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How to Outsource Research Projects

Companies are increasingly gathering research to make better and more data-driven decisions.

I’ve gathered some learnings from the projects they have done, so that hopefully you can best make use of their skills – or use in your own research project.

What is research, exactly?

(I’m not talking about the type performed at Universities. )

A client recently told me:

"A good researcher answers the question that was asked."

I think that summarizes what research fundamentally is: finding answers. In practice, it usually means to find new knowledge about something very specific.

The subset of research projects that is most easily outsourced, are the answers that can be found online – web research. When companies like investment banks, lawyers and consultancies send us research projects, they are often looking for data either to make or support a decision or advice. Others use research for the areas of their business that could benefit from additional information

Examples include:

  • Gather and analyze numbers, statements, facts on websites, reports, databases
  • Searching for and finding detailed personal and contact information across different websites
  • News, market, company, or industry research
  • Good researchers are experiences investigators

When I have asked our clients why they outsource research projects, answers include: not having the necessary expertise, shortage of manpower, cost saving and not having personal capacity to staff and manage research teams.

We’ve found that one of the best characteristics of researchers is intelligence and experience. Research is a skill in itself. To have experience in identifying sources, and then gathering, sorting and presenting data in a way that is useful, is a transferrable skill. Secondly, having someone with expertise in the specific field that is being researched is also helpful.

How to ask for what you want...

Since a good researcher answers the question that was asked. It follows that to succeed in outsourcing research, you must ask for what you want.

1. State your objectives clearly

“We need the price models of all TV-streaming services in the world to evaluate whether there is a need for a subscription product”

You want to make sure that the team performing the research project for you really understands the research objective, and perhaps also the significance of these aims for your business – what you need it for.

A well executed research projects requires on-the-ground decision making and intelligence on the part of the researcher. The best way to empower people to make those decisions in accordance with your aims, is that they know.

If for example the data is part of a legal due diligence,

2. Share your knowledge and opinion on methods if you have them

“I think a web search in local language, country by country would work”

Any knowledge you have about possible sources or methods that can be used to obtain the information will likely be time saving for the team and het you your research faster.

It is very different for gathering contact information from official, sourced sources and using web tools to gather them. Similarly it is different to gather secondary data from journal articles and web articles or published industry reports.

3. Show examples of your ideal format and presentation of results

“Send back in an excel showing name, URL, country, pricing model, pricing level. Add a presentation showing the distributions”

One of the most effective ways to avoid any misunderstandings in what you are looking for, and what kind of result you are expecting, is to give an example.

A common way to present is for example be a structured excel-document with specific columns marking the information you need on each observation, perhaps coupled with some simple visualizations of the headline data or findings.

4. Consider asking for a review after an initial phase

“Let’s have a call if you meet any complications in gathering this when you get started”

Often in research projects it is unclear to everyone beforehand how hard it will be to get the data. Usually shortly after the project has been initiated, the research team will know much more about which kinds of data are hard or most time-consuming to identify.

This might also be a good time to reconsider the research objective, and get a new cost estimate or timeline if necessary.

Use data to improve your bottom line. 

We experience a growing demand for research help from our customers. I think this is one of the ways companies are utilizing the growing access to data in order to get usable insights for specific business areas to increase their bottom line. 

As our tools are getting better and information can be accessed ever easier, the value of the human element, finding needles in the haystack, become larger. 

Related Articles

When you need a to toothpaste, what do you ask for? A Colgate or Pepsodent, right? This is known as brand awareness. They have become so well-known that they have replaced the common terms for similar products. For us, dog food is pedigree, for treating cold Vicks Vapour Rub, cold drinks mean Pepsi and so on.

Moreover, it also leads to satisfied customers. No business wants his or her customers to be unhappy with their brand. Some are unhappy for obvious reasons and some not. But solving them is a satisfying way is vital for every enterprise.

Let’s first read the five best pieces on how to build brand awareness:

Tip #1 Target Social Media Contest

Want your brand to reach millions? Don’t miss out on this trend. Social media is your one-stop hub to get organic followers. Run a social media contest and let the customers upload their pictures, videos and refer the same to their friends. Offering discounts, prizes can be the best call for a successful social media campaign.

Tip #2 Infographics

How to build brand awareness? Infographics are the key! These bright and colourful ways of displaying and marketing your brand have gained lots of importance so far. A powerhouse tool for brand building that reaches millions across the world.

Tip #3 Story Telling for Compelling Personality

A story that is compelling and not only emotional but inspirational too turns many heads. If you can create a story that connects deeply with your target audience, then they won’t forget your brand. Whenever they purchase your products or services, they can relate it to the story narrated through videos or any other way.

Tip #4 Interviewing Podcasts

This is the new emerging marketing trend that is undoubtedly going to reach great heights in 2020. Starting your industry podcasts where you interview industry experts can help build your relationship with customers and with others in your field.

Tip #5 Who Doesn’t Love Freebies?

Give freebies to your customers with your brand's name printed on them in events, fairs, etc. This is how people will always remember your brand whenever they use these products.

Following are the four surprising ways on how to deal with unhappy customers:

Tip #1 Listen before reacting

Never react without listening to your customers completely. Hear them out and let them know that you are paying attention to their complaints. When your customer stops, then summarise what they said and clarify their allegations.

Tip #2 Keep Calm

Never shout or answer back in foul language even if your customer is. Maintain yourself and keep calm. Never yell or shout and respond as wisely as possible. Ultimately it leads to building your brand awareness.

Tip #3 Apologise Sportingly

Convey your apology to customers gracefully. If you want them to stay, you need to express your concern towards their problem and actively sympathise for their unpleasant experience. A simple statement can help, like, “We are sorry for the inconvenience caused, let’s see what can be done to make it right.”

Tip #4 Solve their Issues Professionally

Ask suggestions from the customer as to what can be done to solve their problems. Give a realistic answer to their question and provide them with a higher degree of satisfaction.

Your Takeaway

Applying these trendiest tips on how to build brand awareness and how to deal with unhappy customers will lead to greater possibilities. Cope with these emerging techniques and easy ways to solve tense situations for best possible results.

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