The decision to hand off some of the work in a market research project should be made with a full perspective on the potential risks, benefits and consequences. Client-side researchers that simply choose an option as a way to save time could face unexpected deviations from their plan as a result.
To prevent such setbacks from happening, researchers should always preface their final decision by asking these three questions:
What Is the Optimal Outcome of the Study, and How Can Research Design Enable That?
How data is collected matters a great deal based on what you intend to do with that data. Two very similar studies may have dramatically different outcomes as a result of small differences in priority.
For instance, one study may wish to delve deep into how businesses choose their telecoms provider, whereas another may just wish to know why certain name-brand telecom providers are chosen over theirs.
Seemingly small discrepancies like these can translate to dramatic differences in data collection, survey question phrasing and interview techniques based on the goals of the study and what is intended to be done with the final data.
Will This Study Exist in a Vacuum, or Will It Connect to Other Data?
This question goes even further than the first by constraining the study to build off of or work with other available data.
A simple example is how a census defines a “household.” If one census defines it as, “any dwelling group of semi-permanent tenants,” whereas another describes it as a, “social unit functioning like a family,” then the subsequent reported number of households will vary dramatically.
The purpose of this question is to ensure that your new data can work alongside other data in order to chart trends over time or within several concepts while minimizing any estimating or excess data manipulation.
Can The Market Research Firm’s Service Model Adjust to Fit My Needs?
Imagine entering a fast food restaurant where the only way to get french fries would be to order a ten person dinner. Market research firms that only offer services in lump packages create the same problem.
Ideally, a market research partner will fill in the gaps of the work you do not intend to do without adding any unneeded services on the side. This type of service model not only saves money, but it also enables the study to be collaborative and efficient, without any excess.
Learn more about avoiding problems with our video on the 5 most common market researcher mistakes.