The idea that the market research industry is dying has been filling up LinkedIn groups, conference sessions and online discussion boards for a while now, due largely to the emergence of new technology and the concept of DIY research. Then a few weeks ago, Google announced its low-cost surveying tool… and the conversations accelerated once again.
The fact is, as technology advances, industries change… would you want to be in the newspaper business today? Own a bookstore? Produce vinyl records?
But the issue really isn’t technology…the issue is VALUE! And here’s the question… are you, as a research firm, providing real value to your clients or are you just facilitating the research process?
As a research firm, you are hired to use your research skills and experience to help your client solve a business problem. It’s not a research problem. Your clients don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the research itself or what methodologies are being used. Yeah, they’re interested and they worry about budgets… but what they really care about is how you can help them solve their business issue by uncovering insights and perspectives that they didn’t have or couldn’t prove previously and then making recommendations based on those findings.
Are you doing that? Are you genuinely helping your clients to do something they can’t do themselves and providing a level of experience and expertise that they don’t have on staff? If you are… and if you continue to deliver great work and exceed your clients’ expectations… and if you effectively market your firm… then you won’t just survive – you’ll thrive and have a significant competitive advantage over your competitors.