If you are looking to work with a market research agency, you are about to make a smart investment that will support a wide range of results and advantages. However, the results and advantages you receive will be widely affected by which type of market agency you choose.
Factors such as experience, competence and cost-effectiveness are important, as we’ve discussed in a recent blog post “What to Look for When Hiring A Marketing Firm”. Though on a more fundamental level where you should start, it is necessary to recognize that there are different types of marketing research agencies, and as such you want to focus your investigation and evaluation on those that are best equipped to fulfil your requirements, and fit your budget.
Essentially, there are five different types of marketing research agencies on the landscape previewed below:
1. Research Report Producers
These firms publish research reports that are then used by businesses, associations, marketing firms, and so on. The quality and value of these reports – as well as the costs – vary considerably, and so it is quite important not to “judge a report by its cover”; especially since some can cost thousands of dollars.
2. Field Service Market Research Firms
These firms specialize in going into consumer markets and collecting data through various methods, such as surveys, interviews, and so on. If this is the right type of market research partner for you, then it is extremely important to conduct your due diligence. To point you in this direction, read our article “Pick the Right Field Collection Vendor for Your Market Research”.
3. Mystery Shopper Firms
There is little mystery about what mystery shopper firms do: they hit the ground level and put together customer experience profiles, which businesses than analyze to see what is working and what is not. While this approach does have some advantages – such as helping businesses get an objective picture of what is really happening vs. what they think is happening – there are some limitations as well.
For example, people in general tend to remember negative experiences more clearly than positive ones. This dynamic can compel customers to unintentionally exaggerate them (i.e. “I was standing in line for half an hour” could in truth have been 8 minutes, but seemed longer because it was unanticipated). An excess of this kind of feedback can make businesses think that certain problems are severe and systemic, when that may not necessarily be the case.
4. Market Research Consultants
Passionate researchers that often have a depth of experience from working a portion of their careers in large corporations often break out on their own as independents that can pursue research they can be involved in from beginning to end. The level of service quality can be phenomenal when both sides invest in the partnership. Often research consultants have trusted vendors for specific research services that they work with that allows them to deliver on more than only what they can do themselves.
5. Full Service Market Research Firms
As the term suggests, full service market research firms provide end-to-end services and solutions. The only potential drawback of partnering with such a firm is that they are relatively more expensive than those listed above. However, it goes without saying that they offer much more, including access to expertise and support that can make a major difference when it comes to implementing your market research results and generating ROI.
These types of companies make up a large portion of the market research industry. There are others. We did not even specifically mention panel companies that sell access to respondents or big data analytics firms. Both of which have grown rapidly in recent years and are contributing to disruption within the industry.
Now that you know the five main types of market research agencies, check out our article here to learn more about the pros and cons of each type.
If you’re in need of a market research agency, look no further than Communications for Research. We strive to be an extension of your team who can carry out your participant sourcing, research methodologies and report creation. Contact us today to speak with Colson Steber, our co-CEO, who can give you more information on where to start. In learning more about your business, he will gladly give advice and assess whether CFR would be a good fit for your project. He is also very responsive, accurate and concise in service proposals detailing project specifications, service responsibilities, timeline and price.