Market insight is priceless. Much of the success of your business depends on knowing your customers and competitors and the industry in general. But how can you learn more about them in the first place? To gather specific data, many businesses choose to work with market research agencies. While a do-it-yourself approach is also feasible, it does not suit all companies and is not necessarily the more practical route. Yes, the out-of-pocket expenses are probably lower. But if the results fall short of expectations, a DIY study might be more costly, considering all the time and resources that go into it. Unless they have sufficient in-house tools and skills for collecting and analysing information, interpreting findings and accessing a quality sample source, businesses usually seek outside help.
Selecting the right market research agency is a complex task, but it is crucial to find the best fit for the best results. Many factors come into consideration and these often include price.
Price is one of the primary criteria, as hiring a market research agency happens to be a huge investment. But what are the different cost drivers that will come into play as you assess your agency choices? Read on to find out.
You can compare rates in the market research industry in two ways - based on the project itself or on the agency.
On a specific project basis, besides the fixed baseline costs, your total expenses will vary depending on the following:
- Sample size and composition
- Ease or difficulty of finding your target participants
- Data-gathering methodology
- Research tools. (For surveys, this includes length and complexity.)
- Kind of analysis and reporting
On an agency basis, you can expect firms to offer packages designed and priced specifically for small, midsize and large companies. And these packages usually cover different service offerings. This means a market research agency will charge much higher prices for comprehensive programmes that include a full range of services than for smaller projects that require only specific services.
Besides the scope of services, note that firms with quantitative and qualitative research capabilities are more likely to have a bigger team and more specialists, which result in higher overheads. And of course, larger agencies, particularly those in premier locations, tend to have higher fees.
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The UK’s market research industry generates an estimated £2.6 billion to £3 billion annually. Here’s a glimpse into some of the major companies in this sector and their approximate rates.
- Experian caters to 100,000 business-to-business clients and specialises in online consumer data. Its entry-level package, which mainly covers web habits, is priced at £8,000.
- Kantar Media provides media-specific intelligence. It charges £5,000 as a price guide.
- AC Nielsen counts Google and Facebook among its clients. The company’s fee for a single-month study (inclusive of raw data, presentation and commentary) is £5,500. A year-to-date trend report costs an additional £3,000.
- Datamonitor, a business information specialist, prepares extensive reports for £2,197.
- Synovate, which covers all kinds of research methods, prices entry-level packages at $15,000.
- Ipsos MORI does online surveys, focus groups and telephone interviews. Rates for an online survey begin at £1,000.
- Vision One Research carries out both quantitative and qualitative research. An online survey will cost £700 and an in-depth interview about £1,500 per day.
- IFF Research is a full-service market research firm. Prices for a survey range anywhere between £100 to £1,200, depending on the questions and response rate.
- The Futures Company has qualitative research packages that cost £700 or higher per day. Its chief research areas are health, business, the environment and technology.
Prices vary widely in the market research industry, with project scope and specifications and an agency’s service offerings, capability and size among the key differentiators. Depending on your budget, you are bound to find an agency that will help you meet your project goals and business needs.
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