Web Research for Market and Business Intelligence: Paid vs. Free
September 29th, 2017 | Chirag Shivalker
Internet has been the greatest source of information, rather free information, for people to use. They can find answers to their needs on a wide plethora of topics, and all this even without moving away from the desk or making phone calls to dig out more on to it. However, with emergence in the gigantism of information source, fake news sites also have popped up simultaneously. This makes it all the more important to decide which all information should be pulled from the internet with DIY approach, and when is it that you need professional market research.
Accurate, up-to-date information about a company for a variety of business and competitive intelligence goals is something that no organization, business or a company can operate without, such as:
- Company’s financial health and key business segments
- Identifying and qualifying potential customers, affiliates, and suppliers
- Searching targets for making investments and acquisitions
- Capitalizing on weaknesses of the competitors
- Understanding client’s business better to increase sales
- Keeping a tab on corporate news including contract wins, restructuring and business expansion plans
- Accessing key employees to initiate business deals
When can you use free information available over internet?
Any information that one finds on the web for free is public. It is usually opinion-based or at the most customer facing information. Enlisted are the three categories which we strongly feel are only the safe ones to get or fetch information from the internet.
If you are trying to reach out to information as to how do combustion engines work, or you may be looking out for step by step description of how to collect a blood sample; internet is the right place for you to find out information on how these things work. However; you should be sane enough to protect yourself from misinformation by selecting a wide plethora of sources which makes sense; World Health Organization for blood sample instructions.
The pricing element also plays a crucial role here. Most of the providers of services/products are more inclined towards keeping their clients aware about the prices of their offerings. So if the prices are listed on the web, they are reliable and accurate. This also stands true for price comparison sites and leading eCommerce players like Amazon, EBay etc. As a person seeking information one needs to ensure that the pricing that you are referring to, is from current listing and also from a trusted and listed manufacturer or vendor.
The next important thing is the information about how a product or service is perceived by the world community. It is very far from factual issues and more inclined towards what people are saying. Web research is the best solution that you can opt for, if provided by experts, will help you in measuring positive and negative trends. However; this also would need due diligence is required.
When should you help of best market research experts?
Details to any segment which further requires due diligence of non-public information, or data points which are hard to determine or find, or information which search engines cannot gather; is better obtained with help of best market research solutions or market research reports by web research professional companies. Enlisted are some of the categories where expert market research professionals can help you bring important information in a quick-to-read downloadable PDF format.
1. Market trends: As against the general perceptions category, market trends are opinions about what is likely to happen in a market, backed with Why data facts. These analysis are peculiarly very subjective in matter, and hence it is required that the opinions are taken into account from credible sources. Doing this helps in getting an accurate overall picture of what is happening.
2. Market sizing: Analysis of data from the manufacturer or data from distributors/sellers is what is done in order to estimate the size of the market, for a product or a service. Disciplined methodology and information, which is not publicly available, are mandatory in both the cases. Knowhow about how information is gathered and how it is evaluated; makes verification of the credibility a convenience. But when such information is available on the web, it is often difficult to get the background information needed to contextualize or use that information and hence; web research experts are required to pitch in.
3. Market projections: As mentioned above, here as well clear methodology and private information is what is essential when it comes to market projections. Also the projections should be gleaned by experts in the industry, based on raw numbers studies by decision analysts. Just think; how often do you find accurate market projects online and that too with required background and credibility? This calls for paid market research by web research experts.
In all of the above, if your research has fewer viewpoints or may be if they come from sources which are not authenticate, there are more chances of your market outlook getting skewed. So no need to feel happy upon finding opinion pieces online. The challenge of getting enough reliable and verifiable observation will persist.
4. Customer feedback: If an organization or an enterprise thinks that merely collection of opinions is customer feedback then they are highly mistaken. The fact is that this activity, like others, requires careful investigation of clearly defined parameters which includes the comprehension of who is responding and how they are related to the product/service which is being evaluated. Surveys and polls, online, are no more a nuance. However; without knowing how the information was compiled and through which approach, it is really risky to rely on such statistics. Presidential election polling process without inclusion of data on traditional non-voters; exemplifies it.
Web research for market intelligence with accountability
Whether to take DIY approach or not? Web research expertise is required or not? All said and done, one of the most prominent reasons to go for professional web research for market intelligence is accountability. We need to understand revenue from advertising and various other factors is the bread and butter for web resources. And this has nothing to do with the information that they provide and hence are not at all accountable for the information that they are providing.
Whereas for web research and market intelligence solution providers; their revenue comes exclusively from the content that they provide and deliver, as specified by their clients. So if market intelligence provided by them is inaccurate or unreliable, they most probably will go out of business. It is this accountability, which compels these professionals to produce accurate and timely business or market intelligence reports; because if they do not, they will exist no more.