I had a conversation the other day with a colleague about a new research project he had been asked to quote for. The brief was no more than a couple of lines, it was a case of “arrggh we need help, but we aren’t really sure why, or how, or what, or ….. “
So what should you think about before you commission a research project?
1 – Why are you doing it?
What do you want to find out – and why? All too often companies do not define exactly what the objectives are. It doesn’t need to be a ten page document – but a clear indication of why the research is needed will give you clarity throughout the rest of the process.
–Is it for compliance or to work towards an accreditation?
–Do you want to measure progress over time?
–Are you testing a new concept?
–Is it a customer check in?
–Are you trying to find out more about a problem that already exists?
2 – When do you need the results?
It’s a good idea to work backwards from the date that you need to have results, so that you can factor in enough time for each stage of the process.
Research can happen quickly, but if you cut corners because of time constraints then the results are going to be affected.
And remember, questionnaires always take longer than you think to sign off, there is often a previously silent colleague who will make their views known at final draft stage.
3 – When are you going to start?
Does your audience have busy times of year? Are they affected by quarter ends? Or school holidays? Or seasonal events?
What about the time of day? When are your audience most likely to respond? Does day of the week make a difference?
Think about when your audience will be best placed to help you, and time your research around that.
4 – Where will you find your respondents?
Who do you need to speak to? How are you going to reach them? If they are customers, then you are likely to have their details already – are they GDPR compliant?
How will you make sure that you reach EVERYONE – the grumpiest and the happiest people will respond without much prompting, what about those who sit in the middle? What will you do to encourage them to reply?
If you don’t have contact details for your audience, will you buy a list? Can you partner with someone who has access to your audience?
5 – What is your budget?
Your budget will affect whether the project can happen in a week or will need to span a much longer time. It will also have an impact on which methodolgy to use – telephone and face to face are more labour intensive processes so costs will likely be higher than an online study.
Your budget will also determine whether your project is something that needs an “off the shelf service” or whether there is scope for something which is more tailored to your exact business needs.
It’s now more important than ever to keep asking, listening and understanding behaviour, perceptions and opinions. If you would like to have a chat about any of the points above then please get in touch – www.acemr.co.uk/contact