December 7, 2016

One less tough decision: selecting the best research agency

Market Logic Team

Choosing between research agencies should be as easy as coffee or tea; restaurant or delivery; umbrella or sunglasses. In other words, a simple and quick process that requires minimal effort – no need to spend hours of comparing agencies, competencies, paperwork, and past work. But selecting, monitoring, and evaluating all your research agencies can be a challenge if you don’t have a consistent process and technology platform in place.

At Market Logic, our clients manage their supplier roster systematically so they can spend time on more important things, like proactively advising the business to guide consumer-centric decisions.

So, how does this work? Market Logic clients like Unilever, Coca Cola, and Heineken use technology to run high-quality research in a structured and standardized way, from the brief, through agency selection to fieldwork and results upload. The result is full transparency about the project throughout its duration so the team can check delivery times and budgets, plus everything you need to manage your roster of research agencies. That means when you start to work on a new U&A project in Japan, the machine proposes a list of research agencies that are certified to deliver U&A studies in the Japan market, with star rankings so you can see how your colleagues rated them in similar, past projects. Ranking dimensions vary from client to client but typically include variables like ‘quality and value’, ‘service level’, expertise’, and more. This means every research agency gets the inside scoop on agency performance so they can leverage their suppliers’ strengths and watch out for weaknesses.

It also makes prep work for your end-of-year reviews quick and easy. Several clients who used to run their evaluations and reviews in Excel have told me how long it took to compile the full picture once a year. For example, staff would be assigned to consolidate a list of agency competencies, and every member of the team would have to retrospectively complete an evaluation form, over a period of days. More often than not, team evaluations applied different criteria or opted for purely qualitative feedback, preventing comprehensive comparisons and benchmarking. Far better to use technology to streamline the task, so you can:

Now you can invest the time and energy you used to spend on selecting research agencies into those more challenging decisions, like developing a learning plan to build consumer understanding around emerging trends.

What’s your process for selecting research agencies? We’re interested in your feedback.