Everyone is being asked to do more with less. But in the pursuit of faster, cheaper and better a few considerations need to be made, and standards kept. In the world of surveys, market research and consumer insights, a failure to strike the right balance can mean low-quality data from which to make pressing business decisions. As you start your next global research project, we offer a few considerations around this age-old adage and conundrum.
Vetting Research Partners Falls to the Bottom of the To-Do List
A desirable supplier provides a healthy mix of affordability, speed, and quality. While that’s easy to state, finding time to vet a high-caliber partner is time-consuming. Deadlines for market research are tight these days. Clients need the data yesterday, if not sooner. Research managers juggling multiple studies, affordable budgets, and managing junior staff may resort to the first recommendation received or use a familiar vendor regardless of how their experience aligns with the job. So, what is the best method to find trusted partners to assist with customer surveys without sacrificing quality for speed? The task can be effortless when asking specific questions.
Experience in the Segment and Methodology Is Vital
An essential first step is understanding how the supplier's expertise lines up with the project. A partner may be familiar with the space and be easy to work with, but do they specialize with the respondent types needed for the sample? For example, some have competency in healthcare surveys but may not be well-versed with the provider side: OBGYNs with gynecologic oncology experience. Other suppliers may be more familiar with patient surveys, but it is better if the potential partner has both provider and patient experience. Having any experience in the segment IS helpful but being as detailed in questions as possible will lead to a more accurate recruit.
Finding a partner who regularly provides qualitative feedback is excellent, but if the need is more around direct pricing methodology, such as Van Westendorp or Gabor-Granger techniques, asking for examples of how suppliers report out data for these two approaches is essential.
Global Versus Regional Knowledge
Unfortunately, some executives think of global expansion in vague terms. C-Suite leaders may report that the strategy in their organization is changing their focus to Asia or Europe. Still, many of their target countries vary wildly in requirements and willingness to participate in market research. Local translators, global data collection methodology, and those who know the individual country nuances culturally are essential to success in outreach.
The ideal relationship with a business partner includes a cohesive working style and a match in values. No doubt there have been times when data received from a supplier had too many straight-line responses, too-fast online results to be reasonable, and open-ends answered poorly based on the expertise level of the participant. When questioning that supplier, if the answers given do not resonate at a gut-level check or if the supplier is defensive, chances are your work values do NOT match the partner firm. Good partners supply honest, accurate, quick-turn data that is trustworthy. They back it by gladly imparting data collection and recruiting details to address all questions and concerns. Concerns not addressed are returned to the field to provide additional information inputs to back their answers.
Wanted: Insights Leading to a Unique Story
The last but not the least salient piece in partnering considerations are suppliers who help decipher storytelling based on market research results. For centuries, stories have been the critical method that human beings use to make decisions. The world is full of data but knowing how to analyze data to grasp your clients' customers and what they dream about is a significant factor in branding. The recall is much better if wrapped in a story, and emotional identification also strengthens brand choices. Stories trump data every time. If your partner can uncover the people behind the data, that is gold. What is the customer journey to purchase? What do customers feel about the brand? Some suppliers cannot address these emotions through online surveys, but the best partners can be precise in this area. Post-pandemic online is the way customers are making purchasing decisions now.
Track-record and longevity in the marketplace are other calculations. There are thousands of offshore companies that started less than ten years ago competing for business. While they may be lower-priced, are they reputable? If a market research company is ten or more years in, they have complied with and survived significant changes in the market and proven to be processed agile. Market research has gone through a significant evolution that has resulted in the survival of the fittest. Taking the time to understand where in the world, and at what capacity a potential global research services vendor has worked goes a long way in establishing their track record.
Whether you're in the market for a global data collection partner, need to expand your capacity for large-scale feedback surveys, or need assistance with employee surveys or more, our expert team can offer as little or as much support fit your needs. Contact us to direct any inquiries in your search for a comprehensive research operations hub.