5 Advantages of Working with an External Operations Partner

Three people working together

Market Research is a fascinating field. It attracts those who are intellectually curious and passionate about providing meaningful insights that have a major impact. However, the process for completing a market research project can be time consuming – programming a survey, implementing quality checks, coding open ends, the rigor involved in sample acquisition, managing partnerships, etc. There are only so many hours in a day.

Given the myriad number of moving parts required to deliver a successful, finished product to their clients, most researchers would most likely prefer to focus their energies on the higher end, more involved aspects of the research. Data analysis, creating more compelling reports, unearthing actionable insights, deeply understanding their clients’ business needs and problems, speaking with new clients/prospects, to wrap their brains around their research challenges, and relationship developing is far more interesting than handling all the details on the backend.

Clients work with specific researchers for specific reasons – industry knowledge, expertise in methodology, engaging reporting, finding actionable insights out of disparate/complex data. While one of the questions that we at ResponsivMR hear from clients often is, ‘how can they spend more time working on what really matters to their clients?’

The good news is, there is entire industry of experts who prefer working on the backend details. All the processes/steps involved throughout any data collection project requires expertise as well as time. However, it doesn’t have to be your expertise and your time. Working with an outsourced operations partner, like ResponsivMR, can help free up your time to do more of what makes you look good in front of your clients.

External Operations Partners (EOPs) like us work with small/mid-size agencies and corporate market researchers who typically handle their projects in-house. EOPs jump in when the research staff needs more prowess, particular skillsets, software acumen as well as access to the right tools for the job, or they just need more time to spend on other parts of their work. Adept EOP teams can handle all steps within the data collection process.

Advantages of working with an EOP:

1. Save the headache

Simply, your outsourced operations partner will work to make your life easier. They’ll handle all the details. A white-glove outsourced operations partner will free up your time to focus on other areas of your business that need attention. A quality EOP will work tirelessly to learn more about your business, your clients, your research, and your processes to ensure you’ll want to come back to them again for the next research project.

2. Quality sample

There is no way to look past the elephant in the room. That elephant is sampling. It is one of the major challenges facing researchers. ESOMAR and CASRO have brought together some of the best minds in the industry to attempt to fix the declining quality of sample with the rise in fraudulent respondents. Unfortunately, quality issues persist despite the best efforts.

Sample providers face a harsh reality with the advancement of bots as well as other technological threats to panel quality, duplication, lower incentives than years past, and a great reluctance on the part of potential respondents to take surveys makes finding representative/quality sample arduous. It’s a full-time job and it’s incumbent for an EOP, who does not maintain a proprietary panel of their own, to create close/transparent relationships with many sample providers to meet their clients’ diverse sampling needs. To monitor and maintain quality is an ongoing undertaking as the quality of each sample provider will fluctuate as they continue to tweak their recruitment methods. For this reason, it’s an advantage to many in the industry to work with EOPs that work daily with multiple partners rather than being tethered to one supplier. Additionally, quality EOPs are on top of the latest advanced fraud and quality checks and technical capabilities.

3. Specialized expertise

If the thought of programming that requires custom scripting (like complex/custom conjoints) causes you anxiety, an outsourced operations partner could be a great fit. These companies have experts with years of experience in these areas.

Additionally, having someone on staff with an expertise in advanced analytics is a luxury for many of our clients. Your outsourced operations partner can provide the latest high-end marketing science capabilities. This means they can allow you to bid on work that would’ve been simply out of your wheelhouse before. These firms can provide help with the design of the research all the way through back-end analysis.

4. The tools you need to succeed

Market research can require specialized software and tools. Rather than purchasing many disparate licenses (that will likely fulfill the needs of relatively few projects), outsourced operations partners have licenses and expertise in utilizing a myriad of these tools. This eliminates the need for teams to invest in multiple licenses or struggle with limited access to specialized tools. Additionally, if your team does have a license, an EOP can program on that license utilizing a DiT (do-it-together) model.

5. Time and cost savings

Overseeing the execution of market research projects consumes a significant amount of time. Factors like complexity as well as other variables can compound consuming a significant amount of your time. External operations companies handle these details, freeing up your time to deliver insights, create compelling reports, and serve your clients more effectively. Consider the opportunity cost of programming a survey, processing data, QAing, etc. and ask, “How can I better utilize my time to further my business?”

EOPs exist to handle the nitty gritty details while you focus on advancing what makes your company valuable/unique to your clients. At ResponsivMR, we have a diverse client base that has various needs. For some, we work as their programming arm or sample procurement/project management group. For others we handle every step outside of client relations.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, drop us a line below.

Connor Duffey
Vice President, Client Services