Market research – a growing industry
Market research is an industry that is growing at a phenomenal rate. In fact, this particular field is expected to increase by more than 40 per cent between 2010 and 2020.
More and more companies throughout the world are searching for new and innovative ways to market their products and reach out to potential buyers.
Market research strategists are well versed in the current state of the economy, and in the marketplace. Studying both local and global trends, these professionals are able to predict which products and services will sell, which won't, and why.
They know what consumers want, and they know how to market products and services especially for them.
The assistance of these companies can be hugely beneficial for businesses concerned about annual turnover, or for those looking to take a fresh approach in terms of their current marketing technique.
Benefits of conducting market research
The benefit of market research for businesses is threefold:
1. Firstly, businesses get to view their company from a retrospective angle, looking at why they're either meeting targets or not. Market research can demonstrate where businesses are getting it right, and identify the areas that need improving.
2. Secondly, companies can view the current state of the business through a consumer's eye. Having identified problem areas, these issues can be worked on to strengthen supplier-consumer relationships.
3. Finally, businesses can use the results of the research to plan for the future, setting out guidelines for new products and services that will meet wide demand.
Starting with the retrospective aspect, good market research companies will be able to accurately determine a business's rank amongst local competitors, letting them know where they stand.
Although many may not like to think honestly about their position, knowing can be very beneficial.
In some cases, it can be confirmation that the business is going in the right direction, whereas in others, it can be a wakeup call that changes need to be implemented.
If a local competitor is doing better, ask yourself why:
- What do they offer that you don't?
- How can you improve to increase your reputation, not only with potential customers, but also in a business to business environment?
Furthermore, initial market research can also identify where the main issues lie.
Market research strategists can help determine the typical consumer's view on existing products and services offered, as well as overall customer satisfaction, and produce guidelines as to how a business may need to alter their approach to customer services and tailor their products to better suit the local demographic.
For example, dated products for sale in an up and coming trendy city centre may not sell as well as contemporary offerings. It's about finding the right niche, establishing a connection with consumers, and maintaining that long term.
In terms of the current state of the business, the retrospective market research aspect should provide a number of avenues to explore in terms of making some small changes.
You should be at a point where you understand who your customers are, what they want, how much they want to pay, and how you can connect with them, so the only thing left is to tailor products and services to meet these demands and requirements.
If the business has an internal marketing team, it's now their task to create a dedicated marketing plan to establish a relationship with consumers, or you could look at outsourcing this work. Even small changes can have huge effects, increasing sales and profitability.
Finally, in terms of looking to the future, this is where market research really comes into play. Not only can market research predict how the economic changes will affect consumerism, it can also help identify gaps in the market for new and innovative ventures, putting your business ahead of competitors.
Having a preview into future buying habits can greatly reduce commercial risks, limiting the chances of large losses and increasing profits in the long run.
How to choose the best market research company
There are many aspects to consider when choosing a market research company, and it's really important to take these into account and not automatically choose the first company you find, or the company offering the most inexpensive services.
In order to benefit from market research, you need to locate a company that can help your business specifically, meeting your needs.
Here are some thoughts to consider:
1. Find a Company Experienced in Your Field
Market research analysts work in all sorts of industries, and it's absolutely vital to find one with experience in your field in particular. There is no point in using a market researcher with extensive knowledge of the clothing industry to determine how a pet food supplier can boost their business.
Ideally, the company should employ professionals with not only market research experience, but also sales experience within that same field. They've been there, they've done it, and now they can pass their experience along.
2. Look for Efficiency
When communicating with companies initially, ask for a rough plan as to how the research will pan out over time.
What you should be looking for is a company that is efficient and moves through different research techniques quickly. This is essential for keeping your business relevant and ahead of competitors.
If your business is looking to increase its place within local rankings, it needs to be innovative and launch new ideas first, before anyone else. Market research is all about the speed with which changes can be made, so don't choose a company that drags the process out.
3. Flexibility is Key
Market research companies should not have a one-size-fits-all plan for each and every business they work with.
When dealing not only with different industries but also with different sized businesses and companies with varying target demographics, the research approach needs to be flexible, and it needs to be tailored to each individual company.
If a market research company offers a non-negotiable process, consider it a warning. Companies should listen to your needs and offer a bespoke scheme personal to you and your industry.
4. A Company Should Say What They Mean
Businesses should look for a market research company that see the process right through from start to finish.
One of the main benefits of market research is reducing risks with future endeavours, but this benefit disappears if the company identifies issues but doesn't suggest ways to help going forward.
If a business needs to estimate the best ways to promote future sales, it brings back this element of risk. A good market research company will not only identify problem areas, but also offer solutions, clearly and simply.
Market research suppliers in the UK
There are many different market research companies in the UK, and the choice can initially seem quite overwhelming.
You may find it beneficial to use the handy tips above to narrow down your options, or take a look at these well established companies to get you started:
1. B2B International
B2B International are a London based firm with offices throughout Europe, America and Asia, so they really have a wide view as to the changing economic climate around the world.
They also are able to see how consumer trends travel between continents, and this can really help businesses reach out to wider demographics.
Rather than being a niche agency, they are considered an all round market research company, with professionals specialising in everything from IT and telecommunications right through to transport and education.
The company utilise a range of research techniques including both telephone and face to face interviews as well as large volume focus groups for detailed product reviews.
2. Mavens of London
Mavens of London are somewhat different to other market research companies in the UK in that they focus entirely upon the ways businesses are portrayed in online communities.
Working with big name brands such as Celebrity Cruises and Surf Excel, this company provide content audit services for commercial websites, ensuring the quality and content is attracting the target demographic.
The agency also assist with re-branding exercises and monitors how these sorts of changes affect perception of the business internationally, having close links with the Americas, Asia, and Australia.
3. Redshift Research
Redshift Research are noteworthy as they offer both B2B and B2C services, providing the entire package. In terms of B2B research, this company stand out in that they have identified a gap in the market, for industrial research, and grasped the opportunity with both hands.
They are now one of the few companies in the UK with extensive knowledge and experience of the industrial field.
In terms of B2C research, Redshift use the well-known and highly regarded Crowdology platform which allows them to conduct their research in an efficient way, speeding up the process and keeping their clients ahead of the rest.
Existing clients include Boots and Nokia, as well as many other big UK brands.
Market research prices and rates
The term ‘how long is a piece of string' really applies to market research prices and rates, with businesses basically able to spend as little or as much as they wish.
Small and medium-sized businesses could be paying just a couple of hundred pounds for the service, while global corporations could be parting with millions.
Also, with good agencies offering bespoke services, there's not always a set in stone figure.
As a general rule:
- Expect online surveys to cost between £750 and £1000 depending on the number of participants
- 10 person focus groups typically cost between £500 and £700 for a 60 to 90 minute session
- Telephone interviews come in at around £35 each
- Face to face interviews at roughly £1500 for a day out in the field
Of course, you may find that these figures vary considerably between agencies, so it's always best to shop around and get a handful of quotes before making a commitment.
If you're unsure about the different services available from market research companies in the UK, or don't know what sort of service would best suit your company's individual requirements, simply complete the form at the top of this page.
We will help match you with a reputable agency who specialise in research in your business's particular industry.