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Where does a quality research begin?

The head of the ADS Agency provided an article to New Retail magazine on the topic: Why the budget and quality of recruiting respondents are interdependent things. The article describes how to correctly assess the complexity of selecting respondents for your research and allocate a budget for the selection.


Sooner or later in business, a moment arises when serious marketing research is needed to understand the strategy. What conclusions will be drawn, and how useful will they be, largely depends on the quality of the respondents participating in the survey. And, if you decide to conduct a study, it is better not to skimp on the selection of its participants ...

The costs of any company doing business are roughly as follows: business development and tax payments, wages and employee bonuses, and employee training. And companies that recruit respondents to participate in marketing research have to spend the lion's share of their profits on this laborious and rather costly process. Yes, without costs, a lot of additional difficulties arise as well.

Who can match the respondents?

To conduct a research, a customer company can always contact an organization that does not specialize in the selection of respondents, but, for example, is engaged in market research, and it will be able to select respondents. But whether these respondents will be selected according to recruitment criteria will remain a big question. Such a company, which does not specialize in recruiting, of course, will select respondents, but how high-quality they will be cannot be guaranteed.

The customer company can also turn to recruiters - freelancers, who, due to competition in their field, are forced to perform work, focusing on quantity rather than quality, since the recruiter's motivation is to implement as much workload as possible, and often the freelancer keeps order 5-7 projects at the same time.

Since the budget for selection is almost always below the average permissible value, it is not possible ending up recruiting at a high level and apply additional control methods. As a result, the customer receives data that is not only impossible to work with, but is often dangerous for the image and reputation of the company that orders the recruiting of respondents.

The case from our practice: the company has ordered the recruiting of experts for usability testing, where the target audience is business owners, co-founders and commercial directors. Initially, the respondents were not selected properly, and the service was tested by the wrong target audience, which was required for the study. After the research, the customer took their data for analysis and implementation of a future project. As a result, they received many complaints from potential customers, negative reviews on the network about his product and seriously damaged their reputation. In the future, this led to additional financial and time costs for correcting poor-quality work, since potential customers have already posted negative information on the network and thereby scared away future consumers from this product.

Savings risks

In order to objectively assess the budget for recruiting respondents, you need to compare 2 factors: how difficult it is to select the target audience for the study and the possibilities of your budget.

Try to ask yourself a question, standing in the place of the respondent: "Would I want to take part in the study for the amount that is budgeted?"

If you understand that the research requires respondents with an income of 100-120 thousand rubles, then pledging a remuneration of 1500 rubles will not be the right decision. It is more reasonable to pledge a reward or gift worth 4000-5000 rubles, which would be comparable to the income of these respondents and at least slightly motivate them to participate in this study.

It is also worth objectively assessing the difficulty of selecting your target audience, for example, respondents with an income of 120 thousand rubles or more are required who travel in business class to other countries at least three times a year. Imagine how easy this audience would be to make contact, whether they would be willing to take the time to participate in the research, and whether it would be easy to motivate them to do so.

After the analysis, it will be easier for you to assess the complexity of the selection. If you are offering a deliberately low price for selection, then you need to be prepared for possible reputational risks. And if there is no opportunity to allocate money for a high-quality selection, then it is better not to do it, since the consequences will be very difficult to correct.

Many start-up companies do not recruit experts for their own research of the company in the eyes of potential consumers in the first two years of their work in the market. It is enough to conduct a fairly well-known survey using the NPS method (determining the audience loyalty index, English Net Promoter Score), where the client answers one question, whether he is ready to recommend your company to colleagues and what is the probability of this from 0 to 10 points.

It is quite possible to work with this data and improve your activities. After you have a budget for recruiting experts (that is, you can interview potential customers), you invite them to usability testing and conduct a detailed in-depth interview with them, where you can fully identify whether potential customers perceive you correctly, whether they see your concept and how your company is perceived as a whole. This will be a high-budget study, and it is worth doing it when the company can already afford to allocate funds for it.

In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”

The most important part of the study is high-quality recruiting of respondents since even the most competently drawn up plan and an excellent concept will not justify itself if it is tested by incorrectly selected respondents, for the selection of whom a non-objective budget was deliberately allocated and at the output, instead of pure information, we will receive data, which is dangerous to work with for the further reputation of the company.

Finally, I would like to take into account the important differences between Russian mentality and the European one. The key difference in recruiting these respondents is the motivation of the survey participants and the amount of remuneration received. The fact is that the Europeans are easier to contact. For them, taking part in research means contributing to the development of the market and of an individual product. Our compatriots do not always understand why they should participate in the research, why should they spend their own time on this and receive a gift that is not valuable to them or a present that is incomparable with the time spent. And this point is important to consider.

Now, unlike 10 years ago, about 4 out of 10 respondents understand what marketing research is, but then the respondent wants to know why he needs it and why he should take part in it, what it will give him.

Metodieva Ilona

Laureate of the Guild of Marketers 2015-2016 in the category "Best Niche Project"

Head of the First Agency for Recruiting Respondents ADS

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