With more market research being conducted online than ever, many firms have begun to recruit respondents across the nation. Using local market research vendors offers several benefits compared to national vendors, depending on the specific needs and context of the research.
Knowledge of Hard to Reach Segments
While desk-research can be helpful in getting a general understanding of the area, there is no better source of information experts who study the geography. Local market researchers understand the nuances of the market being researched such as regional preferences and local culture. In Maryland, aspects such as income and political alignment vary drastically from the area to area. A respondent from Maryland’s Eastern Shore has very different perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes (POBAs) than a respondent from Baltimore City.
Knowledge of Local Events
Most market research is done near or in cities or large towns. Local market researchers can address any logistical issues that may be caused by other events occurring during your research. Something as little as a reminder for respondents to leave early to account for weather, traffic or avoidance of an area can ensure your study runs smoothly.
In addition to preventing logistical issues, local market research vendors can use events to market your study to respondents!
Ease of In-Person Attendance
Market research is conducted with individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. For example, not every respondent is able to drive themselves. And some respondents may be wheelchair bound or need other accommodations. Local market research vendors often establish themselves in a location that is heavily accessible via public travel and are fitted to accommodate respondents with disabilities.
Credibility & Trust with Locals
While focus groups are no strangers to market researchers, there is no shortage of people unaware of focus groups or interviews. Local market research vendors build a relationship with respondents and are widely known. This familiarity eases any hesitations and establishes legitimacy. Respondents feel more comfortable sharing information with local companies that are known by others in the area.
When working with a national firm, their processes are standardized to capture the most projects possible. While this has its advantages for some projects, it falls short when a project is more nuanced requiring expertise. With more projects using mixed methodologies, local market researchers are able to adapt their services to address the researcher’s specific needs.
Access to Local Networks
Local market researchers are able to leverage their relationships with local institutions or business professionals to capture the respondents that are especially difficult to reach. For example, Observation Baltimore has partnered with organizations such as the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, Johns Hopkins Hospital, even a local bar, to capture everything from adolescents, high-level Healthcare Professionals to different lifestyle respondents.
While there are clear advantages to using local market research vendors, it’s important to note that the choice between local and national vendors depends on the specific goals, scope, and nature of the research project. If you are planning to conduct research with respondents in Maryland, Observation Baltimore can ease the burden of participant recruitment and management!