Not all market research companies, or analysts, are created equal. Quality can vary significantly, affecting the market or industry report you purchase. How does one know how good a market research company is? Here are some basic questions and things to look for...
Where is the company headquartered?...This is important because you want analysts that understand the nuances of the U.S. market, for example. Do you really think that someone that grew up and lives in India will know the U.S. market as well as one based here? Check the Contact Us page on their website or call them and ask. Many firms based in India will have U.S. sales offices but their analysts and headquarters are in Mumbai or Pune.
How long has the company been in business?...This will tell you if they are a Johnny-come-lately to market research and how much experience their analysts have investigating various markets. Obviously, a company in business for 10, 20 or 30+ years has a long roster of clients and record of producing quality research. otherwise, they would not have survived so long.
What's the company's focus or specialty?...Does the company cover 20 different industries all over the map (a jack of all trades and master of none?). This may be a sign that they can't go "deep" in their analyses and give you the detail and granular data you need.
How do they derive their forecasts?....Do their analysts make forecasts of market growth based on a short period of historical sales (i.e. 3-5 years)?
What can they do for you?....Does the company use a variety of primary and secondary research methods (phone surveys, online surveys), and sources (trade associations, Census Bureau/government agencies, websites, annual reports, 10Ks, franchise disclosure docs, IRS filings, published articles, other consultants and specialists, etc.)?
Can the company perform custom research for you?...Is the company locked into a general database they are selling, or can they think outside the box? Will they prepare a FREE customized project proposal for you, with time & cost estimates, within a week or so?
Are they willing to give you several references?....This is probably the best source-- satisfied clients that have worked with the company already.
Is the company willing to work with you with flexible pricing?...Are the firm's fees easily understood and competitive? Do they offer discounts for "bundles" of reports? Are they willing to work within your budget?
The answers to these questions will let you know if you are wasting your time and money, and if you should look elsewhere.
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