As industries continue to evolve, the need to collect consumer feedback becomes inherently imperative. Market research, an essential element in every modern and well-established organization, is at the forefront of collecting, analyzing and interpreting said needed information to enhance management and marketing decision making.
Reineke Reitsma, an industry analyst with Forrester, is currently writing a report about vendor management best practices. In a recent blog post, she shared some key views on how to establish a successful client relationship between market research vendor and buyer.
It’s about intellectual ROI: You need to invest less time for each project. You build a lot of equity. You also get more of a team thing going – to me, this is very important. You work with these people on a daily basis, so finding the right vendor and contact is critical, as we see them as colleagues.
According to Reineke’s research, the majority of Forrester’s Market Research panelists (76%) feel they already have established partnerships with most vendors, and two-thirds state that price is less important than quality. While other surveys by Forrester show that even though the majority of market researchers had seen a decrease in their budgets in 2009, they conducted a similar number of projects due to negotiating lower prices from vendors – where lower prices can be the result of a partnership.
In a long-term commitment, you tend to pay less for each project.
From our experience as sample vendors, there have been times when price has been negotiated to fit a budget without fully understanding the specs, leading to an under-performing project. Not only does this hurt the vendor-client relationship, you’re now potentially losing money. To protect ourselves as a business and to avoid situations like this, our goal is to develop a close relationship with our clients. In a long-term commitment, trust is established and the knowledge that comes with working together on numerous projects and experiencing the capabilities on both sides enables both buyer and vendor to better understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
So what, Reineke asks, does a true partnership entail?
To us, the definition of a partnership is a business entity in which both vendor and buyer are open and aware of the objectives and understand each project’s specifications. Together both parties can develop a reasonable pricing and sampling plan and create surveys that provide actionable research results.
Maintaining a strong relationship between buyer and vendor is imperative, not only from a B2B perspective, but also for the sake of quality research. Through the partnerships we’ve developed along the way, our teams are able to work towards the same goals and objectives without sugar-coating incidence just to meet a specific price. Certainly, at times, we offer competitive pricing on specific projects. However, this is never the primary factor when determining a project’s success.
Over time, we have learned that a sustainable, competitive advantage does not necessarily come from the company who is cheaper, but from the company who is offering valid, timely and reliable information, which ultimately allows both partners to succeed.