Commissioning research – making a good match

A survey of research buyers from 100 UK companies is published this week. The survey by the Research Exchange and published in Marketing Week suggests that many clients are continuing to stay with their tried and tested research partners rather than look for new solutions from specialist suppliers. In fact, only 17% seek a quote from a new supplier when commissioning a market research project.

This is really interesting to us as a small specialist agency.

The figures below show the important criteria for buyers when choosing a supplier. I think that these figures show the natural apprehension that commissioning clients have in making the wrong decision when choosing their supplier. Getting your research right is so vital and it can feel like stepping into the unknown when commissioning new research. It’s even more tense for clients who have never undertaken any research before as they have no benchmark.

However, it’s also important for the potential incoming research team to be clear that they are the right match to the client. In times of recession it’s easy for us all to say ‘yes’ to every opportunity, yet we have to take some responsibility of knowing when we are the right agency to tender or not.

We are aware that many clients come to us for quotes to benchmark their current (and preferred) supplier. This can be frustrating, tailored proposals take time and we need to understand the research objectives to deliver a strong and relevant proposal. This highlights the importance for us to also ask the right questions at this stage to see where we can (or cannot) make a difference and bring a new perspective and therefore truly be in the running.

The survey also showed the frustrations that research buyers have with their research agencies.

Failure to deliver to budget, to time and to brief is clearly not the sign of a good working relationship. I wonder if there are stories behind these statistics about poor communication between researchers and their clients or misaligned expectations of outcome. These are sobering statistics and also shows why some organisations may wish to stay with a tried and trusted research team.

These surveys are good for us as researchers, we need to understand our clients, be flexible, not be complacent and ensure we communicate clearly about what we can and can’t achieve between us. We need to be equal partners in working out if there is a good match between organisation and our offerings. By doing this we should hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that happen when projects go live.

Reference: Marketing Week (2016/03/03)