Market research is an essential business tool for any Executive. Whilst it is very important research is conducted, it is pointless investing in research unless it is carried out in a professional, intelligent manner under quality controlled procedures. To ensure you are getting the very best and most reliable research results it is essential that the research project is designed to make sure you are speaking to the right people; asking the right kinds of questions; using the best approach. A long and tedious questionnaire with questions that fail to gather intelligent insights can end up doing more harm to your brand than good.
The actual design of the research project and how it is carried out is just as important, if not more important, than the actual research results.
One of my first experiences of commissioning a quantitative research project in Qatar with a freelancer who had a long proven track record in conducting local fieldwork was not a pleasant experience to say the least. I was flabbergasted at the total lack of quality controlled fieldwork here. Having worked for research agencies in Australia for the past ten years where everything down to the finest detail is audited, quality tested and accredited I was quite shocked at how little quality control there is here in Qatar in terms of market research.
My first experience in commissioning research in Qatar resulted in interviews being conducted over the telephone rather than face to face. I know this doesn't sound all that shocking but when the interviewer was briefed to show the respondent a series of advertisements to test prompted advertising awareness, the result was disastrous. I only found out that we had been deceived when we conducted our own quality audit by contacting the respondents to ensure they actually participated in the research; to check that the surveys weren't just made up (which does happen here); and to confirm the responses were correctly recorded – we were very glad that we also asked the question 'was the interview conducted face to face'?
Needless to say we pulled the job, dumped the completed interviews in the bin and started again with a different approach – a more quality controlled approach which put us behind in time and budget, but at least we could rely on the survey results. Had we not done our quality checks, we would have evaluated the success of our client's advertising campaign on results that might as well have been made-up and not worth a cent of the money or time invested in the research.