DIY Market Research: Good Decision or Bad Decision?

diy market research good or bad decisionThinking about Do-It-Yourself market research? At face value, how hard can a survey be to write, to program, or a focus group to moderate? Like any skill it takes years, sometimes decades to master. But hiring a professional or third-party expert like a market research firm in Albany, NY will always carry some unique benefits.

In this post we will share some of the pros of each path. There are some benefits to conducting in-house and some benefits to outsourcing the market research. As a third-party market research firm we have some inherent bias as far as what path we think you should choose, but the choice is ultimately yours.

Before you jump into DIY market research make sure you understand the pros and cons. Cons might include bent nails, old tools, inexact measurements, and shoddy results.


Benefits of DIY Market Research

The largest benefit to conducting a market research project in house is presumed cost savings. If completed in-house, you won't have to pay a third-party market research to conduct and manage the study. This includes fees for project management, design, consultant time, programming, fieldwork, analysis, and reporting.

Although you will still have to manage all of these steps yourself, your organization will not be physically paying out dollars to another company eating into your budget. Unless you have to buy a survey software, analysis platform, or sample to reach respondents.

However, we did say presumed cost savings at the beginning.

There are opportunity costs using DIY market research. If you are working on the market research project, what other priorities are you putting aside? The other cost consideration is the amount of time it might take you to write a survey, program a survey, or run analysis. If you hire a professional it might only take them 4 or 5 hours, but might take you 15 or 20 hours. So it becomes the question of is it efficient to manage and design on your own?


Drawbacks of DIY Market Research

Several drawbacks exist with DIY market research. The first concern is bias. If you reach out to customers or non-customers on your own and your market research is branded with your organization's name, will you get honest and unbiased feedback? If a customer speaks directly to a company they may not want to share criticism or negative feedback so you might not be getting the full picture. We call this the messy roommate bias.

Other drawbacks exist in the analysis and reporting. Without using a third-party market research firm can you truly offer an objective perspective on the analysis? If your customers are unhappy with specific individuals or specific departments, will you be able to deliver that news? Using an outside firm can help deliver a true and unbiased opinion on the findings as the messenger.

Using an outside consultant can also provide perspective from other competitors in your industry or vertical. Conducting the research in-house may lack the perspective as to how the data compares to others. This context can be added by a market research firm.

So if you collect customer satisfaction data and 68% of your customers are happy. You'll wonder is that good? Is that bad? I guess it's good. Whereas a market research firm can tell you the average satisfaction score is 48%, so your 68% is excellent.


Contact Us

Drive Research is a market research firm in Albany, NY. Our markets include several of the key Upstate New York markets including Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany.

Questions about an upcoming market research study? Considering in-house versus outsourcing? We can advise. Call us at 315-303-2040 or email us at info@driveresearch.com.

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