August 2009

How Do You Find Your Ideal Partner?


Dear Reader

“Ambitious, growing business seeks research agency for long-term, productive relationship. Time wasters need not apply.”

OK, so we’ve never actually seen an ad like that. But we’ve met plenty of clients who could have written something very similar. In fact, a fair few of them have selected us as their long-term partner.

Selecting a research agency for a committed relationship has several parallels with searching for Mr or Ms Right. But the good news is you don’t have to trawl the Lonely Hearts pages to find them: instead, try our useful tips for finding a client/agency match made in heaven.

Happy reading!

Martin Holliss

t: +44 1235 812 456
m: +44 7931 376501

So how do you find the ideal research partner?

The pointers below will help you draw up a shortlist. And take a look at our Resources section too for a couple of links you may find helpful.

  1. Think long-term. Finding an agency to be a research partner for your business is different from selecting an agency for a one-off assignment. If you’re looking for a lasting relationship, you’ll need an agency with wide experience and a broad knowledge base.
  2. Check out their character. The list of qualities you’ll be looking for from the agencies on your short list might look something like this: open-minded; inquisitive; challenging; problem solving approach; strongly independent.
  3. Assess their expertise. Don’t reject an agency out of hand just because it doesn’t have specific expertise in your business sector. Overall mindset and breadth of research expertise are just as important – and perhaps more so.
  4. Find out who else they know. If specific industry expertise really is critical, ask your shortlisted agencies if they have the flexibility to co-opt director-level experts onto their project team. (See our Resources section for more about this.)
  5. Be prepared to be checked out yourself. It’s a good sign if an agency has some searching questions for you, too. After all, if you’re going to enter into a partnership they’ll need to understand the dynamics of your business in order to recommend actions that are feasible for you.
  6. Know what you want out of the relationship. You know you need a partnership (as opposed to a one-off ‘fling’) if you’re frustrated about having to explain yet again what your business does to yet another research agency. Or if you want your agency to build on what they know each time you commission a research project.
  7. Go for commitment. Consider the benefits to you of forming a partnership with a smaller agency – for example, having directors, rather than junior staff, working on your projects. Don’t forget that when you work with an agency as a partner, you are much more likely to enjoy the directors’ full commitment to your assignments.


Partnering a Broad Range of Industries

For obvious reasons we don’t like to publicise names of clients with whom we have strong strategic relationships.

But we’re happy to say that we have such client relationships in a wide range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, higher education, pharmaceutical/healthcare and technology.

Depending on the size of their business and their research needs, such a client may commission just two or three studies each year. At the other extreme, there is an almost constant flow of research.

Whether the amount of research is large or small, we’re told that our client service is impressive. Nothing is too much trouble. Really. Try us and see!


Small agencies often have big alliances. For example, Research Insight is a member of the Independent Consultants Group, which gives access to 350+ director-level research consultants with a very wide range of specialist expertise. Click here to find out more.

And if you’re looking for more information about what market research agencies are out there, you can search online using The Research Buyer’s Guide . All organisations listed conform to high professional standards and, as members of the Market Research Society, adhere to the MRS Code of Conduct.

What else does Research Insight offer?

Whether you are a new or a returning client, the work we do for you will always be tailored to your specific needs and the business challenge(s) you want to address.

If you’re wondering whether or not you have a need for market research, here are some of the areas in which research can help you.

customer surveys – do you know how satisfied your customers are with your product or service?

competitor research – how can you get ahead of your competition before they get ahead of you?

new product development – have you got all the angles covered before you launch your new product or service?

employee satisfaction – how can you get the very best out of the people who work for you?

communication material – is your marketing as memorable as it needs to be?

For an informal chat about any of the above, click here to drop us a line or call us on 01235 812456. We’re always happy to help!