What’s the Difference Between Syndicated and Custom Market Research?
As discussed in previous blog posts, market research is an essential tool in the development of a sound business strategy. Many businesses use syndicated or “off-the-shelf” research as a starting point to gather general data for a variety of industries and gain broad insights into the marketplace.
A syndicated research provider focuses solely on specific types of data such as scan data, surveys or product launch analysis and provides bigger picture and long-term strategic insights. A firm can specialise in research for one industry or may cover multiple industries. Many companies use syndicated information as a cost-effective way to gain a broad view of their product or service environment.
Benefits to working with a syndicated market research provider include: overall market insights, market strategy and brand positioning. Beyond understanding the size of the population and spend in any given market, syndicated research provides context on macro-level trends.
For example, Euromonitor International’s Passport database provides syndicated research for 27 different industries in more than 80 countries globally. A soft drinks company could purchase a Passport subscription that covers all areas in which their business may overlap such as: soft drinks, hot drinks, retailing and consumer foodservice, to see how well their competitors are doing and gain insight on the latest trends within the 80 countries researched. This information may help them develop a viable for market entry strategy or to decide which type of new products to consider introducing into a new market. This data and analysis is very useful but because it is syndicated, it is provided to all other buyers of the Passport database, offering no opportunities for customisation or deeper insights.
So what if the information a business requires is so niche, so unique, that syndicated research does not fulfill strategic business needs? When syndicated research is incapable of providing the best insights, custom or bespoke research can be an alternative solution for businesses.
Custom research offers a tailored approach for researching niche topics. For example, a company wants to obtain information about snack bars, particularly Clif and KIND, beyond their traditional brand shares. The business also wants to look at product formulations and enhancements to see if it is possible to increase sales for the brands and the overall category. This type of information would call for a custom research project.
A benefit to working with a custom research firm is that a company can control the requirements for a project, ensuring that all results, data and analysis fit specific needs. A packaged food company can consult with a market research provider to design projects to explore the head room of an existing portfolio, or the white spaces in adjacent categories and the underlying growth drivers in a given market. This same company may also choose bespoke research to uncover greater detail about a given supply chain, key players or alternative distribution channels.
Another business might work with a research provider to create a scorecard for their frozen food products. A scorecard is a framework used to compile data such as brand and company presence, consumer and demographic infrastructure and market sizes and growth rates. In this case, the frozen food company wants to expand internationally, thus the custom research provider creates the scorecard to analyse the frozen food space within 30 key countries. Once the list of countries is narrowed down, the analysts can review data by product type and compile the numbers to provide a full list of the top countries best suited for the frozen food company’s expansion strategy.
Additional custom research projects can include: supporting IPO, segmentation analysis, market analysis, market entry and export market development, economic impact analysis, forecasting, competitive analysis, industry benchmarking, competitive landscape, merger and acquisition screening, partner search, trade dynamics, exports and advanced modelling and analytics data. They can focus on quantitative or qualitative data on a variety of industries or countries. The options for custom research are endless, as they are uniquely designed for the company who commissions them.
While many companies begin implementing business strategies using syndicated research, as their strategies advance, so do their methods by which they obtain information. Many large companies rely on a mix of both syndicated and custom research to address major hurdles within their overall strategy. When searching for a market research provider, look for one that can serve both syndicated and custom research needs.