Primary Market Research Management

Many of Northern Light’s clients use their SinglePoint portal for the management, hosting, search, and delivery of primary market research. Primary market research repositories often have a limited number of documents — perhaps only a few thousand — but those documents represent a significant investment.

More than one Northern Light SinglePoint client has a primary market research budget of millions of dollars per month. Yet most large organizations have no primary market research management solution. Maximizing the impact of these investments and leveraging them across the organization is a prime directive for many of our SinglePoint clients and the payoff can be huge.

There are many ways that SinglePoint leverages internally produced primary market research:

Powerful search

Clients often come to Northern Light because the search functions of their legacy repositories do not produce good search results. They search, but don’t find. Northern Light’s research-optimized search engine finds every document with the search terms and ranks them using the industry’s best ranking algorithms so the best material is at the top of the search results.

Customized metadata for each client’s market research

Every client has unique terms of context that are familiar to their employees. A good example is report types: Final Reports, Quarterly Brand Equity Studies, Competitive Intelligence SWOT Analyses, or Key Findings. These report types are known to users and can be used on search forms to filter search results. Also brands, product lines, and geographies are often important means to restrict search results.

Northern Light works with each client and determines what metadata is needed and most useful, and then we apply that metadata to every document in the primary research repository. Search forms in the SinglePoint portal are then designed to take advantage of that metadata by exposing the options to users in an easy-to-grasp format like selection boxes that can be clicked to filter search results.

Project kitting

Primary market research is often conducted in project kits with a document associated with each stage of the project. For example, there may be an RFP, Questionnaire, Data Table, Final Report, a Final Presentation, and an Executive Summary. Often, there is a project number relating the pieces to one another that Northern Light can apply as metadata to all of the documents on the project. It is often useful to be able to jump from one document found on a search result to others in the project. Northern Light can use the project number metadata to link the project documents on search results, and can make it a search field on search forms.

Document upload system

Northern Light SinglePoint comes with an upload system customized for each client with that client’s metadata requirements and security policy options. Using the system, authorized client users can upload primary market research, applying metadata and security requirements. It only takes about a minute of labor to upload a document, which is not a big investment of time for a study costing as much as primary market research can cost. Once uploaded, another document can be added with the same metadata, which is a big time saver for multiple-document projects. Also, metadata can be edited for documents and groups of documents that have already been uploaded should the need arise.

External research contractor upload role

Often clients use external research contractors to actually perform the market intelligence research projects. Northern Light can expose an “upload only” view of the SinglePoint portal to external contractors so they can upload their own reports to the portal — another time savings for our clients.

Upload of legacy repositories

If your company is at all typical, you have legacy repositories that are somewhat messy. The legacy documents may be scattered in many repositories and they probably have inconsistent, erroneous, and missing metadata. The links between documents in the same project may not be present. As part of the process of setting up a SinglePoint market intelligence portal, Northern Light will work with you to load the legacy repositories and to fill-in the missing metadata. No matter how disorganized you think your legacy data is, we have seen it all many times and can guide the process of making it work for your organization.

Management of access rights

Primary research is more proprietary and sensitive than external syndicated research. Acting as a primary research market intelligence management system, Northern Light SinglePoint enforces access rights at the level of every document and every user. Clients can show search results with full metadata and summaries for restricted collections but require that the documents be requested from an administrator, can show limited search results with limited metadata and no summaries, or can hide the documents from unauthorized users all together.

Primary market research workflow management system

A common requirement is that the SinglePoint enterprise portal implement the client’s workflow for primary market research and market intelligence. A typical model would be to provision a new project in the portal, determine the milestones and due dates for document submissions to the portal, and track (with alerts) the progress of the project against the plan. Often, the interim steps have approval requirements and the portal routes the document to the approvers. As a last step, the approved documents are indexed into the portal for users to access. Each client has a unique workflow, milestones, and approval processes and Northern Light exactly replicates the client’s process in the SinglePoint enterprise portal.