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02/20/13

TOP 5 Reasons to Use a Research Consultant

If your company is looking to outsource its market research to a consultancy firm, but is unsure if that is the best way to go, let the following 5 benefits serve as guidance.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013, by Louis Sakoda, Harrison Hayes, LLC

1. Unbiased Perspective

With any business, large or small, one of the most difficult things to find when developing new ideas is finding an unbiased perspective. Oftentimes, the team in charge of finding new opportunities and developing new ideas is also made up of the very people making the decisions. You can see the problem here. We tend to fall in love with our own creativity and assume everyone shares the same perspective. Working at Harrison Hayes, a market research company, I can tell you right now that that is the furthest thing from the truth. A third-party market research consultant has no investment in an idea developed by the client. Their job is to provide thorough, accurate, and unprejudiced data that will help solve a problem.

2. Specialization

In essence, a market researcher is an expert at extracting data, and then mining that data to find where the most lucrative market opportunity for your company exists. When a pipe bursts at your home, more often than not you would call a plumber to come make the repairs because they specialize in solving the problem that you have. In theory, you could research how to fix the problem yourself, but that not only takes time, but can end up costing you just as much money and even more grief. Also, the probably of making an error somewhere along the line is exponentially higher than if you hired a specialist. Many companies attempt to conduct market research themselves and end up severely regretting it. They will spend a huge sum of money and they may not find anything useful in the data they collect.

3. Lack of Time

To expand upon a point made earlier, companies simply do not have the time to conduct their own research, mine the data, uncover the opportunities, and lay out a strategic plan. In very large organizations, they sometimes have their marketing department try and tackle this duty. However, going back to point #1, they will have a biased perspective as they conduct research to validate a concept that they created themselves. Ultimately, companies are busy doing whatever it is that they do best and that usually does not entail performing market research.

4. Vast Array of Market Knowledge

As a market researcher, one has the unique duty to learn about and explore many different companies operating in many different industries. Over time, this market research data piles up and becomes a very useful tool in the realm of innovation. For any client looking for new "whitespace" or "blue ocean" opportunities, a market research consultant can offer them access to unique knowledge and data that will greatly help them reach a solution to their problem.

5. Confidentiality

For most companies, this is a huge factor. When a company decides that they want to conduct market research, they are trying to find a competitive edge. What use would it be to do so if the insight that they uncover through their findings is readily available to their competitors? A typical introductory call between a client and a market research consultant consists of a lot of generic back and forth. The client does not want to give away any proprietary information if they choose to go a different direction. Once the agreements are made and the contracts are signed, any information exchanged throughout the partnership is completely confidential.

As you can see, there are some compelling reasons why a company should outsource its market and innovative research. Just to recap, research consultants will (1) provide you with an unbiased perspective; (2) they are experts at solving this particular problem; (3) you will not have to take time away from your everyday operations; (4) they have access to a vast amount of unique information; and (5) your partnership with them will be completely confidential.