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Nine Key Factors for Successfully Choosing a Field Research Agency

GidMarket, an expert in desk and field marketing research, reveals the secrets of effective interaction with field agencies. During the years of work at the GidMarket company, we had to deal with the issues of organizing consumer surveys from various sides. This includes the organization of a full cycle of field marketing research, and the recruitment of our own staff of interviewers, and interaction with partners organizing field research, and quality control of other companies as part of complex tasks.

Today I would like to talk about the main criteria for choosing a company to study consumer preferences. The success and degree of achievement of the set goals depend on these criteria:

  1. When choosing a contractor, be interested not in the clients that the company had, but in the results of completed projects: what did you learn during the research process, what conclusions did you draw, and what tasks were you able to solve?
  2. Remember that not only the experience of the company itself is important, but also the experience of the specialists directly supervising your project. Take the time to get to know not only the project manager, but also the analysts. Learn about the personal experience of a direct specialist. A professional will definitely ask counter questions, and offer various options for solving an ambiguous situation. Working with professionals will enable you to avoid mistakes associated with ignorance of the specifics of the organization of field marketing research.
  3. Having your own staff of interviewers. Naturally, the involvement of contractors creates an additional link, which acts as an undesirable filter for the set goals, accents, and increases the project time. At the same time, the partial transfer of tasks to partners may also have economic feasibility - attracting professional partners to work in remote regions helps to minimize transport and travel expenses, which is reflected in the final project estimate.
  4. Speaking of budget... Optimize your budget. This is almost always possible. To do this, do not require the total cost of the order, but a detailed estimate for each stage. Thus, you will be able to see where and due to what you can require optimization.
  5. In pursuit of budget optimization, do not overdo it! Too much focus on cost reduction can negatively affect the final quality. So that it does not turn out like in a fairy tale about seven hats from one sheepskin. Listen to the reasoning. Keep a balance. There are components that are not subject to optimization.
  6. Do not neglect any of the stages of marketing research. Check if all the stages are included in the timing provided to you by the performer. Do we hope you are not going to work without timing? 
    Recall that the polling scheme is as follows: 
    Setting goals and objectives - Development of tools - Development of the route - Compilation of the questionnaire - Testing the questionnaire - Briefing of the interviewers - Pilot survey - Field stage of the study - Control - Data entry - Processing and analysis - Preparation of the report - Presentation of the report - Implementation of the research results
  7. It is important that the marketing agency is involved not only at the stage of interaction with consumers, but also in the implementation of the study in a complex way - from setting goals to preparing a report and drawing conclusions. In the latter case, the marketing agency is more interested in the quality of the survey, the questionnaire is developed taking into account the maximum effectiveness of the survey, the completeness of obtaining information for the report, etc.
  8. An equally important factor is the completeness of the information provided. The competent agency will give a detailed answer, how the research sample is calculated, how many interviewers will be involved in each region, what method of respondent search is chosen and why.
  9. Find an opportunity to personally attend the briefing, communicate the objectives of the survey, and set priorities. If a marketing agency refuses to allow you to attend an employee briefing, it means that the contractor has something to hide. In addition, the customer may be present during the pilot survey.

In conclusion - unexpected advice for the customer. The more personal information you want from the respondent, the more difficult it is for the interviewer to get reliable information. If you ask what is your family's monthly income in rupees, there is a high chance that the interviewee will either refuse to answer or give a dishonest answer. Use indirect questions: what level of income do you consider average? Has your wealth increased over the past year, or vice versa, has it decreased? As a rule, such questions are enough to determine the price niche of the product, and a calm person is the key to a successful interview.

This will seem surprising, the result of field marketing research largely depends not only on the chosen agency, but also on the behavior of the customer: how realistic the tasks are set, how open the customer is to dialogue in the process of work, whether he is interested in dry statistics or additional comments from respondents received in during the course of the interview. 

Sometimes the customer is simply not ready for the changes that are dictated by the results obtained during the market analysis. But this is a completely different topic for discussion.