Home Blog Qualitative Research What is syndicated research? What are the best practices for syndicated research?

What is syndicated research? What are the best practices for syndicated research?

 Telling people what they want to know is more of an art than a science – as anyone who has served time as an analyst chained to PowerPoint will tell you. That’s especially true for the specialized world of syndicated reporting – where companies collect data to repackage and resell. Think media habits, automotive purchases, and perhaps surprisingly – cannabis sales. (Interested in this fast-growing industry? Check out our article on category disruptor Ayr Wellness.

What’s the difference between syndicated research and standard market research?

Market research is typically reported in one of two ways; a “one and done” ad hoc report, or a recurring tracker that is distributed to a limited audience (>100). These are handled with either PowerPoint decks, an online dashboard, or a combination of both. Most quantitative research is either an ad hoc study or a tracker.

Syndicated reporting is a different beast entirely. Syndicated suppliers collect data on an industry and all brands within, then sell segments of that data to their clients. Imagine a pool of data, just waiting to be sliced and diced and served up exactly to order – so you can efficiently deploy the segment of data a specific client has bought.

It’s challenging enough to gather the data. What matters is being able to analyze and visualize this vast amount of data that matches your buyer’s needs; down to price point and moment-of-purchase. The devil is in the details indeed. Companies collecting this data need to be sure they can sell exactly the data their customer needs and keep up with ongoing demand. Trends can only be tracked with consistent data-gathering that is easily comparable and manageable.

What are the types of syndicated research?

Syndicated research sold by third-party companies is typically sold as data tables and reports. Think media habits, automotive purchases, and one of the fastest growing segments – cannabis sales.  Syndicated research is typically conducted by either an independent research firm, or an industry association.

Key benefits of syndicated research

  1. Pay a lower cost for greater insight. Syndicated research offers companies actionable insight at a lower cost than a bespoke market research program. You’ll get a truly representative view of all market players and their activities and can be confident the sample size is robust and appropriately weighted to have truly representative and actionable information.
  2. Competitive benchmarking. With syndicated research, you can compare your brand to aggregated industry data, identify wider industry trends and drill down into specific brands and issues affecting the market. This gives you a good view on how to best position your product and company. Because it’s a market overview, you can use syndicated research to learn what your customers and prospects’ behavior is like when using your brand, products, and service, compared to your competitors.
  3. Reliable Delivery. Because the data collection serves multiple buyers, collection and deployment is planned well in advance and you can count on exact delivery times.

What are the challenges of syndicated research?

While syndicated reporting offers significant benefits (more on that later), there are challenges when it comes to delivering the research to the paying customer.

Many market research firms that sell syndicated data are living in A “presentation slide deck nightmare” where each buyer of the data requires a customized presentation slide deck. These individual reports are incredibly time-consuming to build, error-prone due to inevitable transposition errors, require lots of “rework” prior to publication and a complete re-do with each new data cycle.

We’ve even heard that expansion ambitions are thwarted by the practical limitations of manual reporting – there just aren’t enough people on the ground to deliver the volume of reports needed.

Our client Kantar Media was facing a similar issue and asked us to help them deliver data in a more innovative way. Kantar’s clients want insights that they can easily read and interpret, and no longer want or have the staff to sift through massive databases or reams of tables. Instead of performing deep-dive analysis to find specific information relevant to them, they want to obtain only the pertinent information they need. 

According to Jayne Krahn, VP of research operations for Kantar Media, “Although we had been using dashboards for a number of years, they were very time consuming to build and quality control was challenging. Data had to be analyzed first in a cross-tab program, manually set up within the dashboard’s database file and then charted. Updating and creating custom versions was time consuming, and because there was much copying and pasting, it was error prone.

With Forsta Visualizations, we built one comprehensive dashboard for the entire syndicated dataset. Then using powerful hierarchies, we can limit the content to the specific client data-set purchased by the client and deploy using a standardized infographic dashboard. Clients can then further “slice and dice” the data using a cross table tool or build custom PowerPoint decks within the system. And each scheduled collection is automatically uploaded to the system and immediately available for our clients use.

And we’ve seen an increase in the usage of our dashboards, both in time spent and in use by more senior-level people in these organizations, because they are easier to use.” 

Using modern online reporting software allows for an infinite combination of data configurations using hierarchies, variable subsets, and well-designed portal architecture. APIs can easily link the survey data directly to the dashboard eliminating the tedious, time-consuming process of uploading data. Meta data cleaning is automated and attribute names, formulas, weighting and other manual tasks can be controlled at the root data level for easy and efficient changes as needed.

Examples of syndicated research?

Some of the main sources of syndicated research include the JD Power Automotive study, MRI’s national study, Simmons’ National Consumer Survey and studies from NielsenSPINSIRI, and Kantar.

How can Forsta help?

If you are struggling with syndicated reporting or contemplating launching a syndicated service, modern reporting is critical to your ultimate success and profitability.  At Forsta, we give you the tools to turn raw data into insight-packed reports 40% quicker than you do right now.

Our drag-and-drop workspaces let you pull data right onto the page and turn it into tables, charts and vivid infographics. Adapt old reports, or work from scratch. Interactive online dashboards can be delivered straight to the people who need them, and decks export direct to PowerPoint, PDF or Excel.

In short, Forsta makes your syndicated research and reporting easy to analyze and simple to deliver. You can produce best-in-class reports at warp speed.

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