? A professional market research firm will guide you through important decisions, start to completion, ensuring you maximum benefits from your market research project.
Sampling refers to the “who.” The sample of a market research project is who are the respondents or participants. When in-house market research is conducted, often time the sample consists of a current client database. In market research, we call this convenience sampling, because the sample consists of people who are easy to reach.
Now, in some situations convenience sampling is the right choice. If you want to conduct an employee or customer satisfaction survey, obviously your sample needs to be employees or current customers. Other times, convenience sampling does not allow an opportunity to create a sample that represents the entire population.
Allow me to demonstrate what I mean. Imagine you need to conduct research related to doctors in a hospital. Would surveying or interviewing doctors in one hospital truly represent doctors in all hospitals? No. If you only included doctors in one hospital because that sample was easiest for you to reach, this would be an example of convenience sampling with a possible negative effect.
A professional market research firm will help you to include the proper sample for the best results.
#3 What to Ask
You may think you know your business, and you do. You may think you know what you wish you knew, and you do. But, do you know what questions you should ask to truly discover the answers that will benefit your business the most?
Creating the language for what and how questions will be asked is an art and a skill. A market research professional will use their knowledge and experience to create custom language that will directly result in the answers you seek. Sometimes it requires asking the “not so obvious” questions to discover the answers that will bring your company to the next level.
Professional market researchers can help create questions that will be specifically aligned with your objective for the project.
Market research yields data—lots of data! Gathering data is only as helpful as the interpretation of the data gathered. Many people are not aware of how to interpret quantitative or qualitative data. You may think you could create a survey or conduct an interview and gather the data, but would you know how to interpret it? Would you know what it means? Would you gamble a large amount of money on your ability to know your best next steps?
Many people wouldn’t, which is why many business professionals seek professional assistance with interpreting data.
Imagine you have an idea for a new product. Imagine the idea potentially costing a significant amount of money to develop and launch. Are you the type of person who would walk into a casino and put $50,000, $100,000 or even $1 million dollars on one bet? Maybe you are, but without conducting market research prior and having a professional market research firm guide you through the process, you are basically gambling with no idea about your return on your investment.
Interpreting the data is key. It is a critical component. If done incorrectly it can lead to key decisions being guided in the wrong direction, potentially creating a loss. With trained professionals providing recommendations, you can feel confident moving forward with key decisions.
Honesty is essential during a market research project. If respondents or participants don’t answer truthfully, the data collected could lead to misguided results.
Think about different experiences you have had, and how easy or difficult it was for you to be honest. Are certain situations easier to demonstrate total honesty?
If your boss directly asked you how satisfied you were with your job, and told you that they wanted you to be honest, how honest would you be? Would a part of you be nervous about repercussions for what you said if it wasn’t totally positive? Likely, yes. On the other hand, if a third party asked you the same question, would you be more likely to be honest even if everything you had to say wasn’t positive feedback? Likely, yes.
Honesty is the fifth benefit of hiring a market research firm instead of conducting research in-house. The sample of your market research project needs to feel comfortable and as if their answers are confidential and protected. A third-party firm can provide that comfort and security for your respondents or participants.
Honest answers drive honest results and provide accurate data to formulate advantageous next steps.
RMS is a full-service market research firm located near Syracuse, New York. If you are interested in learning more about our research capabilities, please contact Sandy Baker, our Vice President of Corporate Development at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 866.567.5422.