Grading Market Research Agency Websites

A few days ago, I posted a blog about market research agencies and their websites.

Do these websites matter? Aren’t they just electronic billboards?

I think they do matter.  A lot of people who buy and use market research visit agency websites. And frankly, they are more likely to visit an agency site than that of a professional association (such as the MRA or CASRO) or of a trade publication (such as Quirk’s or Research Magazine). So these agency websites are, intentionally or not, a key source of client education.

And at the risk of sounding preachy, I think all market research professionals have a responsibility to promote market research ethics, professional standards, and innovation. And one of the ways to do it is through our public faces.

The Method to My Madness

I selected 6 websites from the Honomichl list and applied my 4 criteria. To refresh, the criteria are:

  1. Educational content.
  2. Standards and ethics.
  3. Friendliness.
  4. Innovate thinking.

Grades of A-D were assigned based on specific criteria within each metric. As an example, an agency that has at least 20 educational white papers, videos or similar forms of content got an A on the Education metric. As another example, an agency that has no mentions of market research ethics or adherence to ethical standards got an F on that metric. And if I had to search for an item for an hour only to find it buried in press releases, that gets a D. Please note that in some cases I may have missed relevant content—but if I spent an hour seeking out content for a given metric and could not find any, it is for all purposes, a low grade.

So how did the agencies do? I selected the following agencies from the Honomichl list:

Burke

IPSOS

Maritz

Market Probe

Synovate

TNS

And to be clear, I am not looking to pick on anyone. I did this as an exercise to see how well agencies do on these metrics.  My key take-always:

  • Educational. Incredibly inconsistent, though a few shining stars.
  • Standards and ethics. As a group, agencies do this poorly. None had mentions of ethics or standards on their home page or other prominent pages on their web sites.  Professional association badges are hard to find, if evident at all.
  • Friendliness. Again, very inconsistent.
  • Promotes innovative thinking. Very inconsistent. A couple of agencies do a good job; a couple seem to neglect this angle altogether.

So How Did They Do?

The top 2 grades go to….drum roll….IPSOS and TNS.  Both have web sites that have the highest scores on the metrics applied. IPSOS has a bit more content that promoted market research innovation. But both sites do a great job on education and friendliness.

I welcome any feedback here, or by phone: 508.691.6004 ext 705. Thanks!

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