Own business: marketing research agency

B2b business Advertising and information services

Like any other business that is directly related to the provision of services, the success of a marketing agency depends, first of all, on the professionalism, qualifications and experience of the specialists working there.

To date, competition in the segment of marketing companies is small. This is due to the fact that the demand for the services of independent marketers is limited for objective reasons: many entrepreneurs and even heads of large companies are confident that they can cope with the market assessment on their own and without outside help. In addition, companies that still use the services of contractors give preference to trusted agencies with a long history of existence on the market.

According to statistics, about 40% of the market for marketing research services belong to the ten largest Russian agencies. On the one hand, this is a plus. A new player in the market gets the opportunity to succeed if the quality of the services provided by him is very high. On the other hand, if you do not yet have your own customer base, it will not be easy to convince customers that you are trustworthy.

The volume of the Russian market for marketing research is estimated at approximately $ 300 million (it is impossible to give an exact figure). According to experts, these volumes will increase every year by at least 25-30%. In addition, as marketers themselves point out, increasingly medium-sized companies and even small firms turn to professional services, whose leaders understand the importance of marketing research for the successful start, management and development of their business.

Today in Russia there are over one and a half thousand companies that offer marketing research services. The income of twenty of them exceeds one million dollars a year. About 150 Russian agencies earn annually from $ 500 thousand to $ 1 million. The revenue of the rest is, on average, about $ 120-140 thousand per year for each.

According to the functionality in small cities, two main types of marketing agencies can be distinguished. The first includes companies that directly conduct research, develop investment plans, projects, give recommendations on launching a new product on the market or promoting an existing product. The list of services of such agencies, as a rule, includes quantitative research (surveys, questionnaires, public opinion polls, political studies, hall texts, telephone surveys, interviews of various groups of respondents), qualitative research (focus groups, in-depth interviews, testing products) and competitor analysis (identifying their strengths and weaknesses).

The second type of companies are engaged, for the most part, in advertising and promotional events. Despite the name, these are more likely pure advertising agencies. They also offer their clients marketing research services, but the demand for them is usually low.

It is better to be puzzled by customer searches in advance - before you register your company and rent an office. If you intend to work independently, start by advertising in local print media, advertisements for marketing research, ring companies and offer them your services. If your experience in marketing is not large enough, it is best to work first as a freelancer and / or employee of the marketing department of a large company. This will allow you, on the one hand, to acquire the necessary work skills, and on the other hand, to compile a portfolio of completed projects. After that, you can start organizing your own marketing agency.

If you yourself are a specialist and intend, at least for the first time, to work on your own, then your main expenses will be the costs of registering an IP or LLC, renting an office space, buying furniture and office equipment, as well as advertising. Consider these items of expenditure in more detail.

It is advisable that your office is located in the city center or nearby. In this case, it will be easier for your customers to get to you. In addition, even the mere sign of your agency on the facade can attract the attention of potential customers. Ideally, your agency should be located in a large business center. In addition, your office should have at least two separate rooms: a reception room and an office.

In addition to rental costs (from 25 thousand rubles, depending on the city, area, condition of the room, its location and other factors), when drawing up a business plan, lay down the repair costs right away. An office is the face of your agency. And if he does not inspire confidence, then you are unlikely to be able to count on success. You will also need furniture (desks, cabinets, paper shelves, cabinets for appliances, chairs, a sofa, etc.) and the necessary equipment (computers, printers, faxes, telephones, a projector, a flipchart, supplies, stationery, etc.). All this will take at least 200-250 thousand rubles.

If you have sufficient starting capital, it is better to hire professionals from the very beginning - sociologists, marketers, analysts with extensive experience. When selecting staff, make sure that all these specialists are familiar with Western standards for research (for example, many Russian marketers work in accordance with the International Code of Marketing Research). After all, most of the clients of marketing agencies in large cities are foreign companies. Yes, and many domestic enterprises began to make high demands on the work of marketers in outsourcing.

Young companies that provide services in the field of marketing and promotion, are willing to hire even university graduates who do not have experience in this field. As a rule, recent students serve as assistants to experienced specialists, they are given the simplest and most monotonous job: conducting surveys, calculations, checking data, etc.

In this business segment, there is potential for development for both large companies and small agencies. The most noticeable difference between them is only in the number of employees and, as a result, in the number of orders over which they can work simultaneously. At the same time, reputation comes first. Regardless of how many people work in your agency, where it is located and how long it has been on the market, good reviews about your work and good faith in it can become your main competitive advantages.

Thus, the best way to attract new customers is recommendations from trusted sources: from business partners, friends, colleagues who have already successfully worked with you. However, you should not count on this, since the scope of such research services is still not sufficiently developed in our country and it will be quite difficult to obtain such recommendations (and it is almost impossible for young companies). As statistics show, most companies that want to use the services of marketing agencies look for information about them on the Internet. Therefore, you can not do without your own site. Its creation and promotion will cost at least 50 thousand rubles, depending on the functionality, region and requests for which it is being promoted. In addition, potential customers pay attention to reviews on professional forums, on social networks and on specialized sites where marketers, advertisers, PR managers, etc. communicate.

Do not neglect the opportunities offered by traditional advertising. Information in thematic directories, advertisements in business newspapers and magazines, direct mailing to directors and heads of marketing and advertising departments of local companies are the usual, but no less effective ways of finding customers.

Your portfolio speaks for itself. Typically, customers choose the agency that has rich research experience in their field of activity, especially when it comes to the banking, industrial or construction sector. In this case, the contractor is already familiar with the specifics of the industry, has all the necessary data, which allows him to complete the work quickly and efficiently. Therefore, small agencies offering marketing research often choose their own narrow specialization, which allows them to successfully compete with large players.

The cost of marketing research depends on many factors. For example, in Moscow, a survey of 1000 respondents on a questionnaire within half an hour will cost from 500 to 1000 rubles. In the regions, the price range will be slightly lower. Pricing, which is used in the field of professional services, as a rule, includes three main factors: the cost of working time of specialists employed in the project, the cost of materials and resources that were used during the study, and the amount of remuneration for respondents.

The minimum starting capital required to open your own agency that conducts marketing research is 250-300 thousand rubles. These investments pay off within one and a half to two years of work.

Liliya Sysoeva

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