Hello, Caro here again! I said last week I'd do a blog post every Friday, and I have already failed, due to (ironically) the very subject of this blog entry! Now I've finished the current piece of work, without further ado, here is a post about trials and tribulations of the first part of the research process – the bits that come before winning a contract.
Those of you who don't know about market and social research, and the life of an agency worker, may not have considered where contracts come from, or how an agency gets them. Although some potential clients do call us directly, it's more usual for us to receive an invitation to pitch for a contract. Most contracts usually involve a written proposal, sometimes with an in-person pitch as the final stage. Written proposals are labours of love (mostly love anyway) where we get together, discuss how we would complete the contract in the best possible way for the client's particular research issue, with innovative techniques and brilliant value. We always think creatively about a problem - although our website describes some of the techniques and research methods we can use, each and every research issue results in a different, tailored solution. There are always challenges - some clients have a very constrained budget, while others have really tight timescales, or an emotive topic where we really need to think about how to get beyond peole's knee-jerk or surface responses, to the heart of the matter.
We typically spend a couple of days writing a proposal, then send it off and wait to hear whether or not we’ve been shortlisted to pitch, or have even won the contract outright. In the case of the latter, you’ll usually find us celebrating down the pub :-)