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3 Reasons Why Free Market Research Reports Are a Bad Idea

market researchIn today’s rapidly changing markets, it’s critical that businesses make the most out of their budgets, as well as their time; otherwise they risk losing out to their competitors. It’s not enough to have a great product. Companies have to strategically think about the ways they manufacture, distribute and promote it, as well. And because market research projects are often erroneously believed to be too expensive to conduct or just complicated ways to confirm what companies already know about themselves, they are frequently placed at the bottom of company to-do lists so that time and money can be spent elsewhere. If companies do consider ways to gain actionable insights for better-informed business decisions, many resort to market research alternatives that keep their cost and time commitments to a minimum. Many turn to free market research reports. We believe that’s a bad decision for these three reasons:

Free Market Research Reports Aren’t Specific

Specificity is crucial for meaningful market research. Secondary source material can provide a general overview of a market, but it does not and
can not ever describe a company’s place in that market. Every business has its own unique circumstances, resources and consumers that affect how it interacts with and grows in a market. To make accurate assumptions and predictions, each needs data that is specific to its own situation. Free market research reports are neither customizable nor specific, making them poor choices for companies wanting data that can truly inform their decisions.

Too Often, Information in Free Market Research Reports Can’t Be Validated

It’s hard to validate data without being privy to the details surrounding its collection. Actionable results depend on how information is solicited, collected, stored and analyzed. Factors such a
population and sample sizes, type of methodology used, recruitment practices and other selected variables paint different pictures according to the ways in which they are combined and used. An insufficient sample, questionable incentive practices and even just one inaccurate or misused mathematical calculation impacts a study. Without knowing how reliable the information going in to a project is, it’s impossible to validate the results that come out.

…And Too Often Free Market Research Reports Are Biased and/or Obsolete

You’ve heard the phrase “Consider the source.” Everyone has a bias. Free market research reports are usually marketed by companies with agendas. They either want to secure future business or they want to influence the companies using their reports in some type of way. Either option, whether intentional or not, affects the outcomes a company obtains with that data. In addition, sometimes the data is just out-of-date. Data that’s over five years old should be seriously questioned since today’s technologies are changing nearly every industry at an exponential rate.

Need More Info?

Don’t mistake the convenience of free market research reports with relevance. Just because something exists doesn’t mean you should use it.
Contact our team at Communications for Research (CFR) to learn how you can stay abreast of changing market conditions in affordable ways without resorting to the questionable data offered in free market research reports.

You may also like to download our free eBook, “The 5 Most Common Market Research Mistakes.” In it, we offer tips for avoiding additional market research blunders.

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Topics: market research process , marketing research

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