Selecting an online research agency for market research and analysis is a time-taking endeavor, unless you know how to do it right. The mantra that works best in this regard is a systematic and structured approach. The first step is to make sure that the exact specifications of the online research are sorted out. For example, say you require data collection for a new retail wing in your business. You will need information on the current market state, vis-a-vis the companies already operating in the field, their business models, figures for their sales and profits, and the current market trends, including customer preferences. Once you know all that needs to be researched, you begin your search by consulting anyone who has hired such an agency before. Also, perform an online search to determine the reputable online research agencies. The end result is a shortlist of every online research agency that seems capable of meeting your precise requirements.
The next step is to contact each of these agencies and asking them for a quote: both in terms of price and the time they would take to complete the task. A better, and hassle-free, way is to circulate a brief asking for online research services, complete with the general requirements, deadlines and expected price. Make sure that the brief reaches each online research agency on your shortlist. If your business is well-established, the chances are that responses will start flooding in soon. If not, contacting the agencies and reminding them of your opportunity is essential. Once you have a few offers, you can analyze each of them based on the past records, reviews, and the costs to be incurred. An important factor to keep an eye out for is the legal standing of each online research agency. In other words, only ever go for an agency that is licensed to operate in the state and the country.
At times, the online research task at hand might be too small in scope to merit hiring an entire agency, as the cost would be disproportionately high. Also, your business might not be cash-rich enough to afford an online research agency for the task. The solution is this case is going for freelancing market consultants and researchers who will perform the same task at a much lower price. Finding these individuals is the hard part. It always helps if people in your industry know of such people, and you are able to contact them for details, including the performance of the freelancers on past projects. If you don’t have such contacts, the Internet is your only friend. There are many online directories and forums that feature freelancing market consultants.
It is riskier selecting an individual instead of an online research agency for your task, but if the reviews are solid and the credentials are verified by dependable sources, you might end up saving a reasonable amount while receiving quality work. In most cases, however, it is advisable to focus more on the kind of services the person or agency is likely to provide you, and whether that will meet your research needs. Cost is secondary, and should only come into the picture if it enters the forbidding range.
Author : Gobinda Roy is the Founder of Ennovation Consulting and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 14 years. He is alumnus of Indian premier Institute IIT Kharagpur and has over 12 years of corporate experience. . He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing online and marketing research strategies for companies in the US , Australia , UK and across Europe. He is co-founder of Lakshay Foundation and mentor at India’s top Business School CIIE, IIM Ahmadabad .