Market research is an essential piece of any successful business puzzle; especially when it comes to product development, pricing, promotions and positioning. As boldly and accurately concluded by Entrepreneur.com: “Failing to do market research can amount to a death sentence for your product.”
However, while market research is vital, it is important to note that not all market research agencies specialize in the same things. As such, before choosing a market research partner, it is necessary to evaluate each one according to their competencies, areas of focus, technologies, approaches, methodologies, and so on.
To point you in the right direction, below we highlight 3 different types of market research agencies, and why they may -- or may not – be the right choice to fulfill your objectives and goals:
Field Service Market Research Agencies
These agencies conduct research with the target audience. They ask participants specific questions via interviews, focus groups, observation, surveys, and so on. The “Field” refers to being the ones that are out actually engaging respondents and collecting data. Also knows as fieldwork firms, these companies are often hired by other market researchers that already have a designed study to be the ones that actually get answers from people. Then depending on the service relationship the field service passes data back for the researcher to analyze and draw insights from.
Intercept and Mystery Shopper Market Research Agencies
These agencies are specialized field service firms that collect data in consumer markets at the ground level. The primary difference is that these firms specialize in face-to-face interaction with respondents for intercepts or even research through actually having experiences through mystery shopping.
If your research objective is best achieved by getting in-the-moment reaction from consumers or you want to measure actual customer experience across locations seeking out a firm with this specialty is absolutely necessary. There are increasingly usable online intercept tools with mobile and beacon technologies that many of these agencies have evolved to offering in order to stay competitive in our increasingly digital world.
Full Service Market Research Agencies
These agencies provide end-to-end customized market research services, which can include: identifying the marketing problem to be solved, determining the optimal research design, preparing instruments and methods (typically a blend of online and offline tactics that may include those noted above), sampling, data collection, analysis and reporting.
Full service research firms are trending increasingly towards assisting businesses with implementation of the insights gathered because of the demand for actionable research outcomes. This begins to make them appear more and more as consultants who use market research as a foundation for everything that they do.
Additional Support: Research Producers and Research Consultants
In addition to the market research agencies highlighted above, there are also firms that sell reports that contain research. This may be to support a social research mission or more often is a service product offering from full service market research agencies. You can call it syndicated, subscription, or other names. In addition to custom market research done specifically to achieve research objectives for one company, there are industry and target audience specific research that does not have one specific sponsor and is done and sold back to people with interest on the topic and outcomes.
Market research consultants can also be a part of the puzzle. Whether as an independent or part of a small partnership, many passionate research professionals pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor that allows them to stay involved beginning to end with a customer.
Where does CFR fit in?
The market research industry itself is relatively considering the integral role it plays in nearly every type of business. The market research industry is continuously evolving. This description barely scratches the service of the dynamic set of companies that drive business decisions utilizing research.
CFR is manages and executes the research process. We work with consultants, marketing, or research professionals to define what research can be achieved based on their situation and act as the follow through team to get it done. Our services that we can list out are primarily those of other field services firm. Our differentiation point is our aptitude for understanding the business outcomes that need to be achieved, thinking strategically about what it will take to accomplish the goal, and having the experienced professionals to execute that plan.
Choosing the right market research agency to answer marketing question(s) is an important task. However, be assured that it does not need to be a risky, time consuming or confusing process. To that end, we invite you to contact the Communications for Research team and schedule a chat with our CEO, Colson Steber. We will provide you with objective advice – clearly laying out the pros and cons of different agency options – so you can make an informed, and ultimately successful and profitable choice.