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Why companies are taking their market research in-house

In today’s digital age where consumers are rapidly evolving, the need for more data is arising. As a result, many companies are bringing market research in-house from outsourced firms and it’s helping them get faster insights to serve their customers better. Companies want to own their own data and the algorithms to interpret that data, so they’re hiring in-house research teams. They’re also bringing marketing in-house, as 15 of the top 200 US advertisers took media buying in-house last year. By using digital research tools, companies can save on research costs and their work is more closely attached to strategic company priorities.

At the Qualtrics X4 Summit, Google’s Mario Callegaro showed how moving research in-house allows companies to stay closer to their own questions, better link proprietary operational data, and make faster decisions. By doing this, companies can refine all aspects of the buyer's experience.

Improved research speed

Retail giant Saks Fifth Avenue increased the data collection speed by 75% by bringing their research in-house and using Qualtrics. They were challenged because outsourcing their research took weeks to get results and they needed greater flexibility. By using Qualtrics, they were able to send real-time survey results to their customer service team, who could immediately address these concerns. They gathered data from VIP customers and developed a customer lifecycle program with different levels and special benefits. Saks Fifth Avenue also researched social media behavior and improved their communication with online customers.

“Using Qualtrics, we can create even complex surveys in a matter of hours that match our branding and that are engaging, not overwhelming, for respondents,” said Jessica Hartford, Customer Insights Analyst Saks Direct Marketing. “We get a more sophisticated feel, without extra set-up time.”

In-house teams have the flexibility and agility to modify research as they get deeper into the project. They can move at the pace of business needs and can gain insights quickly. Employees are up-to-date on the latest product developments because they’re getting company emails and are able to attend product meetings, making it quicker and easier to get internal buy-in.

In today’s world, big data is being replaced by fast data. Companies need fast insights to make quicker decisions to keep up with the competition. By creating your own research panel, you can have consumers who are willing and ready to take your surveys at any time. This will allow you to get data in days rather than weeks.

Cost savings

Home security company, Vivint saved an average of 100 hours per month by building and distributing surveys on its own using Qualtrics. The vendor they were using charged by survey invites, instead of responses, which left them little return for their money. By using Qualtrics, they were able to pay only for responses, saving them money. Their vendor also took six weeks to get all the surveys up and running, and they realized that time is money, and that acting on their insights faster meant they could improve the customer experience quicker.

While it might initially be cheaper to pay an agency to perform research for your company, it’s more cost-effective over time to invest your resources in someone who will stay with the company. Having an internal person will also give internal visibility to your research department, which could produce more funding for your research. Also, since your employee(s) will be exempt, it’s easier to control costs by having them on staff.

Alignment of strategic priorities

Ivy League school Dartmouth College had a one-person research team and her goal was to provide data that helps the alumni research team. She used Qualtrics to create an alumni research panel with 2,500 alumni and it was critical to the success of the department. She does targeted research by using the Qualtrics Panel Management tool and has access to engaged alumni for her surveys.

“Because of the branded panel we created using Target Audience, I can do more research and our surveys break through the clutter,” said Jean Romeo Director of Market Research, Dartmouth College. “Additionally, the rich respondent profiles help me target my surveys in a matter of minutes. I can send surveys to the right people and I don't worry about inundating alumni with too many feedback requests.”

When performing any type of research, it’s important to get all the internal stakeholders in alignment about goals and it’s easier to do that with an internal research team. You know about your organization's needs, internal politics, and brand, and this will save time by not having to teach an agency these organizational nuances. Internal employees have a depth of knowledge of their own brands and their competitors, and agencies will need to learn that. An internal team also knows more about the company vision, values, and goals than an agency will know.

In house-teams have easier access to product, engineering, customer support, and marketing teams, so they can easily customize research. For example, if your company is considering launching a new product feature, the in-house research team can easily work with the product team to develop a survey about product preferences. Having your own team gives you the luxury of constant assessment. You’ll naturally do more research because you have the resources constantly available to you for a set price.

If you want to bring your research in-house and get faster insights, contact Qualtrics today for a free demo.

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