Market Research Platform vs. Agency

Navigating the market research landscape: compare platforms and agencies for your research, best tools, and strategies for informed decisions.

Author

Godi Yeshaswi

Date

February 13, 2024

In this blog post, we aim to compare market research platform solutions with traditional market research agencies. We'll delve into the distinctions between these two options and guide you in selecting the most suitable one based on your research goals. 

Difference Between Agencies and Platforms for Market Research Studies

Significant variations exist between market research platforms and traditional market research agencies, each with advantages and disadvantages. Below, we'll highlight some key areas where these distinctions are evident.

Time

A significant distinction between research projects conducted through market research platforms and those facilitated by marketing research agencies lies in timing. Market research platforms often employ automation to expedite manual tasks such as survey programming, data cleaning, analysis, and reporting. Consequently, researchers are spared the need to manually handle tasks like revising documents, sorting through open-ended responses, creating charts from scratch, or compiling reports. This efficiency at each stage of the research process accelerates the overall project timeline. Many brands opt for platforms to obtain real-time insights in today's fast-paced market environment, where quick decisions are crucial.

For users considering market research agencies, it's essential to inquire about their automation capabilities and clarify timing expectations upfront. Traditional agencies frequently have specialized teams for each process above, each adhering to its set of timing expectations.

Budget

Similar to the earlier point regarding the dedicated teams within traditional agencies and their associated timelines, these teams also entail additional costs as they utilize specialized experts in each domain. Each team, whether for data programming, processing, collection, charting, etc., charges a separate fee, which is then aggregated into a total cost for clients engaging with the agency.

On the other hand, research platforms typically operate on a subscription or usage-based fee model. Clients pay a plan fee for accessing the software (whether full-service or DIY), and they cover panel sample costs each time they conduct a study. This straightforward approach to pricing simplifies budgeting for clients, as they know where their funds are allocated when they subscribe to a research platform. Additionally, because market research platforms involve fewer individual teams and resources than agencies, the overall budget tends to be significantly lower.

Customization

If you prefer a high degree of customization and flexibility in your research process, market research platforms may be your ideal choice. These platforms empower users to personalize their survey setup effortlessly, allowing for adding or removing questions, integrating brand colors and logos, and choosing various charting options. Moreover, users can quickly visualize data and present findings through interactive dashboards.

Unlike with traditional agencies, where communication with a team is necessary for making edits, changes on research platforms can be executed in a matter of seconds by the clients themselves. Additionally, these platforms facilitate the creation of tailored charts and dashboards to meet the specific needs of different teams. For instance, separate versions of a report can be swiftly generated to cater to the marketing team's interest in brand awareness data and the sales team's focus on quarterly sales figures.

Expertise

For conducting advanced studies, such as those involving complex methodologies or intricate logic, brands often rely on the expertise of research agencies. These agencies employ specialists with qualifications in statistics and behavioral science, possessing comprehensive knowledge of research methodologies.

In contrast, research platforms streamline intricate programming, automating processes and enabling users of varying research expertise to conduct advanced studies internally. With platform software, individuals don't necessarily need a background in statistics or an understanding of segmentation to uncover advanced insights. This accessibility to tools facilitates informed business decisions based on scientific data, even for those without a scientific background.

Collaboration

Traditional market research agencies may adhere to conventional practices, resulting in challenges like multiple file versions circulating among teams, leading to version control problems and miscommunication.

In contrast, platforms eliminate these challenges by facilitating direct collaboration among research teams. Through features like tagged comments, real-time questionnaire adjustments on a single version, and shared report links, multiple team members can simultaneously work within the platform. This collaborative environment accelerates the journey to obtaining final insights, enabling faster business decision-making.

When Should I Choose a Tool, and When Should I Choose an Agency?

The decision ultimately hinges on your specific needs and preferences.

Opt for a research platform if...

  • You require rapid quantitative and qualitative research insights and wish to monitor real-time data, increasing your turnaround time. 
  • Customization in survey programming, charting, and reporting is essential.
  • You seek to employ advanced methodologies even if you lack the necessary background or expertise.
  • You prefer to oversee your research process through a do-it-yourself or self-service approach.
  • Collaboration with a team of researchers while maintaining close involvement in the research process is essential.
  • You have budget constraints but still require comprehensive consumer intelligence metrics.

Choose a research agency if...

  • Time constraints are not a concern.
  • You have a substantial budget allocated for research purposes.
  • Access to data is only needed once the fieldwork is completed.
  • Traditional research methods are preferred, even if they result in longer timelines and standardized outputs.
  • You prefer to delegate the entire research process to a dedicated team (although many platforms also offer fully managed services).
  • You intend to conduct extensive focus groups or in-depth interviews.

Market Research Platforms and Agencies Worth Considering

Here are a few market research platforms and agencies worth considering:

Platforms

  • Decode: Decode is an Integrated Consumer Research Platform by Entropik. It's an all-in-one platform for Quantitative, Qualitative, Diaries, Media, and Shopper research, with a Global Panel of 80 million Respondents across 120 countries. Decode is powered by Entropik's Insights AI platform, which consists of our patented Emotion AI, Behavioural AI, and Generative AI. Decode acts as a Single Source of Truth, unifying data efficiently. Its Unified Intelligence and Co-pilot feature allows users to assimilate past and present data for actionable insights.
  • Qatalyst: Qatalyst is an Integrated User Research platform by Entropik. It facilitates moderated, unmoderated, and task-based research across Concepts, Prototypes, and Live Applications in one place. With a global panel of 80 million Respondents, Qatalyst provides instant access to the target audience. Qatalyst's Insights AI platform employs Facial Coding, Eye Tracking, Voice AI, and Generative AI for unbiased insights, ensuring a human-centric approach to product and service design. It's the go-to platform for supercharging user research—faster, more agile, and equipped with powerful AI-driven insights.
  • Qualtrics: Qualtrics offers market research software and experience management services. They provide solutions for employee engagement, voice of customers, and customer feedback surveys. Advanced methods such as NPS, pricing, concept testing, and market segmentation are available. Qualtrics offers fully managed services, but their pricing is higher than that of other platform alternatives.
  • Quantilope: Quantilope's consumer intelligence platform provides automated market research features. It facilitates quick survey creation through templates or drag-and-drop modules, offers real-time access to fielding progress, and automates charting and reporting. Quantilope offers both fully managed research projects and a do-it-yourself platform option.

Agencies

Below listed are a few of the best market research agencies

  • Nielsen: Nielsen is renowned for audience measurement across various media platforms, including TV, movies, sports, music, and podcasts. While Nielsen offers customized research solutions, they focus mainly on syndicated data access. Research teams typically use Nielsen to access their global panel data rather than running their studies.
  • Ipsos: Ipsos is a global market research agency specializing in consumer research, polling data, brand testing, market understanding, innovation studies, user experience testing, healthcare research, mystery shopping, and public affairs. Ipsos employs dedicated teams for different research tasks, and pricing for studies considers the costs and timing of these individual teams.
  • Kantar: Kantar is a data analytics and brand consultancy offering research services for advertising/media, audience measurement, consumer shopping, customer experience management, and innovation. They provide quantitative and qualitative research solutions, including DIY options and managed services. Kantar operates across various industries and utilizes behavioral science tools and eye-tracking measurement techniques.

Why is Decode the Best Consumer Research Tool?

Marketing research and product teams can capture the voice of the customer and leverage their emotional experiences to get actionable insights by using patented technologies such as Facial Coding, Eye Tracking, and Voice AI.

10+ Survey Templates to Simplify Research: Decode offers a selection of pre-designed survey templates that cover various research topics and methodologies. These templates provide a starting point for researchers, saving time and effort in creating surveys from scratch. Researchers can customize these templates to suit their research goals and gather insights more efficiently.

Conduct Live Conversations on the Platform: Users can conduct live conversations and interviews. Researchers can engage with participants in real-time, gather qualitative insights, and ask follow-up questions. With live conversation support, researchers can streamline collecting in-depth feedback and opinions.

Integration with Video Conferencing Tools: Decode has built-in integration with the most popular platforms like Zoom, Teams, WebEx, etc. This way, researchers do not have to step out of Decode to conduct qualitative studies. This integration eliminates the need to use disjointed tools.

Research Repository to Collate All Your Research Data: The research repository within Decode serves as a centralized hub to store and organize all research-related data, including surveys, interviews, reports, and findings. Researchers can also upload previous discussion recordings here as well. This ensures that researchers have easy access to their accumulated research data, making it simpler to review, analyze, and draw conclusions over time. 

Generative AI for Automated Transcripts, Highlights, & Summaries: Decode employs generative artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically transcribe audio and video interviews, generate highlights, and create summaries. This AI-powered feature accelerates converting qualitative data into structured insights, enabling researchers to focus on analysis rather than transcription.

Access Control at Team Level and User Level: Decode provides access control features that allow administrators to manage user permissions and access levels. This ensures that sensitive research data is only accessible to authorized team members, maintaining data security and compliance with privacy regulations.

Behavioural Analytics to Uncover Consumer Intent and Motivations: Decode incorporates behavioral analytics capabilities through its patented facial coding and eye-tracking technologies. It helps researchers delve deeper into consumer intent and motivations. Researchers can gain insights into participants' decision-making processes and preferences by analyzing participant behaviors within the platform, such as interactions with surveys and conversations.

80+ Million Online Panel for Targeting the Right Participants: Decode offers access to a substantial online panel comprising more than 80 million participants. This vast pool of potential respondents allows researchers to target individuals who match specific demographic criteria precisely, ensuring their research samples are representative and aligned with their study objectives.

{{cta-white}}

Why is Qatalyst the Best User Research Tool?

Mixed method research: Conduct moderated and unmoderated research in one study to understand user behavior and interactions with your product.

End-to-end research: Test your apps and websites from the prototype to the post-live phase for continuous product discovery and to ensure that mistakes and errors are caught and addressed before launch.

Panel recruitment and management: Access a panel of over 80 million respondents across 120 countries to get the ideal panel for your study. You can also add your own panel within Qatalyst to send studies to.  

Live website and app testing: Test your websites and apps in real-time to identify usability issues and gain deeper insights from real users without the need to embed any code.

Insights AI integration: Get behavior and emotional insights from our patented Facial Coding and Eye Tracking tech that can tell you what your users are looking at and the ‘why.’

Custom user dashboard: Tailor your dashboard to include metrics and insights most relevant to your research goals.

Custom research templates: Create your templates on Qatalyst for your studies and save them for use at any future time. This is in addition to the 25+ templates already part of the platform.  

Collaboration with stakeholders: Invite team members and stakeholders to collaborate on research projects in real-time. You can also share the study results with your team members with an easy-to-access link.

Highlights and tags: Create tags and highlights for your transcripts to highlight pivotal moments in the conversation and share them with your team. 

{{cta-trial}}

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the market research landscape offers various options, from innovative platforms to established agencies. Understanding the nuances between these choices and aligning them with your specific research objectives can pave the way for informed decision-making and business growth. Whether harnessing the power of automation for real-time insights or leveraging the expertise of seasoned professionals, the key lies in selecting the right approach to drive your organization forward in today's dynamic marketplace.
{{cta-button}}

Supercharge your research with actionable insights faster on Decode's integrated consumer research platform with Insights AI.
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
​​The Top Six Benefits of Using Decode for Consumer Research
Want to conduct lean and unbiased research? Try out Entropik's tech behavioral research platform today!
Build the Right Products, the Right Way: Elevate your UX with Qatalyst's integrated user research platform with Insights AI.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of using a market research agency?

The benefits for your business include: Market research experts are more likely to yield superior results. They possess expertise in crafting survey questionnaires, conducting focus groups, and posing relevant inquiries. Customers might find expressing honesty with an external party simpler, especially when voicing complaints.

What is a market research tool?

Market research tools include data analytics, social media monitoring, competitor intelligence, and predictive analytics. Numerous market research tools are accessible to businesses, with software-based options prevalent among them.

What is the difference between a platform and an agency?

1

Log into 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

2

Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

3

Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

4

Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

5

Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

6

Publish the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

An agency offers end-to-end functionality, from ensuring the choice of the right research methods to execution. A market research platform, on the other hand, is a new-age tool designed to conduct DIY research.

1

Log into 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

2

Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

3

Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

4

Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

5

Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

6

Publish the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

1

Log into 

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

2

Click on Study templates

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

3

Start from scratch

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

4

Add blocks to the content

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

5

Saving the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

6

Publish the Template

With lots of unique blocks, you can easily build a page without coding.

Author Bio

Yeshaswi is a dedicated and enthusiastic individual with a strong affinity for tech and all things content. When he's not at work, he channels his passion into his love for football, especially for F.C. Barcelona and the GOAT, Lionel Messi. Instead of hitting the town for parties, he prefers to spend quality time cuddling with his Golden Retriever, Oreo.

Godi Yeshaswi

Product Marketing Specialist

FAQs

What is a usability testing template?
Why use a usability testing template?
What should be included in a usability testing template?
Who typically uses a usability testing template?
Are there any tips for using a usability testing template?
How do I use a usability testing template?

Related Articles

Maximize Your Research Potential

Experience why teams worldwide trust our Consumer & User Research solutions.

Book a Demo

Thank You!

We will contact you soon.