When conducting market research to understand your target audience, as every business needs to do in order to be successful, there are two often overlooked factors which affect the usefulness of the results – administrative issues and audience bias.
This guide by leading UK market research company Crowdology will explore the ins and outs to help ensure that businesses get the answers they need.
The Administrative Factor
The devil is in the details as they say – admin issues can make or break a market research campaign. Bear the following in mind:
Setting Firm Budget Limitations
Some market research methods are more expensive than others – for example, it is much more costly to conduct face-to-face interviews than it is to send out online surveys. If you work with a respected market research company, they will be able to guide you in what will best suit your needs and budget, however this depends on you being clear about what your maximum budget is. Once this is defined, the professionals will help you get the vital consumer data you need, one way or another.
The Right Set-Up
Certain types of market research will require the added facilities that will need to be included in your budget. Examples include a modern telephone service with trained staff for phone interviews, a spacious room conducive to focus group discussion, or an email service for online surveys. When choosing a market research company, find out what resources they already have to hand as this could reduce your costs.
Depending on the type of market research method, different types of skilled personnel are needed. Online surveys are only as good as the questions which professionals know how to ask without causing offence or confusion, telephone surveys need people trained to encourage people to spend time giving answers and tend moderators to proof the work that is hastily typed down, while face-to-face interviewers are most successful with an experienced, skilled interviewer who can steer conversation in the right direction as well as gain valuable information from what people imply rather than just what they say.
Bear in mind that some market research takes a great deal longer to gather than others. For example, online surveys are increasingly popular because they have a high response rate and can reach thousands of people with a relatively cheap price tag, while on the other hand interviews take far longer to complete and more difficult to persuade people to take part in. Your chosen market research company will be able to advise you on how to get around pitfalls to achieve the data you need to drive your business forward..
The Consumer Bias Factor
Every person on the planet is naturally biased, based on the norms they have grown up with. This has a huge impact on market research results:
Best Foot Forward
Bear in mind that people will not want to take part in a survey or will not answer questions completely honestly if it puts them in a bad light. This natural obstacle needs to be factored in, although a skilled market research company will have ways and means to get around this problem i.e. by being cleverly diplomatic in how questions are asked and phrased.
Rooting It Out
Another potential issue that affects market research is the interviewers themselves – they might inadvertently introduce distortion by either misunderstanding what respondents are saying or by shying away from asking questions that make respondents feel uncomfortable. This is why it is important to choose a respected market research company that has a proven track record due to highly trained staff.
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
An additional factor that can skewer market research findings is that sometimes the wrong person agrees to answer the survey or take part in an interview. For example, if you need opinions from CFO’s but a more junior member of their team answers the survey, you will be missing out on the real insight that you’re aiming for.
Crowdology advises that when looking to start a market research campaign, it’s important that businesses keep the above factors in mind and make sure their provider is able to circumvent them.