Written by Lucy Crossfield Updated on 20 December 2019 Whether you're starting a business from scratch, or simply looking to use data to inform your SME's next move, market research should be just about the first thing that you do. What better way to tailor your services to the public than with real insights, provided by real people?The thing is, market research is tricky. It takes time, specific know-how, and resources – all of which can be in very short supply for small business owners. The solution? Hire a market research company. But which one is doing it best?Let's take a look.UK Market Research CompaniesMarket research in the UK was once based on making telephone calls to consumers or by simply talking to people in the street.It has seen huge advancements in recent years thanks to online surveys and customer focus groups. Some of the best market research companies in the UK today are:Ipsos MORIFounded in 2005, Ipsos MORI specialises in researching a variety of sectors such as advertising, loyalty, marketing, MediaCT, social issues, politics and reputation.Part of the much respected Ipsos Group, their core values are based on dedication to client success, innovation and results.Ipsos MORI works closely with the UK government to gain insight into the minds and attitudes of the public. They have offices in over 80 countries.Redshift Market Research AgencyRedshift Market Research Agency design bespoke business to business market research programmes as well as undertaking their own consumer market research.This research is invaluable for companies wishing to launch new products, advance their brand or simply understand their customers.They work with a variety of business sectors in the UK, from software manufacturers to non-profit organisations. They specialise in public opinion surveys and consumer technology.Redshift are keen to gain knowledge regarding the ethos of the companies that they service in order to design tailor made research programmes to suit.As well as collecting data, they also analyse it and can coach companies based on the results. They provide workshops and ‘ideation’ forums which help clients generate new ideas.The Market Research Society (MRS)MRS are one of the leading research companies in the world with members in more than 60 countries. Theirs is an ideal platform for companies wishing to get involved in market, social or opinion research. MRS also provides business intelligence, market analysis, customer insight and consultancy.The research undertaken by MRS has helped many UK organisations to launch global brands, get inside the minds of their customers and even win elections.They hold events and conferences to inspire and empower their clients. Everything that they do is backed by evidence gathered from their research.Keynote Market ResearchKeynote Market Research creates reports from research that they undertake, all of which is full of valuable data for businesses wishing to find ways to improve themselves.The company believe that by being better informed, businesses have a greater chance of being successful. Their clients in the UK include energy and pharmaceutical companies.The reports that Keynote Market Research provide are:Market Report Plus which focuses on dynamic marketsMarket Review which focuses on the bigger picture across specific industry sectorsMarket Assessment which provides in depth strategic analysis of key UK and European marketsMarket Update which contains information on market size and forecasts as well at looking at recent developments within a particular sector.YouGovYouGov uses the internet to gather their data. They provide companies with an accurate picture of their customers, brands, investors and staff based on evidence gathered through profiling, opinion polls and surveys.YouGov members have to complete in depth questionnaires about themselves which then create a profile known as an ‘opigram’.It is a highly advanced and unique way of capturing data. With a panel of over 400,000 active UK members from all backgrounds, YouGov are able to provide a vast range of statistical information to their clients.YouGov is part of the YouGov Group based in London. However, they do have offices on most continents. They are currently one of the most quoted research agencies in the UK.Stay Ahead of The CompetitionMarket research is now part of daily life for the majority of companies – at least those who are willing to take advice based on what their customers say in order to change and make improvements.In turn, consumers are becoming used to online surveys and enjoy being able to provide their opinion and make a difference. Furthermore, they are often given incentives to contribute.More data is being captured now than ever before, and even if your business has never used a research agency, there is a good chance that they will do so in the future. Market research analysis is a fact of life – and one which is fast becoming necessary in order to stay ahead of the competition. Need market research? You could save by comparing quotes. Just tell us your requirements, it only takes a minute Compare market research quotes Written by: Lucy Crossfield Editor Lucy heads up the team on Expert Market, helping to deliver industry-leading expertise on business topics for nearly four years.