For those who don’t work in market research, it isn’t uncommon to think that recruiting suitable participants is simply an administrative task. How hard could it be to develop a study discussion guide, find people who would be interested in getting paid for a legitimate study, then synthesize the results into a final report? We’re here to tell you it’s hard. It’s hard because finding the right people to participate in market research studies can be challenging and directly affects the quality of the research findings. Managing study participants takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to connect with qualified participants, you need to ensure that they hold up their end of the deal and show up, whether it’s for a focus group or in-depth interview.
Focus Insite has been called numerous times from companies that thought they could manage recruitment, only to learn that it is much harder than it seems. Recruiting isn’t an administrative task that can be easily managed as a ‘side project’, it’s the hub that connects the business commissioning the study; the study participants; and the qualitative research consultant.
Market Research Recruiting Firms
Each market study is unique and requires different types of participants. Some studies require insiders such as CEOs, other top-tiered managers or health professionals, while other studies require actual users of a particular product or service. Depending on the focus of the study, recruiters are constantly trying to connect with potential qualified candidates, all the while knowing that there are many reasons that the effort it takes to connect with these individuals may be for naught. Sometimes the researcher learns that the suggested participant doesn’t qualify for a number of possible reasons, other times there are schedule conflicts that arise and a participant who was all set to go, suddenly can’t make a scheduled focus group or in-depth interview.
A participant recruitment agency spends a great deal of time and energy building rapport with study participants. If participants don’t have a connection, even a casual one, the study can get derailed with high attrition rates. Connecting with participants starts at the moment of contact and continues throughout the study. Nationwide qualitative research firms outsource recruiting to market research recruitment agencies because they know that it takes a lot of hand-holding, people management, and follow-up to manage study participants.
There are a number of market research recruitment agencies and firms that exist because businesses know how important market research can be to the ‘bottom line.’ They hire such firms togain deeper insights into their target demographic, or before launching a new product or service.
The Qualitative Research Consultant
Once the researcher has the right number of qualified participants, the study can then proceed. There are a number of methodologies market researchers rely on when conducting a study. Some studies are better suited toward mobile ethnographies, while focus groups are better for others. Hiring a qualified and experienced market research firm ensures that the study design is appropriate for the study objective.