Role of Virtual assistant for market research:
A qualified virtual assistant could be a great resource for conducting online market research for identifying market potential of your new business venture. If you have a good business idea and you are looking for market research report to evaluate your product idea and related market , probably you would find many industry and market research reports online from reputed market research companies such as IBIS , Mintel or Euromonitor . Each report would cost you few hundreds to thousand dollars. Should you go this report? My answer is: you can go for it if you have fat budget for market research report. You can purchase the whole report or a part of it.
If you are start up and limited budget for market research and business plan development, I would rather suggest you to look for a qualified virtual assistant who has extensive market research experience.
Let us take few business scenarios where you can appoint Virtual assistant for market research:
You have developed a new Apps and planning to launch it after some brief market research .Or you plan to write an EBook. Now you like to know what could be demand trend for this topic, who would be your customers, are there any similar book available in your niche.
How to get these types of data?
For the above types of assignments, should you purchase a Mintel report or hire a Virtual assistant for market research?
A competent virtual assistant or a virtual assistant company can help you get the market research data at a fraction of cost. The reports from IBIS , Mintel are exhaustive and sourced from primary research data , but you would not get customized report answering specific business questions which you have thought/framed about your products , market or customer segments .
# Case example 1 :
Let’s take a case of very niche market - IT apps for Co-parenting space : ( It’s a real project , we changed the name and context )
An IT company in US is planning to launch a co-parenting app and they like to conduct a market research? As a CEO you are looking for Mintel or Eurimonitor report. Would you get comprehensive market research report from IBIS or others ? Answer is NO. Because this is niche market and big research firms may not be interested to invest million dollars to develop comprehensive report about this market .
But you like to know: who are your customers for this new App serving single parent? What are their expectations from such apps? What are the services offered by your competitions and at what price points?
How to get this report? My answer is : any small market research firms can help you to get this report and market intelligence. You can get many firms from US and those firms still charging thousand dollars for developing reports. What should be the alternative way? Answer is: You can appoint a competent Virtual assistant for market research as this would be very cost effective way to manage your budget. But you should not compromise quality at the cost of price. Then how to ensure you get best quality from a virtual research assistant for your investment. Lets us look at the following ways to can approach the situation and appoint a Virtual assistant for market research tasks:
What are qualities you can look at while selecting your Virtual assistant for market research?
1. Education qualification and professional experience of Virtual assistant: I prefer a Virtual assistant with MBA or master degree . If he/she has competent team members they can provide you quality report at a fraction of cost.
2. Look for past sample research reports: If the virtual assistant is experienced market researcher, then she/he should provide you some ready samples. This will help you evaluate their competence in market research.
3. Look for online reviews: As a client when you look for competent Virtual assistant for market research, you should check their online reviews if any . Many of these VAs are registered with popular online work platforms such as Elance , Odesk . You can ask them to share some feedbacks of similar projects.
Moreover, many professional virtual assistant market research companies perform free initial due diligence to check the scope of project and availability of data online before sharing their plan of work. This really helpful for you to judge their approach to work and how serious are they before taking your assignment.
A competent virtual assistant can perform various market research tasks .
Here I mention some of the tasks can be performed by VA:
1. Online market research: This includes competition research, industry research, product and pricing research mainly by using online data. Competent Virtual assistant can perform this task and provide you very valuable insights such as: customer segmentation: online trends; pricing trends; marketing strategies adopted by competitors etc.
2. Secondary market research: This covers literature review about products and industry. A competent VA can provide valuable insights about industry, demographics, regulations, major players of the industry. If you are an US based start up and looking for macro data , then a VA can develop a comprehensive report based on data from NAICS , SIC , and industry and association data .
3. Primary market research – using online survey, telephone survey, email Survey etc.
# Case example 2:
Office Suppliers Company from Sweden appointed Virtual assistant for market research and lead generation.
A Sweden based Office Supplier Company looking for global suppliers from lost cost countries. They contacted us to find out major suppliers and contact them for possible quotes and negotiation. We conducted a market survey to identify set of companies from China, India and Philippines using emailing campaign. We sent them questionnaire and evaluated their response and finally select them based on pricing and service terms. We developed the report thorough online research, lead generation, emailing and multiple negotiations techniques.
As the end of the task, clients saved time and money while outsourcing market research and lead generation tasks to virtual assistant companies.
4. Analysis of survey response: Suppose you get Survey response data from Survey Monkey , now you like develop insights from these responses . A Complete VA researcher can use these data in Excel or SPSS software to develop qualitative and quantitative analysis. This report will help you devise your market strategy .
# Case example 3 : An US based Beauty Care Products firm approached us with the Survey monkey data.
They have collected 150 response .
Product : Beauty Care Products for Multi-Ethnic group ( mainly Hair Care )
They asked 10 questions such as: Age , Ethnicity , where they shop for beauty product ( whether online or offline ) , what brand they prefer most and why etc .
Now we used these data in SPSS ( or you can use excel ) to develop valuable insight customers purchase behaviors , pricing trends etc .
So when you plan to hire a Virtual assistant for market research jobs and look for quantitative data, then best option to look for their competency in using highly sophisticated statistical packages. If you go to any medium size consulting firm, they may not look at your project or they take it as a small project and charge you premium for this . But, a competent Virtual assistant company with solid track record of market research can develop this type of report at much lower price.
Industries where you can use Virtual assistant for market research jobs :
Based on our project research experience, we have listed some of the industries which can use Virtual assistant for market research:
1. Online retailer start ups
2. Online coaching companies
3. Heath coaches
4. IT/Software companies looking for market intelligence
5. Real estate agencies
6. E-commerce industry
7. Small regional suppliers looking for global clients
8. Any small companies looking for global suppliers
9. Any small companies looking for customer survey data to understand customers’ expectation
10. Small start up looking for market research for developing business strategies
Now where do you get competent a Virtual assistant for market research:
1. Reputed online platforms: Such as Elance and Odesk (Looking for reputed Virtual assistant companies with proven track record. )
2. Many top Virtual assistant companies in India can provide you good quality report at much competitive rate ( but look at their samples and engagement model before hire then for projects )
3. I must say you can get many competent Virtual assistant companies /individuals for market research in US, but check their prices and work samples before engagement.
You have an excellent business idea and now you are looking for professional support for developing market insights about your product through market research. You have many options to try : first , you can purchase industry report from top market research firms ( costly proposition ) OR second , you can hire small business consultant from your country Or third , hire a competent virtual assistant for market research . We have found third option is best and cost effective if you are an start up or small business owners and have limited budget for market research . Even if you like to go for smart and education virtual assistant , you should check their team profiles , work samples and reviews before hiring them for your project .
Hope this will help you in selecting right person for your project . I welcome your suggestion if any .What options do you think perfect for your case ?
Let me know. Thank you!
Please read our other blog posts :
Gobinda Roy is the ex- co-Founder of Ennovation Consulting ( now on leave ) and has been involved in online research, Industry research and sales consulting for over 14 years. He is alumnus of India’s 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. You can Contact Gobinda at : Facebook , LinkedIn
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