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Whether you’re based in the Bay Area or looking to partner with a firm who specializes in the local San Francisco market, here is a quick guide for what to look for when seeking out a market research firm in San Francisco.

Finding a market research firm in San Francisco tip #1: What expertise are you looking for?

The San Francisco Bay Area market (which broadly includes Silicon Valley) is renowned for the tech industry, but there are also (shocking!) other industries that have long-established roots here. When you go to search for market research firms in San Francisco, you’ll find that firms tend to specialize in industries. For example:

Many market research firms are able to work across industries, as the methodologies transfer well, but for a highly-specialized product, narrow your search down by seeking out a firm that has brand-experience in your company’s product or service.

Finding a market research firm in San Francisco tip #2: Qualitative or quantitative?

What type of market research study are you trying to conduct? Are you looking to sample a large population and get statistical validation on trends and ideas? If so, seek out firms that offer quantitative research. At a minimum, they should have an in-house specialist who is trained in statistics and can analyze large data sets.

If your study’s aim is to test out concepts, develop product roadmaps, conduct UX testing, or get feedback about how to improve a product or service, then seek out a qualitative research specialty firm. Depending on your study’s goals, the firm will recommend a methodology that may include focus groups, in-depth interviews, or ethnographic research.

Many firms offer both. Ask for case studies to see how they combine methodologies in their studies.

Finding a market research firm in San Francisco tip #3: Ask for case studies and references

Once you’ve narrowed down the research specialty and determined whether you need qualitative or quantitative research, your final step is to request a proposal from the firm and start comparing methodologies and pricing. Most firms are happy to provide a proposal and talk through options. At a minimum, get three proposals for comparison. Once you’ve made your selection, and before you seal the deal, ask for case studies, testimonials, and if you can speak to one of their past clients as a reference. If everything checks out, you’ve done your due diligence and can get your project kicked off.

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