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Questions to Ask a Market Research Company

Working as a researcher on the road

To ensure you obtain high-quality actionable insights from a market research company or firm here are some key questions to ask potential research partners to ensure you are getting the best possible data and support.

Sample Quality and Sourcing

Where are you sourcing your survey respondents from?

What you are listening for is that the market research service uses multiple panel providers to remove incentive bias in their data collection process. If a market research company only incentivizes respondents with a free game download from one provider, as an example, it may attract a biased respondent and sample base. Low-budget research firms “bulk-buy” sample to keep costs low, resulting in low-quality respondents and unreliable data.

Describe your sampling/screening methodology.

You’re probing for lazy sampling practices here. With market research you want to make sure your survey design has both hard quotas and soft quotas. Make sure your market research provider uses both to guarantee a quality data set.

Hard Quotas: These are the screening questions used to weed out undesirable consumer insights. For example, screening for mattress purchasers and intenders within the previous or next two years.

Soft Quotas: These questions ensure the sample reflects your ideal customer insights beyond your hard quotas. For instance, setting a soft quota for 40% male respondents to ensure at least 60% of the sample is female. Many lower quality market research companies avoid this because it increases sample costs.

Quality Control

What quality control methods do you use in your research collection process?

No one wants data from someone who plows through a 20-minute survey in four minutes, answering every question as a “5” just to collect their incentive –these respondents are called “straight liners.” Ask probing questions to ensure your research platform has guardrails to prohibit this is imperative to ensure a quality data set is delivered.

How do you verify that participants are real people?

You want double or triple certification of geographic location in your survey design to ensure respondents are not taking your survey from outside your target area. Quality research providers should use IP addresses, zip codes, and counties of residence to triple verify your data sample comes from your desired customer geography too. Not all data is quality data.


What are the final deliverables we can expect to receive?

Look for more than just “data tables,” which are often incomprehensible without an experienced analytics background. If they offer a slide deck or “data tables” without customization, that’s a red flag. Without a dashboard, how will you dissect the data after the results are presented?

How will you handle cross-tabbing requests without a dashboard?

You’re probing to understand how they plan to service your data needs post-research delivery. Ensure they offer a clear, user-friendly way to interact with your data.

What level of experience do you have in my industry?

Ensure you have a single point of contact with at least ten years of experience to provide strategic recommendations with your research insights. Probe for their experience in producing strategic recommendations in your specific industry. Ask for references, testimonials, and case studies to confirm their expertise.

What support will be provided post-research delivery?

Make sure your chosen market research firm commits to a specific post research service plan or number of consulting hours. Many companies claim to offer consulting but are unclear on the framework or time commitment which is a red flag.

Industry Experience and Team

How large is your team and who will be our primary contact?

You’re probing for experience, credibility, and support. Ensure this isn’t outsourced to freelancers or that your selected firm doesn’t white-label other services. Confirm this commitment in your contract terms and conditions with your consumer research.

What clients in our space have you done research and consulting for recently?

Probe for references, institutional knowledge, and proof of success. Ensure they have relevant experience and a track record of success in your industry. Check their website for case studies and previous clients to validate their expertise.


Asking these questions will help you select a quality market research firm that provides actionable insights, strategic counsel, and robust support throughout your research journey.

By focusing on the quality of data collection, clear deliverables, and proven industry experience, you can ensure your market research project is in good hands.

A reliable market research company will not only provide accurate data but also support you in interpreting and utilizing this data to help you make informed business decisions that yield improved performance.

Contact us for more information!

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