Resources & Guides

3 Identifiers of a Great Market Research Partner

Sarah Johnson

Looking to swipe right? When it comes to choosing the right partner for market research, the process can feel a lot like matchmaking. You start with the surface qualifications of any market research company to give you a reason for the “first date”:

Do they have experience in our category?
Are they going to put senior people on this project?
What is the quality of project deliverables?

But working together for mutual success means looking for something special. It's not just about finding a team with a proven track record in the market; it's about finding a partner whose values align with yours and who can help you make data-driven decisions to stay competitive and grow in your market – working harder or at least differently to find that special “je ne sais quoi”. 

Even when the match looks perfect on paper, the best result should deliver that little something more – not only a great experience but also surprising transformational benefits. We’ve given some thought about what unexpected things you should look for to identify a great market research partner. For that special something, we suggest considering their ability to add creativity to any conversation, a cross-industry perspective, and a deep understanding of human psychology and behaviour. Could these bring those tangible intangibles to your work? As you start the search, look for these markers. 

Identifier 1: Creativity

Great market research solutions partners don’t just talk to people and report what they say; they are also creative thinkers who can bring fresh perspectives to your research projects. Creativity in market research goes beyond the standard methods and frameworks; it's about finding innovative ways to gather and present insights.

For instance, a creative market research partner might use unconventional methods like improv or role-playing to bring consumer personas to life. They understand that insight isn't just about data; it's about making you say "aha!" By approaching things differently, they can help you uncover small but significant details that can transform your approach.

True creativity extends to how they present findings. Instead of the typical PowerPoint deck, they might use video snippets, re-enact customer experiences, or use other engaging formats to ensure that the insights are not just delivered but also embraced and acted upon within your organization.

Identifier 2: Cross-pollination

A great market research partner isn't limited to expertise within a single industry. They can bring valuable cross-industry perspectives to the table. By drawing insights from various sectors, they can help you think differently and innovatively about your own market.

Imagine working with a partner who not only understands your industry but also suggests ideas and strategies inspired by what software companies are doing, what's happening in the world of cooking, or even what trends are emerging in the anime community. This cross-pollination of ideas can lead to breakthroughs that wouldn't have been possible by solely focusing on your industry's status quo.

Identifier 3: Comprehension

Going beyond mere reporting, a great market research partner offers a deeper level of learning – true comprehension of how people think and act. They don't stop at data; they delve into human behaviour and consumer psychology to understand why people make certain decisions. When researchers consider hidden motivations and beliefs that may be at play, they offer contextual insights that consumers themselves may not be able to adequately express. 

Considering the role of cognition and culture allows them to “read between the lines” and anticipate consumer behavior, spot hidden buying challenges, and provide insights that lead to transformation. Whether it's deciphering cultural influences, analyzing rituals, or tapping into deep-seated beliefs, they recognize that the human experience is complex and ever-evolving. It is from these perspectives that market opportunities emerge. 

That understanding applies not just to the consumer but also to the organization. A great partner can sometimes uncover hidden organizational challenges that could even prevent great insights from being embraced and acted upon. When it comes to a truly transformational partnership, this depth of understanding comes from expertise combined with a commitment to being a catalyst for change. 

A great market research partner isn't just a data provider; they are agents of transformation. Ultimately, the point of research is to create change – change about how people think about your brand, the category, and more. They add creativity to your research process, bring cross-industry perspectives to your strategy, and possess a deep understanding of the cultural and psychological factors that drive human decisions. When you choose a partner with these qualities, you're not just getting insights; you're getting a catalyst for change. Your business will not only stay competitive but also find new avenues for growth in your market, thanks to the surprising and transformational benefits brought by a truly great research partner.