How to select a market research agency

You’ve decided to undertake some market research with the help of a specialist agency, but where do you start?

Before finding and briefing an agency, it’s worth taking the time to consider what you want out of the research so you’re able to communicate this clearly. A good market research agency will be able to advise on how best to achieve your aims, decide on sample sizes, select the most suitable methods and techniques and much more. But to do this they need to understand the reasons behind the research and what you want to ultimately achieve with the project.

Any agency can put together a questionnaire or online survey, or rank your competitors using business information databases. But if you want real insight, you need an agency with experience in your particular sector that is adept at interpreting the results and translating them into recommendations that will work for you.

A good research agency will provide feedback on your brief and think how best to achieve the desired outcome. They may suggest alternative methods to give better results at the end of the process, rather than just giving you a quote based on your brief.

And, when selecting the agency, keep in mind – bigger is not necessarily always better. Smaller agencies, such as MRA Research, which specialises in the construction, building, and home improvement sectors, will understand your requirements fully. Importantly, they will also be able to put the results into context and offer actionable insight.

Important aspects to consider when comparing research agencies include:

  • Ability to understand your research aims
  • Relevant experience and track record of similar projects from within your industry
  • The methodology that is being proposed
  • Experience of the interviewers and knowledge of the subject
  • Whether interviews will be outsourced to a third party or conducted in-house
  • Memberships of professional bodies – both industry and research related.
  • Risk of hidden costs or the project going over budget

It’s best to go with the agency you believe will add the most value. Even small agencies can commission or undertake interviews with hundreds of respondents, so don’t judge agencies based on size, even if you have a large project in mind.

You could of course choose to undertake research in-house, but outsourcing is likely to be the most efficient and effective solution. An external research agency has no stake in your organisation, so they can provide ethically sound and objective research that is robust and unbiased, and help direct you to get maximum ROI. In addition, respondents may be unwilling to reveal their true feelings to a supplier, but may open up to an independent agency that will preserve their anonymity.

The next step is deciding what to do with the results – after all, that’s what matters. A good research agency should be able to give you solid recommendations for the course of action to take based on the insight provided by the research. In the ideal scenario, you would follow these recommendations to obtain real business results.

MRA Research is a specialist provider of market research services to the building, construction and home improvement sector. To find out more, get in touch now.

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