There are a number of reasons why you decide to tackle a market research project. Perhaps you are soon to release a new product or want to test an advertising campaign. Or maybe you are launching a product or service in a new geographic area and need to learn the market. Often times there is a lot of “top down” pressure within a firm to “just figure it out” or “show us how and why” and, most frustrating, “get results.”
A natural reaction to these demands might be to tackle some superficial market research yourself. You hastily set up some meetings with the products team and send out some surveys, and if you feel you have time you may even conduct a competitive audit.
Before you go any further stop!
If you are considering any of the above, it’s time to have a frank discussion about why it’s rarely a good idea to internally tackle comprehensive marketing research.
Reason #1 to hire a third-party market research company: Bias is your enemy
Companies are a microcosm of any governing body. People take sides. There are debates and alliances and maneuvering. This is normal in any company, especially as it grows larger. Companies are run by passionate people and passionate people have opinions; sometimes really strong ones. This is why it is rarely a good idea for an internal team to do their own market research: they know too much and often are biased. This bias is often subconscious, but it’s still there and it taints the data. It’s hard to have a neutral view when you’re immersed in a company culture — you’ll naturally see things in a particular way, or you have a ready explanation for why things are done a certain way. This intimate knowledge often muddies any effort to conduct pure market research.
Bias often skews results in research. Even the best intentions fall short. In the rare event that an internal marketing research effort produced unbiased results, it’s not uncommon for that data to be viewed skeptically by other teams within the company—particularly if the results don’t match up to preconceived ideas.
Bias is a minefield. Here at InterQ we’ve seen it countless times. If your team is asked to conduct a marketing report, we suggest that you advocate for a third-party company to do the dirty work. It will save your company money and headache in the long run. We promise.
Reason #2 to hire a third-party market research company: Objectivity is hard to achieve when you’re subjective
Bias in internally conducted market research is often a result of the individuals or teams conducting the research being subjective, rather than objective. Internally produced market research often comes with years of company experience, which usually means the individuals feel loyalty (or dissatisfaction), and are corporately myopic. Internal research often results in power-plays when those conducting the research may exert influence over those whom they are interviewing or surveying. What’s more, subjectivity influences how internal employees interview clients. Being subjective can lead to self-censorship. For example, if you are interviewing an extremely important client you may dodge questions that you would be willing to ask less lucrative clients. Subjectivity kills objectively collected data.
Reason #3 to hire a third-party market research company: Qualitative and Quantitative Data Gathering
Marketing research that achieves maximally effective results should most always include qualitative and quantitative data gathering. In other words, numbers and interviews. Make no mistake, conducting qualitative research is time consuming. Just because we make it look easy, it’s not. Properly done qualitative and quantitative research involves research design, surveying strategy, participant recruiting, conducting in-depth interviews with vetted prospects, and finally, coding and analyzing the data to produce a comprehensive and digestible report. Well-done research is an iterative process that requires consent and methodology. If quantitative research is being conducted then a statistician is usually employed to effectively capture and analyze results.
The good news is you can outsource this task. You’ll likely save your department hundreds of hours by hiring a reputable firm that can efficiently and objectively look at your research problem, properly design a study, conduct the research, and deliver the results. With an accurate understanding of target audience, you’ll be able to build your strategy around the findings and look like a hero as a result.
Market research – It’s what we do!
If you weren’t already aware, we here are a marketing research firm that specializes in qualitative and quantitative research. Our agency was formed because we saw businesses struggle because they weren’t able to look at their customers, or themselves, objectively. InterQ’s raison d’etre is to help companies punch through the corporate myopia and provide then with complete and un-biased access to customer opinions.
It’s our joy and mission to help companies succeed. At InterQ we are committed to sound, cutting-edge research techniques that will take your company to the next level.