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Participant Guide: How do you know a Market Research Agency is Genuine?

Some helpful tips on how to check that a market research agency is authentic.



Market research agencies (or market researchers) play a pivotal role in providing valuable insights for organisations to make informed decisions about products, packaging, communications, brand perception, customer journeys, and to influence decisions made locally/nationally about your area/our country. As a participant, your contributions are crucial to these decisions, and your research experience should be positive and even enjoyable - so it's essential to ensure that the market research agency that you engage with is genuine and trustworthy. To help, we have put together some tips on how to identify that you are speaking to a legitimate market research agency.


Check Credentials and Memberships

Reputable market research agencies often belong to professional industry organisations like the Market Research Society (MRS), or ESOMAR. Membership indicates the company's adherence to ethical standards, Codes of Conduct and industry best practices. These standards ensure that your participation is voluntary, confidential, and that data is used appropriately.


If you have been contacted by a research agency and wish to check their validity/Membership of the MRS you can do so by searching the list here: https://www.mrs.org.uk/standards/online-register or by calling the Market Research Society's Freephone verification service on 0800 975 9596*

(*Calling 0800 numbers from outside the UK is possible, but will incur charges. The international rates will vary depending on where the caller is phoning from)


Plus Four is a member of both the MRS and ESOMAR, and all research that we undertake/ask for respondents to take part in, is conducted strictly in adherence with their Codes of Conduct. Our Senior researchers are also members of the Association for Qualitative Research (AQR)


Review their Website and Online Presence

A legitimate agency will have a professional, informative, and up-to-date website. Look for detailed information about their services, methodologies, and client testimonials. You can also check their online presence on social media platforms - do they have accounts? Does the contact information match the website info? You can also check business platforms such as LinkedIn.


Look for Contact Information

Genuine market research agencies provide clear contact information, including a physical address, phone number, and their email address will typically contain/reflect the company name. Be wary if the company only offers a contact form without any direct way to reach them. For example, Plus Four can be contacted by phone, email, or via our website contact page.


Woman using a laptop to look up a market research agency to check online credibility

Legitimate market research agencies may send unsolicited emails or messages. If you receive an invitation out of the blue, always investigate further before engaging. If you are approached by someone conducting interviews in the street or at a venue, then they should offer ID and give you full information before commencing an interview.


For example, our own interviewers will carry an ID badge with their name, our company name, telephone number, and website, so you can check things out before continuing. They will also provide a leaflet with contact information for you to takeaway with you. Plus Four is part of the Recruiter Accreditation Scheme developed by the MRS and Association of Qualitative Researchers (AQR) to recognise the knowledge, skills and competence of professional recruiters.

Plus Four will never use tools such as random digit dialling to cold call people.


Understand their Data Policies

How will your information be used and stored? Legitimate agencies are transparent about their data collection methods and uses. They will clearly explain how they collect, store, and use your data, ensuring it complies with data protection regulations like GDPR. A good gauge of whether a Market Research company has achieved high standards in areas relating to GDPR is if it has achieved a Quality Management ISO certification - they will display a logo on their website if this is the case. If a research agency is vague about their GDPR/Privacy practices, then proceed with caution!


Plus Four has achieved ISO 9001: 2015 Quality Management System (QMS) certification, and our Privacy and Data Security Policy can be found on our website:


Look for Incentive Transparency

Reputable agencies will clearly outline the incentives for participation (if any), whether it's monetary compensation, gift cards, or other rewards. They will also explain the process for receiving these incentives, ensuring it's straightforward and fair, and confirm when you can expect to receive them. The incentive amount will be a reflection of the amount of time and effort involved, so be wary of being offered unreasonably high rewards for your efforts.


Check for Professionalism in Communication

Pay attention to the professionalism of communication. Legitimate companies will use proper language and will provide invitations and detailed information about the study. If the communication feels rushed, unprofessional, or too pushy, it might be a scam.


Participating in market research can be a very positive and fun experience, offering you a chance to be rewarded for sharing your opinions. By following these guidelines, you will have peace of mind that the market research company you engage with is genuine, ethical, and professional. Remember, your time and insights are valuable, and it’s crucial to collaborate with genuine and professional companies that respect and appreciate your contribution and protect your personal information. So as with all activities that require you to share an extent of personal information - stay aware, check any information that you are given, raise any concerns, and then go ahead and enjoy your market research experience!


If you have been contacted by anyone from Plus Four Market Research Limited and you would like to check authenticity you can contact us in a variety of ways:

  • Call our office: 0208 254 4444

  • Email us: info@plus4.co.uk with 'Authenticity Check' in the subject line and brief details of your query/the nature of contact from us that you would like to verify

  • Complete the 'Contact Us' form on our website: https://www.plus4.co.uk/contact


If you would like to be considered as a participant in forthcoming market research projects, with the confidence of knowing that Plus Four is an authentic and long-established agency, you can click here to Join our panel



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