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How to choose the right Market Research Company for you!

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As part of our commitment to assist businesses wherever and whenever we can, the topic of research has come up time and again. The question has often been asked, how do you choose the right market research company. So I went looking - and found somebody who really knows their oats. Andrea Rademeyer, CEO of Ask Afrika.

Andrea firmly believes that the context of market research has changed along with the technology driving it, customer demands and the competitive environment. However market research in South Africa has not moved with the times.

The South African market research (MR) industry is taking a hard look at its methodologies of late. This introspection is being lead by the new vanguard of thinkers who believe that selecting the right MR for your company should ensure that results reveal that research is no longer just about collecting data but about enabling decisions and implementing them.

Andrea explains, "In the past MR's were lead down the path of comfort-zone methodologies that sold research as a commodity to the end-user. The new wave encapsulates a clearer vision that involves a more holistic, integrated approach to doing research which facilitates action points for the company. Imperative to the initial process is outlining a clear set of goals that involves logical reasoning and a commitment from management."

Market Research with Action in mind
Andrea re-iterates the importance of choosing a research partner that designs its research with action in mind. Without this all you end up with is a whole lot of information you don't know what to do with. "Our approach ensures that once a problem is identified, the research methodology and design is formulated and the data collected is analysed. Once interpreted this is then presented to the company concerned and from these results an implementation plan is generated."

MR is about enabling progress, and to do this a skilled MR partner will start at the end in order to better understand the company's past decision- making history. They'll do this to enable them to fit the research design to the decision, while suiting each element to the different departments in the company. This will facilitate a supervision of the decision-maker's expectations during the research process.

It is important that a market researcher analyses the data in a holistic way, that combines formal statistics with informal market intelligence, while looking at market models and factoring in intuition and prior knowledge of your business. Andrea insists that: "Creating a symbiotic relationship with your MR partner will afford you the kind of results and ROI you desire from the time and money spent."

Choosing your partner
When choosing your market research partner make sure that your research consultant has both business and communication experience, is persuasive and alert to new approaches. They should forge power partnerships and easily align your research with product and brand teams. Seek out a researcher who is involved with you upfront, has cross-project knowledge and is able to integrate data across sources.

Andrea believes that a strong partnership will arise from selecting a MR that enables top-level buy-in to the decisions resulting from research. An energetic champion of your project who has the vision to think of future projects for your company is ideal. MR is attacking the old system with style and integrity that provides you with better value for your Rand and real solutions for your company's growth.

Andrea concludes that: "The challenge is for MRs of the future to be more transparent about their processes, this in turn will facilitate clarity in their response and will ensure that their data resonates with managers and senior decision-makers."


Winnifred Knight
Email: winn@themarketingsite.com
Web: http://www.theMarketingSite.com  

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