How to Choose the Construction Market Research That’s Right for You

Research is an important tool to manage risk by allowing informed decision making through a better understanding of your customers and markets. Typically, research is conducted when changes to the business such as a product launch, or a new communications strategy are planned. But it is wise to conduct ongoing research to monitor changes in the marketplace driven by factors such as legislation, innovation or economic change as well as your competitors’ activities.

When commissioning research you need to carefully consider your information needs. These might relate to a particular market and the opportunities it offers, the markets perception of your brand, customer satisfaction or a combination of these. Depending on these needs, timescales and your available budget you can then select the most appropriate research methodology. Often it will be a compromise between these factors. For example, face to face interviews will provide the greatest depth of information but have a high cost and will take longer to survey a representative sample. Telephone interviews can be a good alternative as they still provide the opportunity to probe the responses to specific questions and by applying a quota a representative sample can be selected.

Online surveys are a much more economic solution, but they do have very low response rates, lack the facility to probe responses and are more random in terms of respondents. However if looking for simple feedback from customers, for example, they can be effective.

Focus groups are a good way of creating a discussion where one opinion generates different perspectives as well as bringing out issues which may not have been anticipated. But these are expensive to organise and in this time-scare community it is challenging to get respondents to make time available to participate. An alternative is the online focus group, which does not have quite the flexibility of a face to face gathering, but does require less of a time commitment from participants as well as having the advantage of bringing people together who are located around the country.

Often companies consider using their own staff to conduct research. While this is a lower cost options it does have shortcomings. Most obvious is the danger of feedback being biasing if the respondent knows the interviewer and may not wish to offend by being critical. Staff can also influence responses by prompting to support their view of the situation. If they are having to conduct the research in addition to their ‘day job’ it may be that deadlines slip as the project is not seen as a priority.

Using an independent research organisation will prevent the problem of bias and ensure deadlines are met. They will also be able to recommend the best research method to use and suggest a representative quota.

In then comes down to selecting the best research organisation. Start by considering who you wish to survey. If they are consumers who will be selecting your products, then an organisation familiar with researching consumer markets is best. If construction professions are to be researched – Clients, Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors or Contractors – then a research organisation which knows these markets is best. Research companies, like Competitive Advantage, are very familiar with the construction sector which means:

  • They can recommend the job roles to interview and know how to source these contacts.
  • They will be familiar with the industry issues and drivers which will help in defining the approach and framing interview questions. Furthermore, when it comes to interpretation of findings they can put them into context.
  • Researchers are familiar with interviewing construction roles and understand the industry ‘language’ allowing them to have credibility and build rapport with respondents encouraging their feedback.
  • They have background knowledge from membership of industry groups and previous research which can contribute to report writing.

Market Research is a great tool to inform decision making, but to ensure value for money it needs to be well planned and implemented. Working with a research consultancy which understands your market will make the process easier and significantly improve the benefits you gain.

Contact us:

Competitive Advantage has been conducting construction market research since 2000. Our research team have construction industry experience, are familiar with the industry’s language and practices and understand the challenges you and your customers face.

We aim to provide high quality information at an economic cost.

View our Case Studies page to learn more about the work we have completed, or contact us to discuss your requirements.

Related articles:

Blog: Are You Asking the Right Questions in Your Construction Survey?

Blog: Getting Value from Construction Market Research

Download: Toolkit Datasheet – Using Market Research

Download: Little Book of Researching Construction Markets

Download: Research Brief Template