Navigating market research with a limited budget

Now, more than ever, a priority for all of us at CMR is helping our clients to maximise the benefits of their research spend and make cost-effective use of allocated budget. Here, we’d like to share some of the considerations we frequently discuss with our clients to help them to optimise their market research investment.

The choice of research methodology

Occasionally, our clients come to us with a structured brief and a clear vision of whether a quantitative or qualitative approach will fit their business objectives. This is really helpful for sparking dialogue and idea realisation. However, what we find even more exciting and fulfilling is being approached for our guidance and expertise so we can add greater value to the project design process.

In a perfect world with no economic constraints, a mixed methodology of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies would often be the ideal. However, when budgets are tight, choosing between qualitative and quantitative research becomes a crucial decision; with each having its merits, it is fundamental to understand their respective strengths and limitations when making a selection.

A quantitative approach allows us to reach a much larger, more diverse and robust sample. Furthermore, the data collected is more objective and less prone to research bias, providing a solid foundation for decision making. However, quantitative research can be cost-prohibitive, with the need for larger sample sizes putting a strain on a more limited budget.

On the other hand, qualitative research is often more budget friendly, requiring smaller sample sizes to gather rich, contextual insights. That said, a qualitative approach also has its drawbacks, with the findings often being statistically unrepresentative, making it more challenging to generalise results to a broader population.

Variations of qualitative approaches

If a qualitative route is selected, the typical ‘go to’ methodologies are focus groups and in-depth interviews, and more recently, for these to be conducted online or face-to-face. While one-to-one depth interviews have their many virtues, such as greater contextual understanding and increased nuanced insights, focus groups can prove more cost-effective. This is largely due to their efficient use of time and researcher resource, the group dynamic’s potential for richer discussions, and the ability to collect insights from multiple participants in a single session.

In the context of online vs face-to-face research, although face-to-face holds many benefits, online is most often the more cost-effective solution.

Take a look at our recent blog post which takes a more in-depth look at online vs face-to-face research. 

Market and sample decision-making

When budgets are constrained, determining the optimal market reach and sample size for a research study becomes a critical challenge. It may be the case that not all geographical regions are equally valuable. Or perhaps the sentiment and behaviours of the target audiences in one particular market, or a smaller cohort of markets, may be extrapolated to represent a much wider customer base.  If so, it may be possible to concentrate the market reach of a study and sample size effort on these particular geographical segments, therefore reducing the research costs while optimising the research findings and insights.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)

KOLs are established experts with in-depth experience and knowledge in their respective disciplines and offer a range of advantages to market research. Having already earned the trust and respect of their industry peers, their recommendations and insights can be invaluable. This makes them a highly credible source for market research, helping medical device manufacturers understand industry-specific trends and challenges, unmet needs for HCP and patient target audiences, while providing rich, actionable feedback on products, services and marketing communications. Over and above these benefits, targeted research with carefully selected KOLs can offer an alternative avenue to more conventional, large sample studies when financial resources are tight.

Phased approaches

When financial resources are squeezed, adopting a phased approach to market research can be a strategic and cost-effective solution. Breaking research into smaller, more manageable stages can help our clients control costs and avoid the financial strain of commissioning larger studies all at once.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, the decision between type of methodologies, market focuses, and sample make-ups should be driven by your specific research objectives, the characteristics of your target audience and your internal priorities and deadlines.

We, at CMR, are a team of research specialists, who pride ourselves in going above and beyond, in terms of flexibility and accommodation, for our clients. We are always on hand to help our clients match the project design to their commercial requirements, while striving to deliver the maximum value for their investments.

Author: Amy Berrera