The ROI of Market Research

Cristin Malone this week ponders the return on investment of market research

As prospective clients inquire about our capabilities to conduct market research on their behalf, one of the most frequent questions they ask is how successful our research contributions and action recommendations have been to our previous clients’ growth and business success. Essentially, they are trying to gauge the return or value that they will receive by investing in market research. As this happens quite frequently and as my intrigue on this matter continued to grow, I read an interesting article by Dawn Lesh and Diane Schmalensee entitled, “Measuring Returns On Research.” While the authors focused more on internal market research departments or groups, I found that their conclusions and suggestions are also applicable to a research supplier.

In my own experience with prospective clients, I found the authors’ following statement to be dead on:

We came to several conclusions. First, the organizations that are most likely to ask for measures of the payoff of MR [Market Research] are those that are unconvinced of its value.

I found this to be particularly true, as many of the clients that request examples of return are often those that are the most skeptical of market research and its value. In many cases, this skepticism is not undeserved as some prospective clients are conducting a research project for the first time or have conducted market research projects that have failed in the past, among other reasons. Despite what may cause this disbelief in market research, it is important to help clients understand its value. The two authors detail three approaches that can be utilized by market research providers to demonstrate and increase the return on investment to their clients, as summarized in the figure below. (Please click to enlarge)

Measure Returns On Research

To get further details on the approaches provided above, check out the article in full:

While the ROI (Return on Investment) of market research is important to measure, the return that clients receive from the market research rests on the quality of that research and the provider and how well the actions and recommendations derived from the research are implemented. What good is measuring ROI, if it is not maximized by quality? The value that the supplier can provide is of the most importance as that is what has the most impact on ROI. Therefore, if you are considering market research, think: how can the expertise, quality, and specialization of this supplier help me get the most return for my investment?

We pride ourselves on being able to provide quality data and service to our clients, consult our clients with actionable recommendations and findings, and help our clients implement these recommendations to reach their objectives and maximize ROI. One tool that we use to help our clients achieve the maximum return on investment is an implementation workshop, which rests on our proprietary, action-oriented MOSIAC model shown below:

For more information on B2B International and how it can help you maximize the return on your potential research investment, visit

You can also check out our white paper, Measuring & Maximizing The Return On Investment Of Market Research

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