You are responsible for the product mix of a large retail chain and want to find out the most sought after perfumes and watches that you can stock. Further, you would also like a research conducted on your loyalty card holding customers about their brand preferences. Stuck over the next step? How to go about desk research is a question many managers are mulling over.
The political environment around you is constantly debating on the cost benefit analysis of outsourcing. And when it comes to desk research – you have a host of factors to consider. What is the nature of research? What are the costs of outsourced research vis-à-vis rewards for in-housing the research? Is the information critical to your business and is its security a key concern? What are the methods and tools that the researcher is going to use? Are the results going to be reliable?
As a manager, you need to consider the pro’s and con’s of various options available for desk research before you decide.
- Cost savings – Industry estimates assure a 40-60% reduction in your research costs if you opt for outsourcing. As a manager, you need to decide whether such a significant cost reduction matters or not.
- Vast sources of up to date secondary data available online – Today, researchers can easily access vast paid/unpaid resources of up-to-date information online. It would make much more sense to go through the findings of two similar brand preference surveys conducted for others, before you launch into a costly and time consuming primary research of your own.
- Reliability of data collected through online surveys – Say, when you want to survey your own Loyalty card holders, an online survey provides you prompt response and reliable data. Unlike other means of primary data collection – it is easy to trace the source of data in an online survey. Add to this, the ease and convenience felt by your customers in answering the survey at their own leisure and privacy – you are bound to get more accurate and reliable results. Further, it is easier to instill quality checks at each stage of the research – from data collection to collation to analysis.
- Real time data collection and analysis – The latest data collection and analysis tools available today, allow for almost real-time collection of data from sources like social networks, blogs, online forums, smartphones and so on. Even a simple poll on Facebook- administered on the right audience and in the right context can give you the answers and insights you are looking for. This allows for better decision-making and quicker changes in marketing strategy that tackle issues as they happen; and not six months down the line.
Important factors like process oriented research methodology, quick turnaround time, and reliability of results – need to be given due consideration before you decide how to go about your research. Further, as geographically spread out work teams become a reality today – it is far easier to convey your exact needs and get the expected results delivered to you in an outsourcing scenario, thus letting you take the advantage of reduced costs. What is important is that you should analyze the decision factors given your own business situation, specific requirements and eco-political environment; before taking the leap of faith.
– Research Optimus