Market ResearchIn the immortal words, “Yes, but if he knows I know he knows, he may do (X) instead. But what if he knows more than I think he does? He could be acting like he only knows that I know he knows, when in fact he knows that I know he knows I know he knows.” One of the most dangerous things in market research and in business is guessing at what people want. To begin, your market research strategy does not need to dive deep, but it does need to exist for you to make the best possible business decisions. As you read this article, ask yourself the simple question – “Do I know, or do I think?”.

Why is it Important?

Do you understand what potential clients want from you? Do you know what their hot buttons are? Have you looked at expanding into new markets? Have you tried to launch new practice areas? You probably think that some of these are easy questions. For example, you may think that you know what clients want – they want faster, better, and cheaper. However, is that truly the case? You might think that one market is better than another, but is it? Market research is essential in order to make the decisions you make the most reliable they can be. Today, we’re going to talk about one simple tool for market research that over 99% of staffing firms do not use – surveying.

Building Out the Survey

Whether you are looking to understand how people view your organization, the specific needs of your client base, or a new market – surveys are the most underutilized tool that provide amazing detail. Using the example of a new market, create a survey with a few questions to send out to your current clients. You can utilize some questions like the ones below:

Question 1: How many locations does your company have for its IT needs?

Question 2: What is the average number of people in each of these locations?

Question 3: What cities are your IT teams in? Does each location handle different areas of the business or technology?

Question 4: Your name

Using this questionnaire, create a couple of sentences to get people engaged. For example, you could write, “We are conducting a survey to understand our clients needs and the business needs around technology. Would you please take a moment to complete the survey attached?”.

You may also think to yourself, “How many people would fill this out?”. However, if you have 50 clients and five managers each, then 20 – 25 responses could give you enough information that grows your business quickly. Similar steps are available for a variety of business questions; so if your company is in need of some advice, just give us a call.


Opinions are not welcome when analyzing your survey results. Be very careful about using your opinions when looking at the data as it is very easy to skew the results. You are not looking to confirm what you believe but, instead, you are looking for the right answer. When analyzing data, be sure to draw only the conclusions that come from the data. For example, if one market from the scenario above stands out amongst the rest by quantity of selections, do not simply assume that it is the market you should go to. What if each of those markets for each respondent only has a few people? It is very easy to insert non-collected information into your data, so make sure to avoid this mistake.

Surveys can be used for existing clients through email, to prospects by email, social media, and your website, and to candidates and consultants to get their thoughts and opinions. Better yet, for those of you utilizing Net Promoter Score (NPS), you can also do it yourself. Let the data guide you and give us a call if you need help!

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About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.