When And How To Buy Online Market Research

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"The first awareness of the need for research can be a dramatic moment of truth," writes Mary Griffin, MBE.

To be a spectator at the tribal dances performed when research consultants engage in buying each other's services is to observe in the last movements an attempt to extract blood from stones. This, by the natural laws, is doomed to end in less than satisfaction, but the exercise has much to teach the layman essaying that seemingly uncharted jungle where he must go to buy marketing research services.

When professional treats with professional, the buyer is precise as to his needs, certain about the purpose of the research, definite about the intended end uses, and acutely conscious of the cost benefits which must ensue before it can be wholly justified. Because in this situation the buyer is himself skilled in research, he is realistic about the limits of achievability, and is purchasing for ultimate resale.

The frictions at this interface illustrate the fact that bargains are rarely available when buying research and that many of the apparent choices hold dangers for the unwary. Some firms seeking to lessen uncertainty are alert 'to these dangers and have sought refuge by acquiring services they can control and monitor closely, but many more are hesitant about the relative merits of in-company resources and consultancy/agency services, or on how to mix the two.

For the purpose of this article it is assumed that the decision to carry out market research is well founded. Nevertheless, examination of the reasons for carrying out the research will help not only in deciding whether to undertake the project as an in-company project but also in choosing among several SEO Agencies should a decision be made to go outside.

It is particularly important to stop to establish the reasons for the research when, as is too often the case, the need for it arises from some crisis. At such times, the urge for action is paramount and the signals, which in themselves may indicate the correct decision, may go unnoticed.

The wisest counsel then is to stop, do nothing and think: think why is research needed, what information is required and how it will help when it has been obtained. In this way it is possible to ensure that the problem is correctly analysed and interpreted, and is judged in the context of total operations. Only then can a rational decision be made either to use an existing in-company unit, to set one up if it does not already exist, or to go to an outside agency for help on either a permanent or temporary basis. There are a number of considerations, both internal to the company and external to it, which must be taken into account in making the decision.

Next Page - Internal Considerations?