When I start working with a new client one of the most common questions I’m asked is “How long will the project take” or “When can we have the presentation of results?”.
It’s always a difficult question to answer because there are so many things that can affect the length of time a project might take to complete.
Here are four factors which might contribute to a delay in your market research project –
Ever increasing input
This is one of the most frustrating problems. I will have worked with a client, or a team to define their objectives, put together the questionnaire document and set up fieldwork, and then suddenly there is a “oh I was chatting to Person X and they were really interested in what we are doing, so they’d like to have some input”.
Of course, it’s important that all the relevant people are involved in this project – but the more people involved then generally the longer it will take to get things signed off.
Until the survey is live it’s impossible to predict how fieldwork will progress.
Of course we can give our best estimates based on experience of other similar projects, but each project is unique and sometimes things don’t always go to plan.
eg a telephone project might be scheduled to run from 9am until 4pm daily but when interviewers begin calling it becomes apparent that all the telephone numbers are landlines and most people are out at work during these hours.
Or the reverse was true at the beginning of Covid pandemic, office numbers were often on voicemail, or being diverted to a central voicemail so it made telephone interviewing a much slower process.
Missing project deadlines
Fieldwork can be a juggling act.
If a project is scheduled to go live on a Monday, but some last minute changes arrive on Friday afternoon – it’s likely to miss its scheduled time on Monday.
Which means it pushes everything forward by one day, It might clash with a newsletter delivery, or Tuesday might be a bad day to email your audience.
So 1 day could turn into 2 days. If this happens at every stage of the process then it’s easy to see how what started as a “can you just …” has increased the project by 2+ days.
Once the data has been collected, then we can get into the analysis stage.
It sounds obvious but until we see the results we don’t know what we’ll need to dig into further.
The data could be full of interesting nuggets all of which need further investigation or the story could be simple and so time can be saved.
Sometimes the data will tell a VERY different story to the one we’d expected, and so we need to rethink the focus.
All of these tweaks and adjustment can add time to the end of a project.
So that’s four reasons why a market research project might take longer than anticipated.
I’d love to chat about how I can help with your next research project, please get in touch. www.acemr.co.uk/contact.