Market Research Licensing Solutions: Which One Is Right for Me?

Two people sharing files, featured on, you've accomplished the hard part, and you've found the report that meets your current market research needs. But, now that you're ready to make a purchase, you must decide which user license will be the most appropriate match for your required usage. While this may seem like an easy decision, there are actually many factors to consider in order to choose the right licensing solution.

The first step is to evaluate not only your company size, but also the size and structure of your department. This is crucial to understand who will require access to the report, and, therefore, determine what level of licensing you will need. For instance, the needs of a department head of a small company will be vastly different from those of the 10-member research team of an international corporation. You must predetermine your potential usage and, then, familiarize yourself with the available licensing solutions.

1. Single-User License

Typically chosen because of its lower price point, a single-user license is the most basic option available. This solution restricts usage to only one individual: the purchaser of the report. Because many people often misunderstand its parameters, it's crucial to note that usage is limited to a single user, as opposed to the common misconception that the restriction applies to the number of allowed report copies. As a result, failure to fully understand this concept can lead to potential copyright issues. Thus, a single-user license can often times be restricting and almost unusable for some companies.

So, which companies benefit most from a single-user license?

Small to medium-sized companies are the primary purchasers of single-user licenses. Typically, in small businesses there is only one department head or researcher requiring access to a report. Because there is no departmental team, the user can utilize the report for individual analysis and, with the proper citations, internal reporting. Additionally, medium-sized companies with only one person serving as the lead on a project can also benefit from this economical licensing solution.

If a single-user license seems like the best fit for your needs, it's good to note that if the assigned user leaves the organization or experiences a departmental change, you can most likely contact your research specialist to discuss transferring the license to the new individual requiring access.

Business team smiling, featured on Global-User License

The other generally standard licensing solution is a global-user license. This option permits access to a report across an entire company. The price of a global-user license is typically 2-3 times the cost of a single-user; so, how do you determine if this larger financial investment will be beneficial?

Large, multi-office and international corporations are perfect candidates for a global-user license. These companies will need to share reports with different offices and departments. Often times, within larger corporations, there is not explicit knowledge of the needs of each department; therefore, the purchaser does not know if people in other departments or office locations need to access the report, or could benefit from its use in some way. By investing in a global-user license, companies are protecting themselves from liability and copyright issues. In addition, they are gaining value in the report by allowing it to be utilized by others for future needs.

Also, many market research subscription services, such as's Knowledge Centers, include the added benefit of a global-user license.

3. Alternative Licensing Options

If you find that neither standard licensing solution adequately fits your company's needs, there may be an alternative option. Many publishers will offer a variety of alternative solutions, but the key is that you typically will have to ask about them. If you think this is your best bet, it's probably a good idea to contact your market research specialist to discuss what options may be available through your publisher. Some of the more common alternatives are listed below:

  • Multi-user license: Permits access to typically 1-5 users. This solution is good for companies who have a few key individuals within the organization who will require access to the report.
  • Site-user license: Permits access to the entirety of one office location. This solution is best for companies with only one office who can utilize the report across many departments.
  • Departmental-user license: Permits access to a single department within a company. This solution is best designed for companies with a departmental team who are collaboratively working on a project.

Final Advice:

Pay attention to the cost difference between licensing options. If the difference is relatively small (ie: $500 license upgrade on a $4,000 report), it's going to be more valuable to purchase the upgraded option.

It is also good to know that you usually CAN upgrade your user license after purchasing the report. Be sure to consult your research specialist before repurchasing the report under a different license. Once you have determined your needs and purchased the report with the appropriate user license, evaluate your report usage within the first two months of the purchase. The optimal window for obtaining licensing upgrades is within the first 30-60 days.

If you are still unsure of which market research licensing solution is right for you, contact a market research specialist to help you through the process. To learn more about market research, check out our free eBook.

How to Succeed Using Market Research

Thanks for reading!

Ashlan Bonnell
Managing Editor