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You may think you know your industry inside-out, but while we have no doubt that you are an expert in your field, there is only one way to truly make sure you know what the current landscape in your business looks like — market research.
Market research is how your business moves from "We think," to "We know." It means taking a step back before you run with that new idea and studying whether it's something the public wants or whether it's already out there. Market research can help you avoid wasting time and money on an idea which simply doesn't have legs or, at the other end of the scale, give you the cold hard facts you need to move forward with confidence.
When it comes to business research, you have two options: You can either carry out the research yourself or employ the services of an independent research firm to do it for you. But how to decide?
When carrying out any business-related research, it is crucial that the study be objective. Without objectivity, market research simply cannot be relied upon.
It doesn't matter how scientifically-minded you believe you are; we are all susceptible to biases — especially when it comes to our own ideas. It's so very easy to get wrapped up in something you feel passionate about and ignore any evidence which contradicts the path you've already set yourself upon.
By employing the services of an independent research firm, you can be sure you're getting accurate and unbiased results. The firm you have on the books will have no skin in the game of your idea and will be able to give you honest and independent advice on the course of action you should take.
An independent research firm will come equipped with all the knowledge and experience they need to carry out effective and thorough studies in your industry.
Designing deep and objective studies is a skill that takes years of work in the field to master. There is so much more to it than simply designing a survey and emailing it out, with dependent, independent, and extraneous variables needing to be carefully considered alongside internal and external biases and many other factors.
Employing an independent agency will ensure the people conducting research on behalf of your brand are experts in the field of study and will develop the kind of work you need to thoroughly understand your market.
One of the most crucial tenets of any research is validity. For the uninitiated, in the context of research, validity refers to whether your results answer the question you set out to answer. For example, you may want to know how many people like cream cakes, but your research establishes sales figures for cream cakes.
While these two numbers may seem to be related, sales figures tell you little about how people feel about cream cakes, only that they're buying them. For example, one person might buy ten cakes because they know ten people who like them, or they might be all for themselves.
Independent research firms can elicit more honest answers from the public. People tend to be more honest when they are speaking to a third-party, rather than the people actually putting the idea forward. The same psychological principle is in play when you tell someone you like their new hairdo, but then criticize it to someone else — we generally don't like hurting peoples' feelings.
People will be more likely to engage with research if it's being carried out by an independent agency rather than the company itself.
When approached by a company, people will tend to assume they are about to be on the receiving end of a sales pitch. This can often lead to them keeping their heads down and delivering the all too familiar, "not interested, thanks." However, when research is carried out by an independent firm, there is no danger of it being a preamble to a selling attempt.
An independent market research firm will make sure that you get access to valid, reliable, and actionable insights that will help your brand propel itself forward with a deep and thorough understanding of your customers.
WBR Insights is the custom research division of Worldwide Business Research (WBR), the world leader in B2B-focused conferences. Contact us to learn more about our research-based whitepapers, webinars, digital summits and other thought-leadership opportunities for your brand.