There has been some buzz about syndicated research and how it relates to market research studies. Without a doubt there are times when conducting syndicated market research makes sense and can be very useful to a company. The problem is when marketing or research departments within organizations don’t understand the difference between syndicated and custom research and try to use them interchangeably when seeking to mine customer insights.
Let’s break down the differences between the two types of research and explore the pros and cons of each.
Pros and cons of syndicated research
Pros of syndicated research: Syndicated research reports are best used during the exploratory research phase to gain more information or insight about an industry, market, or company. Such research can often be done at a lesser cost and more quickly. When looking to build your knowledge base with regards to a business or research problem and want to minimize the expense, or you have limited time for turn-around, syndicated research reports can be a great option. Think of syndicated research as provided a macro-level overview.
Cons of syndicated research: Syndicated research doesn’t provide granular insights that benefit research or marketing departments for strategic or future planning. Once a company has moved beyond the exploratory stage of research, syndicated research won’t generate information that can help inform planning and next steps. Additional downsides to syndicated research is that if it isn’t customized or managed by a researcher with experience conducting qualitative or quantitative research studies, you run the risk of getting a report back full of useless and noisy data.
Pros and cons of custom research
Pros of custom research: The pros of custom research include gaining deeper insights as to what motivates consumers in their purchasing decisions. Getting to the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘why’ about consumer habits is at the heart of custom research. Qualitative research takes small sample sizes, spends time with the individuals recruited for the study, and learns more about their motivations. Custom research also allows the researcher to home in on specific areas that become apparent over the course of a study and probe deeper to learn more. Such studies often yield many ‘Aha’ insights.
Cons of custom research: Custom research requires more logistical organization and planning; it can be more costly; and it takes more time than syndicated research. The other ‘con’ with customized research is if the study isn’t designed by a professional research company, you may run the risk of a quantitative study being implemented, when what was needed was qualitative research study.
While syndicated research can be a valuable first step for companies, knowing the difference between syndicated and custom research is important so that you end up with information and data that can inform strategic decision making.