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The Importance of Tailored Market Research

In today’s digitally connected world, DIY online research surveys satisfy our appetite for instant gratification – quick to assimilate, quick to issue and quick to respond. But is propelling your market research into hyper-drive the way forward? 

July 7th 2016

Whether you're a fledgling business or a surefooted global enterprise, quality market research is vital for understanding your target audience, unearthing expectations, measuring performance, and more importantly, pinpointing where improvements can be made.

To mine such critical insights there are multiple tools and resources available, from self-created online surveys to all-encompassing market research agencies. Whilst online survey tools offer efficiencies such as convenience, cost savings and real-time results, traditional market research agencies usually apply and personalise a variety of research methodologies, from telephone interviews to digital questionnaires, to extract market intelligence.   

Which route you take largely depends on your project spend, time frame and the type of feedback you require. Here we explore the merit of agency-led market research versus an ‘off the shelf’ solution.    

Customised Market Research – How does it work?

Customised market research is aligned to your business needs and targets a specific business process, for example, collating customer feedback on service delivery.

Although DIY surveys allow a degree of customisation, tailored survey services are typically provided by independent Market Research companies or agencies. They work with you to develop survey questions and response types in keeping with your target market and that are designed to yield the most effective insights. A market research company is also likely to have an array of proven and innovative research methodologies at their disposal to capture useful data.

Advantages of Tailored Market Research

There are several advantages to running agency-led bespoke surveys including:         

Compelling questionnaires – Unlike template surveys which often ask you to select questions from a pre-determined ‘question bank’, tailored questionnaires are created in line with your business goals. The content is structured and worded to deliver the most insightful information.   

Relevant questions – An agency will usually determine relevant questions to ask via workshops with department heads and focus groups. This reduces the risk of posing ambiguous, non-actionable or loaded questions which may sway or frustrate respondents leading to a high drop-out rate and/or inaccurate results.         

Response planning – Response planning is vital for survey success; get it wrong and you can be left with a mass of unintelligible data.

In response planning there are four principle response formats: open-ended questions, pre-coded responses (which offer precise closed responses, such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’, ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’), verbal rating scales (the most common is the Likert scale which uses 1 to 5, 5 being the most positive and 1 the most negative) and agreement scales, which offer five options running from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Which one you use depends on the data you want to extract, for example, a rating scale is more appropriate for assessing the quality of a particular service, whilst a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response is good for acquiring quick generalised data.

Deciding which response to use is harder than it looks. Independent research providers ensure the appropriate response type (or blend of response types) is used to deliver the most valuable output.

Smooth structure – A stumbling block of ‘ready to run’ surveys is the inability to mould the questionnaire to match your customer, employee or stakeholder journey.

The flow of the survey should reflect the respondent’s experience and ask more detail through open-ended questions. To ensure seamless questioning, agency-led surveys are often pilot-tested on sample groups to assess the validity of the questions, check the routing and hone the structure before live release.  

First impressions – Using an independent company to spearhead your research rather than carrying it out in-house will avoid suggestions of bias reporting and give weight to subsequent findings. Additionally, surveys are designed to reflect a company’s brand values and language, increasing engagement and maximising response rates.      

Expert Data Analysis – Using an external company to conduct your research means you have trained experts on hand to sift and present key findings. As well as providing accurate results they can develop distinct solutions to enhance products and processes.     

How we can help

TTi Global Research conducts cost-effective, custom market research for enterprises worldwide, providing them with clear actionable insights to drive up satisfaction and brand loyalty.

We can devise your ideal customer research initiative, from survey design and implementation through to showing you exactly how to transform your survey findings into profit.

Like to know more? Call our customer research experts today on 01753 214000 or email research@tti-global.com.