Primary Research refers to actively “going to the field” and asking people what you need to know. It might be in person, over the phone, or online, but it means engaging someone to give you an answer. At Tenato, we offer several kinds of Primary Research:
- Customer Satisfaction Research
- Focus Groups
- Depth Interview Research
- Survey Development and Analysis
- Competitor Intelligence Research
- Reputation Monitoring
Customer Satisfaction Research
Depending on whether your customers are individuals or businesses, conducting customer satisfaction research can be handled through one of several kinds of surveying (or brand monitoring) techniques, or through an individualized approach. While most people are familiar with quantitative techniques to gather customer feedback (i.e. “on a scale of 1 to X, how would you rate…”), this methodology is not effective in all circumstances.
Especially in a business-to-business setting, research can be much more revealing through using techniques such as in-depth interviews by telephone, face-to-face meetings at the customers’ offices, or by taking key customers to lunch. For example, imagine your best client had suddenly stopped buying; would you want a researcher calling up that client and asking, “On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate….”? Or, would it be better to ask, “We see you haven’t purchased in a long while, and because we suspect something might have gone seriously wrong, we would really like to hear your story.”
A careful, individualized approach is important to reveal “WHY” your customers feel as they do, not just what rating they would give. In addition, your customers will often make very in-depth and constructive suggestions which can be used in the strategic development process.
At Tenato, we are exceptionally careful to build rapport with your customers through the feedback process, enabling us to uncover a deeper picture of their subtle motivations and feelings toward your organization. During the process, we work to uncover ways to improve your relationships with customers, and pre-qualify preliminary ideas that might resolve any dissatisfaction, asking questions such as, “Would a new account representative be helpful, if we could make that happen? Or, would extending our desk hours on Mondays make the difference?” Such questions, respectfully worded, can help break the ice with unhappy customers.
Prospective Customer and Feasibility Research
If you are seeking to determine whether a new target market would be open to your offerings, or if you have a new idea that needs to be tested before it receives substantial investment, Tenato can assist you with this important decision. Establishing certainty in such matters can sometimes be difficult, as it is painstaking work to determine the correct decision-maker, obtain his or her undivided attention, and then get detailed, honest feedback on your conceptual proposal.
That said, this is an area in which we excel. Because we thoroughly understand the strategic, marketing, and sales aspects, we know that until a prospective customer sees the product or service in relation to its price, and assesses the credibility of the company, it can be difficult to determine whether or not he or she will actually become a purchaser.
At Tenato, we work with you to create a strong, but preliminary presentation (verbal, written, or using media) of your offering – including a clear description, a price, and key benefits. We also assist you in determining the most likely prospective buyers. Once this is determined, we make individualized contact to find prospective buyers, explain the concept (by telephone/web-conference or in-person), and attain their specific feedback.
Because we can present your concept from a high-level researcher’s perspective (instead of your presenting your own concept through what may come across as a “sales call”) we can ask key questions in a different manner, and obtain the thoughtful consideration necessary to determine the hot buttons and objections related to your new offering.
Focus Group Research
Focus groups are research vehicles used to obtain qualitative feedback on an existing or proposed product, service, brand, price or creative message. They are generally considered “exploratory” (not conclusive) research; that is, they are a first step in determining what sort of other research is necessary such as determining questions to be asked in a quantitative survey.
While we would not typically recommend them for business-to-business research (as commercial customers rightly expect you to come to them to garner a free opinion), focus groups can sometimes be useful to assess business-to-consumer experiences. At Tenato, we enlist highly qualified moderators to minimize the tendency of focus groups to sway due to “group think,” and to get the most objective evaluations possible.
Depth Interviews with Other Resources
If customer contact cannot readily be made (and Customer Satisfaction interviews are not possible), Tenato can conduct depth interviews with other sources, such as key suppliers, industry associations or industry thought-leaders in order to determine your market positioning.
For example, a retail client of ours did not have a wide database of client contact information, but wanted to see how their product lines were unique from their direct competitors in other cities. We contacted the sales representatives from the various brands they purchased, and through depth interviews, discovered the characteristic purchasing patterns that made their offerings unique.
Survey Development and Analysis
There are many important variables in planning a comprehensive research project; the questions that need to be asked, the targets who need to be asked, the method of communication to reach the targets, and how to analyze the data.
In addition, budget and timeline are deciding factors regarding research options such as telephone surveys, online surveys, omnibus surveys (which allow you to “piggy-back” your questions onto an existing survey at a reduced cost), mail/e-mail surveys, and face-to-face (“intercept”) surveys.
At Tenato, we understand that market research is merely one part of your strategic planning process, and therefore we understand what kind of data is necessary in order to determine the strategic decisions that lie ahead. In other words, if you need only two pieces of basic information to make a decision, there is no reason to commission a 50-question survey.
At Tenato, we help you to define the appropriate budget, techniques, and the structure of any quantitative research you require. We also interface with research service bureaus (call centres, or field research teams) to ensure all research is fully executed. From there, we partake in careful analysis of all data gathered in order to interpret its findings in light of the strategic decision-making process.
Crowdsourcing Market Research
In addition, “Crowdsourcing” is another new way to test the opinions of hundreds or thousands of people at once. Although not randomly sampled, it can give you a quick, inexpensive way to test new names, logos or slogans, which can be a great verification of new strategy. It is basically the same thing as asking a few hundred people a simple questions like “Do you like this new logo?” and seeing how many give thumbs up or down. You can also choose which demographics you want.
Competitor Intelligence Research
At Tenato, we take a hands-on approach to competitive intelligence. If we can visit sites personally (as with a retail environment), we will. In most cases, though, we use online research to reveal what our clients cannot learn on their own.
You will be surprised to learn of the degree of online research that is publicly available to accurately profile any business or person with an online presence. What is unusual about Tenato is that we use information typically reserved simply to drive search rankings and employ it in a new way: to reveal competitor strategy – data such as search traffic, whom is linking to your competitors, what keywords are driving competitor traffic, and more. This helps us to effectively determine positioning within an industry and how to achieve it.
At Tenato, we further compare competitors on a comprehensive set of criteria, which tailored in relation to your industry. For example, if your organization were a rig servicing business, an important metric would be how many rig units you have versus your competitors’ fleets, and what the capabilities are of those rig units. In any business, there can be a half-dozen or more important comparison points related to the specific offering that are important to its customers.
We must note that we do not practice corporate espionage; the only competitor information gathered is that which is legitimately available within the public domain. Client confidentiality is of paramount importance.
Once you launch a brand, it is no longer what you say about yourself, it is what your customers are saying about you. Like footprints in the snow, comments made through social media are an ever-building bank of data that can shape your brand’s reputation and how it becomes positioned against competitors. Tenato uses ground-breaking new tools to gather these comments from a variety of social media and news sources, and sort them in order to assess their sentiment. Such comments can then be dealt with immediately, analyzed, and used for strategic decision making.