This month we had a chance to chat with Greg Snyder, a partner at the research company Unisearch Partners. Greg gave us his insights and recruitment solutions as someone who understands both the client and supplier perspective.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I’m a partner at the small research company, Unisearch Partners. I’ve been here for 16 years. We mainly do qualitative research, including a focus on quant-qual hybrid research. We help out a variety of different companies.
Prior to that, I worked at several different companies -- Anheuser-Busch, Kraft Foods, Stroh Brewery and more. After I left A-B, I got together with some guys I previously worked with who were also in market research. Ultimately, my whole career and background has been in marketing and market research. I’ve been doing it for 30 years now.
What type of clients do you serve?
We serve a pretty wide variety of clients. A lot of them are traditional packaged goods companies. We’ve also done experiential work for casinos and theme parks.
How do your clients typically use the info you provide?
It’s a range. A lot of it is traditional marketing usage, like advertising development and ad optimization. We tend to be engaged earlier on in the process, so we’ll be part of the screening, refinement and optimization stages. We also do branding and exploratory development.
We’ll talk to our client’s consumers and do qualitative research. Ninety percent of our qualitative research is consumer-based focus groups. Our quant-qual focus groups tend to be consumers as well, but we also do research among business professionals as well.
What’s the biggest mistake you see made in market research?
Clearly some of the biggest mistakes include a failure to understand the issues upfront and to do the necessary research beforehand. Not doing research when you should have is probably the biggest error we see. Of course, now that I’m on the supplier side, I often don’t see that type of error.
What should consumers of research know about recruiting and managing respondents?
Just be realistic about it. There’s more of a movement towards segmentation and while I’m a believer in it, segmentation typing tools can be create major challenges to recruiting. For example, say 15% of a client’s market might be in one segment and they are interested in recruiting them. But when they then narrow it down further via a specific age or other cohort, they may end up trying to look at only one or two percent of the total market.
What advice would you give them?
Make sure the internal researchers are having conversations with their internal clients and setting realistic expectations in terms of the timing, cost and strategic implications of a recruit. Do we only want to recruit segments “ABC” or are they open to others? They need to make time with internal customers to have these conversations. And they need to be realistic about recruiting for multiple behavioral and attitudinal dimensions.
Is there anything else research consumers need to know about research or recruiting?
Make sure you are monitoring and staying on top of the supplier and recruiting early on. You may only have two weeks to recruit traditional groups, so if you stay on top of recruiting early you’ll be able to find the right people to talk to. Don’t wait until it’s too late to change the direction of the recruiting.
And make sure you have a good relationship with the recruiter so you feel comfortable dealing with them. A good relationship allows you to trust them to put the effort in and share their thoughts regarding the specs and progress of the recruit. Try to find recruiters that are looking for solutions. I’d rather have a supplier come to me and tell me their concerns so we can address them, instead of someone telling me everything’s fine when it’s not. I would rather go back to the client for a cost issue versus a poor ending recruit.