The key factors to connecting brilliance in the market research industry

market research

In an industry that is clearly bursting at the seams with new opportunity, it comes as no surprise that 83 per cent of market research buyers state they want access to the latest solutions when commissioning new projects. Similarly, nearly two thirds (63 per cent) of research buyers indicate that they actively look to work with a variety of new suppliers, to capitalise on new skills and ideas.

Driving the industry forwards

Despite the size and scale of the market and the wealth of opportunity for buyers and suppliers of research, the industry has struggled to show growth in over 5 years and in need of a boost. However, before this boost can be administered, there are hurdles that need to be overcome; more than two thirds (68 per cent) of research buyers say they find it challenging to source new suppliers and almost three quarters (74 per cent) say they regard commissioning research as too time-consuming. On the flip side, suppliers of market research often find it difficult to showcase their brilliance in front of new clients as larger agencies often dominate the pitch process. So how can both buyers and suppliers connect in a more efficient way to drive the industry forwards?

New brief, new supplier

Firstly, buyers should be aware that the best solution to their brief won’t necessarily be provided by the biggest fish in the pond, or the one conveniently located down the road, and remember that the brightest minds might come from lesser-known suppliers. As in many industries, the largest and most well known supplier brands can be the default choice for buyers without vast industry knowledge, and the best partner might in fact be a small or medium sized company which has never been heard of. The research industry is full of incredibly talented and brilliant minds, who are motivated to work with clients with challenging briefs. Whilst a buyer’s current agency may in fact be the best provider, each brief presents new challenges and periodically stirring up the pot will enable buyers to gain a more thorough overview of the supplier market and gain access to those suppliers quicker, to ensure they partner with the best agency for each brief, regardless of their size or location, and as efficiently as possible.

Ultimately, buyers are commissioning a market research expert to advise them, so they should ensure that any new brief provides clear guidance on the objectives without being overly prescriptive. If a brief is too vague then it is difficult for prospective research partners to challenge it and make recommendations. Conversely, if the brief is overly rigid, suppliers are not given enough leeway to fully demonstrate their expertise and knowledge. Regardless of the size and scale of the research project, is it is essential that buyers include the key factors in their brief; background, target market, objectives, budget and expectations, so that only suppliers that are a good fit for the job will pitch for it.

Challenge the brief

Once the brief has been issued, it is up to the suppliers to demonstrate their expertise and determine if a potential client is open to having their brief challenged. A supplier that is able to effectively convey its knowledge of the industry and advise a buyer on the best solution will position itself as a true contender to winning the business. Additionally, offering a unique response to a brief will encourage buyers to select a supplier based on strategic vision rather than just cost, meaning all suppliers have the opportunity to elevate their proposed ideas and approaches on an even playing field.

Top tips

Writing a clear and compelling brief is absolutely key for research buyers who wish to engage a plethora of new and exciting suppliers. Buyers should ensure their brief contains a good level of detail, sets realistic timings and provides clear budget parameters. From a supplier’s perspective, they must be bold and unafraid to respond to a brief, have the confidence to challenge it, as well as pitch for briefs that might venture marginally outside of their comfort zone, so long as they are confident they can deliver. Equally, suppliers must be realistic on what they can deliver as over-selling capabilities will invariably backfire and leave them in a precarious position with buyers.

With both buyers and suppliers of market research being open, honest and constructively challenging, great relationships can be formed and brilliance connected, driving the research industry to even greater heights.

Richard Waring, CEO and co-founder,