Planning to hire a market research agency to help with a project? Before you do, be sure to create a list of questions you will use to assess potential agencies for fit and qualifications. Some questions are obvious: experience with similar projects, years in business, company size, and so on. But here are two important questions that are often overlooked:
1. Do you belong to any professional associations? The answer should start with, “Yes, we are members of…”, and should finish with some combination of:
If they haven’t even heard of these groups, run. Run far.
2. What risks are we likely to run into with our project? All market research studies have some level of risk. An honest, clear-thinking researcher will easily be able to tell you what risks he or she foresees, and how they plan to mitigate them. If you hear a response like, “There are no risks,” be skeptical. At minimum, most studies have risks in terms of sample quality, data collection timeframe, and the possibility of “bad news” from the research results. All are manageable, but they exist. And an experienced market researcher will be able to tell you how they can be mitigated.
There are hundreds of market research agencies out there. Choose wisely.
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