How to Maximize Research Budget and Still Get Real-time Answers
Not everything is a massive research project. In-house brand insights teams often have new questions arise from past research or realized gaps in the research. Quick insights are often needed to clarify consumer opinions or validate recommendations given to the executive team. Fresh data for new questions, or a timely retesting of old questions on a smaller scale than the original research, can reverify and even underscore a position, giving teams confidence in decisions to be made for business impact. These smaller, ad-hoc projects need to get into the field quickly. A tailored approach and smart use of technology delivers high-quality insights even within a compressed timeframe or on a tight budget. These two fundamentals cannot be overlooked.
Preparing for any market research project should start with a review of the possible methodologies. Examining the research objective without methodical bias is imperative. If the work is to be outsourced, a more consultative and less transactional approach from the operational research partner can save time and money. Instead of relying on a methodology that may be less than perfect for the use case simply because it has been used in the past is not a tailored approach focused on yielding the best results. Expanding the possibilities for how the research could most effectively be completed is a key reason why in-house insights teams look to outsource projects to teams with broad experience. Working with a vendor who has access to experts in multiple methodologies can provide a more streamlined execution of a project which delivers actionable responses with less time and budget waste.
Use of Technology
Along with looking for a tailored approach to projects, brands can effectively maximize research dollars with innovative uses of technology. While research budgets can be stretched with technology, it is essential to keep the focus on the purpose of the technology in relation to the desired outcome of the project. Too often teams can be led by technology that promises faster responses. But experienced operational research experts know when to use technology to speed up the process without compromising the quality of the research. Any cookie cutter use of technology often results in missed opportunities for a more human experience and interaction. While getting important answers faster is crucial in a rapidly changing business world, agile research requires a balance of speed with quality that can be achieved with mindful use of technology.
Beyond customized research project design and smart use of technology, there are other considerations that help smart insights teams get more for their money and still get quality answers fast. Research partners who build relationships with your team and brand will have more opportunities over time to provide important critical thinking instead of order taking. In this way, sharing research objectives should spark a deeper conversation and ultimately offer better options, ideas for saving time, saving money, and getting to the desired outcome in a more streamlined process. Here are five smart topics to consider before you commit to your next research project.
Fast Answers at a Lower Cost
In the past year alone, the US experienced historically massive storms, political unrest, and racial violence at an unprecedented level, all while the world reeled from the pandemic. Connecting with consumers during life-disrupting events can be a challenge on a small, regional scale. On a massive scale, where brands are facing an interruption in supply chains, volatility in loyalty, and extraordinary shifts in consumer sentiment and behavior, getting a finger on the pulse of change can be the difference between brand survival or extinction. A great example of a successful pivot would be the quick implementation of smaller, more regional surveys and studies. While expansive trackers provide big-picture answers, they can not only take too long to be of use but also can be too cost-prohibitive. A great example of getting fast answers at a lower cost would be adjusting a project into directional research. Another example would be resampling only one or two key questions from a larger study. Being able to outsource strategy, survey design, and quick in-field implementation can get answers that are immediately useful for more in-the-moment brand planning without breaking the bank.
Directional research offers easier access to insights and can provide specific guidance for decision-makers by getting more granular on a particular business problem. Dividing research into smaller projects that can be run iteratively based on the results of the last study is a creative use of technology. Instead of month or year-long studies with large budgets, these sprints emphasize speed and efficiency by narrowing the focus of the research. Where you might have considered testing 7 package designs, offering 2-3 for consumer review may yield one specific preference. That preference, then, could be the study of the next quick sprint looking at two color variations of that chosen design. A study could continue in this vein by applying the consumer insights gleaned from the previous sprint to inform what is next until the desired outcome is achieved.
Employing omnibus surveys acts as another quick and cost-effective data collection technique for clients. These “gut checks” provide for a fast turnaround with high-quality data to retest an insight previously obtained, spot check a tracker, or simply test the waters on a general question. Before planning and commissioning the next big piece of research, a quick litmus test among a representative sample pool can yield higher confidence in the value and direction of an upcoming project.
Before spending a large portion of the research budget, a relevance check is a specific kind of gut check that can be implemented to ensure a project is still resonating with consumers. These quick studies typically yield one topline report within one to two days which is time well spent, ensuring the main topic of upcoming research is worth the allocated budget.
Quality of Outcome
While the world continues to move at a faster and faster pace, brands need solutions that match the speed of business. Consumer sentiment and behavior are constantly evolving and getting a true understanding of what is more relevant to your most important buyer is every market researcher’s goal. As the desire for speed and cost-saving technology increases, brands need partners who understand the importance of data quality and how to customize each project to bring the right technology to the right methodology. Finding a well-versed partner for outsourcing research is key in breaking through knowledge, budget, and time limits. Saving time is a key component to saving money, so streamlining the process from project concept to execution and final data analysis is key. Spend the right time vetting a research partner with a focus on a tailored approach. This consultative support is the most important foundation to getting what you need, when you need it, within the right scope, timeline, and budget without sacrificing quality insights.
With results-oriented researchers just like you in mind, we created this guide to help you design and field a successful study. So, what are you waiting for? Click below and let our team of experts guide you through the complete process. Deep Dive into Online Research