Choosing best agency for International Market Research
Whether the company chooses to do all the research in-house or to use an agency will largely be determined by factors such as company resources, market expertise and product complexity.
If a company operates in a specialist industrial market with highly technological and complex products and has significant experience in the market, it may have no choice but to carry out research itself as it may be difficult to find an agency with the necessary competence.
However, if the company is operating in the consumer field then a different scenario applies. Consumer research may require an established field force and the size of the markets may mean that a research company with field work resources is needed. A priority could well be to obtain an independent objective assessment of a foreign country, which could require specialist interviewing skills which a company alone might not be able to resource and thus would require the services of an agency.
If the company is carrying out a multi-country study and needs a consistent research approach across all markets, then an international agency with resources across markets may be much more able to handle the research programme.
Research in Foreign Markets
Research in foreign markets, often, however, may require a local firm that can do the field work, gather data and provide some analysis and interpretation. The selection and use of a foreign firm may be extremely important to the success of the whole project.
In choosing an agency, a company has six basic options:
1. a local agency in the market under investigation
2. a domestic agency with overseas offices
3. a domestic agency with overseas associate companies
4. a domestic agency which subcontracts field work to an agency in the market under investigation
5. a domestic agency with competent foreign staff
6. a global agency with offices around the world
Whats the best option in choosing an agency?
Which solution is best for the researcher will depend on a number of factors; the case of briefing the agency, supervising and coordinating the project, the probability of language problems arising, the requirements of specialist market knowledge, the standard of competence required and the budget available.
Thus no single option is universally the best to select. It is primarily dependent on the budget available, the requirements of the research and the expertise within the company and, of course, the market under investigation. It may often be that in a multi-country study a combination of agencies are used.