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The current rapid growth observed in the research industry has been mainly propelled by increased desire to better understand human behavior. Consumers, producers, organizations, agencies, and governments are the key stakeholders whose socioeconomic needs and desires have led to the development of the research firms. The major aspects that most research firms investigate include economic analysis, consumer behavior analysis, political analysis and research on epidemics. This paper seeks to present a comparative analysis of the research methods used in Simmons and Ipsos research firms.
Contrast of the Services and Tools used by the two firms
Simmons Research is an America-based research firm that deals with consumer and media behavior analysis. It measures American consumer preference, psychographics, and attitudes, the trends whose data have been of great help to leading brands, agencies and media companies. Simmons Research (2013) echoes that every year it uses at least 25000 consumers to conduct their research, a study that seeks to find out what the consumers eat, read, watch and listen to and which sports they enjoy among other hobbies. While conducting their survey, Simmons Research uses scientific processes to randomly select the desired number of the respondents, the majority of which participate in the surveys by mail.
Ipsos, a globally ranked research firm, has five research specializations namely Ipsos Marketing, Ipsos Loyalty, Ipsos Connect, Ipsos Observer and Ipsos Public Affairs. Ipsos marketing deals with matters that relate innovation, market understanding, and path purchase. Sampei and Aoyagi-Usui (2009) observe that Ipsos’ monthly surveys are meant to reveal data that define marketing strategy, identify new opportunities, and develop new brands, services, and products and to allocate their market expenditure. Ipsos connect was launched to boost the economic value of the media owners and advertisers through connecting media, people, and brands. Gordon (2013) observes that Ipsos loyalty, on the other hand, deals with research on consumer satisfaction and experience. He adds that these departments have shaped consumer trends in the market. Aside from these functions, Ipsos also investigates modeling and management of employees’ relationships.
Ipsos Public Affairs is another specialization and they conduct strategic research mainly on public opinion, corporate and media opinion that helps in building a reputation. The final specialization is Ipsos observer which is an umbrella and they specialize in survey management. They deal with general clients across all sectors. Ipsos mainly uses interview, conducted both online and face to face to draw information from its respondents (Sampei & Aoyagi-Usui, 2009). The firm considers variables like age, gender, religion, race/ethnicity and education while selecting the samples from the target population to be interviewed.
Advantages of using these Research Firms
Both Simmons research and Ipsos have played key roles in contributing to national economic performances. From Ipsos website, it is indicated that the research firm has contributed to at least $2.6 trillion to the United States GDP in 2015. This translated to over 20% of the country’s gross domestic product. This is the idea stressed by Vis, Van Kersbergen, and Hylands (2011) who say that Ipsos is a leading firm in investigating consumer trends and national financial information that ultimately reveals the GDP. It is further noted that the income has been increasing by 1.5% to 3% annually. Simmons Research, on the other hand, contributed to about 16% of the United States gross domestic product in 2013.
The two firms have played some key roles in the growth of other companies, especially those in the production industry through market understanding. According to Gay (2007), market understanding represents the foundation of nearly all market activities. The success of any given producing company squarely lies in its marketing strategies. Many companies spent huge sums of cash in conducting market research but have still not achieved anything close to their goals despite the financial commitments. Credited market research firms come in to help in mitigating the marketing related risks. They help their clients build good customer relation. Most producers and clients to these research firms have experienced an annual increase in the sales volume due to either increased market coverage or higher demand by the initial consumers.
Why a Company may conduct an in-house Research
Nevertheless, some companies prefer conducting self-research on the consumer behavior. Apart from saving some good money, there are other reasons that may drive a company into this. Privacy is one such factor as it is very vital in any competitive environment. Gordon ( 2013) echoes that companies use privacy protection to build consumer trust and loyalty. Using a market research firm to do a consumer-behavior analysis may require disclosure of highly sensitive information to the firm. According to Fuzi, Clifton, and Loudon (2014) mention that reservations to conduct in-house research are aimed at concealing trade secrets from leaking to the public. To avoid risks associated with disclosure of such information, a company may opt to use its in-house team to conduct a research. This, however, calls for well-trained marketing personnel.
How Research Tools can facilitate Internal Research in a Company
A company that uses primary data to conduct a market research performs better than those that rely on secondary information. Interviewing is one of the primary sources of information that may be relied on if a greater response rate is needed ( Fuzi, Clifton, & Loudon, 2014).When conducting a research that relates to consumer behavior, a one-on-one interview with the respondents should be given the first priority especially when the interviewees are less in number. Reaching a larger sample population through this means may, however, be a daunting challenge. A company may, therefore, adopt the online interview.
To conclude, it is certain that research firms are playing a very important role in understanding human behavior. Economically, their contribution to the GDPs can also not go unmentioned. Research is very important in business firms as it shapes the direction and determines the competitive environment. Every company that invests in research is sure to attain great heights in the business environment. It is, therefore, necessary for the governments and other different stakeholders to provide a conducive environment that may promote their growth.
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