Competition abounds. Particularly in New York City. So, how do you identify the top market research companies in NYC?
If you’re already in the field of market research, the process of identifying which companies are best and what their specialties are is easier than if you’re unfamiliar with the field. On the contrary, if you’re not an expert in market research and you’ve just reached the stage where you’ve identified that you have a need for market research, you’re likely going to be overwhelmed by choice. Case in point, there are reportedly over 329 market research companies in NYC which includes companies that provide either market research services, market research technology or both. As is the case for all things to do with NYC, there’s something for everyone. It all depends on what you need.
Assessing your needs
This is where it all begins. The first thing that your organization needs to do is to critically assess where you are experiencing struggles or have a gap in your knowledge. For example, you may be a startup who is has an early-stage product concept. That’s the perfect opportunity to collect some input from a market research company to help steer your product development team one way versus another. Collecting feedback is a powerful way to tap into why customers want this not that and doing so can help ensure that you are proceeding down the right path. In another example, you may be an established company who has a commercial history in the marketplace, but something has changed: you’re no longer the market leader, sales are slipping and you’re unsure why. Again, collaborating with a market research company can help you elucidate what’s really happening and collect the insights that you need to chart a new course.
Market research, like most fields, is complex and has multiple aspects to it. Additionally, each aspect has different nuances and leverages its own set of tools to address the questions that are relevant to your area of inquiry and the industry that you represent. Although this list below is not exhaustive, these are the major areas of market research that your project need will likely align with:
- Customer Personas / Market Segmentation: this aspect is commonly associated with new products or new companies who are trying to illuminate who their target market actually is, where and how they shop, how and where to connect with them and why that particular customer persona or “buyer type” is going to want and/or need your product.
- Product Testing: you have a product and/or a robust prototype that is essentially safe and ready to be put in the hands of consumers. Market research will involve evaluating how your product is different and better than what is offered by your competitors. The questions addressed are, at a 30,000-foot level, generally along the lines of “what do you like and why or why not?” This will yield market positioning insights and may potentially illuminate alternate uses for your product that you may have not previously considered.
- Advertising Testing: you have probably heard of A/B testing as it is ubiquitously used in digital media. Most often, a blast email or a banner ad with Statement A is run and the click rates and overall response is compared to the equivalent blast email or banner ad that is run with Statement B. However, this aspect of market research is much broader. It also encompasses the identification of which channels are best suited to reaching your target audience and determining where you will see your highest ROI (aka “bang for your buck”). The approach is generally done by sampling, investing a little at a time. The output is used to inform your go-to-market plan to ensure that your big advertising investment will be well spent.
- Brand Awareness: this may be the broadest aspect of market research. It can include everything ranging from surveying the market to see who, and which percentage, of consumers know your brand to doing a deep dive to assess why they love (or hate) your brand and what it represents to them. The outcome informs brand positioning, puts the spotlight on where and how you need to go to market, what (if any) damage control you need to pursue, how you need to improve or further bolster your image and reputation, and more.
- Pricing Analysis: maybe you want to compete on price. Or maybe you cannot. There may be sensitivity or great elasticity in the pricing tolerance within your target market. Perhaps you’ve shifted from an introductory pricing offer to build loyalty and revenues and now wish to better capitalize on the investment you’ve made in your product and company. How much is too much?
- Customer Loyalty: once you’ve established your brand and have a commercial history, you’ll be inclined to reward your loyal customers for their support. Doing so may require that you hire a market research company to establish who your loyal customers are, what is the depth of their loyalty, are they influencers who champion your brand, what do they expect as a reward for their loyalty and how can you give a little extra to motivate them into becoming full-on brand advocates. Conversely, there may be some customer dissatisfaction which is eroding your sales, and this is even more important to analyze.
Setting a budget
What sounds simple on the surface is often not simple at all. When we engage clients and ask them what budget they have allotted to address their inquiry and market research needs, we often see a range of responses. Some blink or stare blankly. Others expect you to deliver a quote and then they will ask their leadership for some of that money. However, very few come to meeting prepared with a number even though this would be the ideal situation. Why? Because it confirms that your leadership is committed to getting the questions answered and that means setting aside resources – people and budget – to ensure that you get answers.
No fixed budget established? Not to worry. At KL Communications we can work with you to tease out your needs and then provide high-low budget ranges based on our experience working with other clients like you and the needs that you have.
Making the choice
What qualities push a market research company to the top – especially in the competitive, concrete jungle that is NYC? Pride in data collection, dedicated staff, innovative methodologies and technologies all make each company unique. But how do you know who is doing this best? Who is at the top?
Fret not! Market research is such a critical aspect of doing business today that there is plenty of work to go ‘round and enough choice to ensure that you find the market research company in NYC that is best suited to meet your needs. Different market research companies currently at the top of the industry have each found their respective niche. For companies to hold their own among those at the top of the industry, each must find a specialty. Those with a strong distinction from their competitors and a unique approach that works will be and are recognized.
For example, Focus Room and Advanced Focus concentrate solely on qualitative research. Specifically, they offer testing facilities where they bring in consumers to interact with your product while they collect feedback on why consumers liked it. Provoke Insights specializes in advertising testing to determine where you should invest your marketing dollars. B2B International has been in business for 40 years and have thousands of clients to draw experience from multiple industries and can help you with your brand awareness and strategy. P&S Market Research digs deep into industry reports, analysis and trends to inform your product development and brand strategy. BuzzBack prides themselves on their image-heavy deliverables and video journaling to give you visual insights into how your customers use your product. Of course, we would be remiss if we did not tout our own strengths – KL Communications specializing in hand-in-hand connectedness with your consumers. We bring technology and experience together to tap into insights by leveraging your customers’ interest in co-creating the next “great thing” with you which builds in loyalty and engagement from the get-go.
Odds are, if you are looking for a reliable, strong company in the market research industry, you are seeking specific aid. So how do you identify the top market research company in NYC that’s right for you? By choosing to do market research, you’ve already put yourself on a path to success and there is a very high caliber of effort in NYC: there really is no “bad decision” here. Narrow down your findings with exactly what you are looking for – focus groups, image-driven data, or a co-creation community – and you will find companies with strong backing at the top.