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A market research example for professional services

Claire Dyson, senior market researcher, on effective market research for professional services firms

A market research example: cost efficient qualitative and quantitative research

By Claire Dyson, senior market researcher

We recently undertook a project for a dynamic start-up software company who has been very successful in its business so far and has grown quite rapidly.

To ensure the company continues to be successful moving forward, it was time to take stock, to make sure they had a clear picture of exactly how their main product was positioned in the market vs key competitors, and to confirm their unique attributes.  How should they best differentiate their product?  How should they be positioned relative to their competition?

Part of our remit was to do this in the most efficient manner possible – quickly and for a reasonable cost.

The market research approach

Stage 1: Phone interviews with key stakeholders (senior and middle management in client companies)

Phone interviews are a time efficient and pragmatic way to approach a business audience, and often work extremely well.  This target market are busy people but most are willing to set aside 20 minutes for a phone interview.

Phone is also less intrusive than face-to-face but rapport can still be built quickly.

Finally, it is a cost effective method, as it reduces travel time.

Stage 2: Online survey

Of course now a very common method of research and an extremely cost effective and time efficient one too.

With so many DIY tools available (such as Survey Monkey), they are also easy to administer.

Upgrading to a client branded survey and taking advantage of other additional features is often worthwhile.

An important aspect of online surveys is the ability to reach the right people and end up with a sample big enough for meaningful analysis.  In this instance, our client was able to supply sufficient numbers who would respond to the survey.

To improve response rates, we supplemented the survey with a letter beforehand encouraging participation, as well as a reminder during the survey period itself.

The design, composition, length and the way questions are written, will all influence response rates and the accuracy and reliability of your results.

If you are going to the trouble of developing a survey and asking your clients or prospects to participate, it is important that the survey is as easy as possible to complete.  And it is vital that you can rely on the results as being accurate in order to make good business decisions.

 

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