All About Market Research Consulting

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Innovative ideas are crafted every day but fail to capture the market as anticipated. It goes without saying that preliminary market research and understanding the intricacies of your intended market is the key to the success of your startup. The first step to successfully choosing a market research consultant is to determine if you require research or consulting, or both. Research consulting jobs come in many varieties, and searching for market research consulting services can be difficult because there is often confusion between research vs consulting, which leads to misaligned expectations and wasted funds. It can be a daunting task, as there are numerous considerations to selecting the right services and partners for you and your needs. How much research is required? What will the consultant provide? What are the deliverables? Research and consultant jobs differ, though there is typically some overlap.

 

As you know, research comes in many shapes and a variety of services, but data without meaning is worthless. This is where consulting comes in. To better understand the difference in services, let’s look at the two forms of data that you’ll need to pay attention to; quantitative and qualitative data.

 

Quantitative services are fairly straightforward and involve hard research that focuses on showcasing the numbers that are associated with the market. Great… Now what? Well, a qualitative research consultant will utilize this data in order to give meaning to the quantitative information, and develop an action-oriented approach to utilizing the data. Consulting jobs will typically offer advisement on research methodologies as well, in order to develop and market products. The purpose is to identify, measure, segment, and capture an audience by devising and recommending strategies that articulate a vision of growth. In addition to market research consultants, there are also academic research services, which is specifically utilizing an academic approach to conduct the research. However, oftentimes academic consulting requires a decent amount of funding and typically isn’t used for early-stage market validation. So in order to choose the right services, whether it be researching, consulting, or both - you need to determine your game-plan and resources in order to utilize and implement the researched data.

Research Consulting Firms

Research consulting firms typically provide a variety of services and approaches, which leads to an even larger variety in pricing. The abundance of selections makes it difficult to choose the right firm, and one bad experience can create an unwillingness to work with the right firm. For example, data collection services on their own are a whole category of market research services. Being attune to your desired outcome and how these services will help you reach that destination is key to selecting market research consulting companies for your benefit. So, while searching for the top research companies make sure you’re paying attention to their specialties and approach, such as looking directly for qualitative research companies.

 

If you think that professional services firms are overpriced, take too long, and do minimal work - fear not, you’re not alone! There are many people that feel this way. However, it’s most likely that there was one bad experience with misaligned expectations, or undetermined goals, that led to these blanket statements. The truth is, that a strategic approach to partnering with the right research consulting firm can help any business accelerate growth. Additionally, there are plenty of ranking websites out there that utilize reviews and available market data to provide users with a clear list of top firms. For example, check out this top market research companies 2020, and this top market research companies 2021 list by Clutch.co. Use these types of third-party verifications to help you select the right, trusted firm.

Market Research Services

Any business plan will require you to do a fair amount of market research and convey that you understand the industry in which you are entering and the direction in which you want to take your business. Back up your financial projections with data. A business plan should also include a clear business model as well as a marketing plan. If the market you intend to enter or have entered is saturated or relatively unprofitable, then investors will quickly dismiss any possibility of providing funding. Likewise, if you plan to penetrate an opportunistic market but fail to capture customer/user data, interest, or engagement, investors will easily sniff out the lack of preparedness and decline to fund at that junction. You need to present a robust understanding of your intended market and have some metrics or some way of demonstrating the size of the market. You’ll also need to know:

  • What is the market maturity?

  • What are the barriers and price of entry?

  • Who are the direct and indirect competitors?

 

So, for existing or long-standing markets, you’ll need to persuade investors on how your business differs from others and the added value you can offer that others cannot. For new or emerging markets, you’ll need to provide the supporting data that affirms the market growth, sustainability and driving factors. Typically, market research starts with understanding your target market in order to validate a new product, develop an existing product, or understand brand perception. However, market research service providers will each carry their own research services definition, which can further cause confusion and misalignment. There are some key variables that you should be looking for when searching for the best fit for your needs. These variables can be broken down into what research is required, and what outcome will the research provide? For example, do you need to understand your competitive landscape or your industry benchmarks? Or perhaps you need to validate your market with primary data that are collected from your target market? You may also be looking to understand your total addressable market, serviceable addressable market, and serviceable obtainable market - or TAM, SAM, and SOM. The concept here is that the services you require will be defined by the priorities of the business. There’s no point in conducting timely and costly research that will not grow your business, and because there is a misconception that market research services are all-encompassing, this has led to many seemingly failed research projects.

 

There are plenty of research frameworks out there that have been successfully implemented time and time again, and it’s important to select the right one. Keep in mind the purpose of market research is to better understand your target market and how to communicate with them. Here at Argona, we mix solid scientific techniques with innovative—and sometimes experimental—applications. We practice design thinking, rapid iteration and agile optimization.

Market Research Consultant Job Description

A market research consultant's job description is to develop strategies that will help identify target market users, opportunities, and conditions. A true market research consultant meaning is not just in their strategies, but in their ability to understand and utilize the data they’ve uncovered. One pain point that you may discover is that some consultants will not develop a plan for implementation. Strategies are great, but they’re meaningless if they can’t be utilized. That’s why Argona adds an ‘implementation plan’ into the job description. If you’re interested in a market research job description sample, you can find one here from Ziprecruiter, but to summarize the post states “Retail firms and service providers may hire a market research consultant to help them project how specific products or services will sell in a given market.”. Now, you may be asking yourself, “so then, what is a market research analyst?” Well, an analyst will help give meaning to the data and present the information in a way that can be easily consumed; whereas a consultant will provide the strategy and recommendations. According to onlinebusiness.umd.edu, a research analyst job description can be defined as follows: “Research analysts examine and validate the accuracy of the data to ensure that it produces meaningful information. Analyze data. Upon collecting the data, research analysts use mathematical, statistical and analytical models to find patterns that may reveal business opportunities.”. If you’re looking for a market research analyst salary, you’ll have to refer to some job boards for further insight.

Online Research Consultant

Due to the nature of the typical consulting market research, you can usually engage research consultants online. However, this doesn’t mean you should ignore the due diligence it requires to find a trustworthy partner that can deliver. Make sure to take the time to confirm that the services presented will deliver the desired outcomes that you’re paying for. That’s why here at Argona, before we engage on any project we develop a Scope Proposal before any agreement. That way, the scope of the project is always aligned, before even being presented an agreement.

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Want to Accelerate Business Growth?

Our passion is helping early-stage impact businesses gain financial clarity through growth strategy and fundraising readiness.

Built For The Long Haul

Mutual success is not just about achieving the goals set today. Argona Partners is committed to fostering long-term relationships and leveraging our dynamic partner ecosystem to help companies realize success in the long run.

Looking for FREE Resources?

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