There are countless blogs and articles written on the promise and ease of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) market research techniques. The problem? Just because something appears to be easy, does not mean it will lead to successful results. This certainly rings true regarding market research methodologies.
Market researchers dedicate their lives and careers to providing clients with the best techniques needed to solve challenges within their businesses. When putting together a research plan, there are thousands of different types of questions you could ask. There is a science behind survey writing – one that is not matched by conducting market research on your own.
In most aspects of your business, “good enough” is not good enough. Do not make this mistake when choosing between DIY market research and partnering with a full-service market research firm.
Consider these 4 dangers of DIY market research before biting off more than you can chew.
Thinking about DIY market research? Proceed with caution.
1. Missing an outsider’s perspective
Most DIY researchers utilize this in-house approach because they believe no one knows their business or customers quite like they do. They do not take a step back to consider knowing the in’s and out’s of their company may be more of a detriment to market research practices.
Businesses are run by passionate people, with strong thoughts and opinions. This is why it is rarely a good idea for a company to practice DIY market research. It is difficult to have a neutral view on a certain research topic because you are too involved with many aspects of your organization. This often leads to bias – the enemy of any market research company. Although usually subconscious, bias leads to skewed and tainted data in research.
Even if your DIY marketing research efforts do not result in bias results, the data is sure to be viewed suspiciously by target audiences. It seems self-serving when companies publish a report exclaiming, “Our research shows our state-of-the-art vacuums have 5X the cleaning power over our competitors.” Sure, Jan.
Instead, let a third-party market research firm do the dirty work. You will receive 100% unbiased and accurate results to share with other team members, customers, and prospects. By including, “This research was conducted by X, a third-party market research company,” your findings are deemed more credible, reliable, and trustworthy (because they are).
2. Little experience and knowledge
Research analysts and project managers live, breath, and sleep market research. It is what they do every day! Market research agencies have years of experience ready at your disposal. They have the skills and know-how to perform the majority of things DIY market researchers are only planning to learn about.
What most of those “how to” market research blogs do not discuss is the science behind survey writing. There is so much more that goes into survey writing than simply asking a question. One little word change can impact your survey results in a big way.
Conducting market research in-house hardly ever leads to creating the best questionnaire. For example, a retail store is preparing to go to market within the next year. To test the effectiveness of their window display they surveyed pedestrians walking past the store, asking questions such as:
- Did you notice the store front when you walked by?
- Do you like the window display of this store?
- Would you shop in this store?
These seem like pretty standard questions, right? The issue isn’t necessarily what the retail store is asking, it is what they are not asking. A major question this DIY survey did not ask was:
“If you saw this store when you were walking or driving by, would you know what was inside or would you need more information?”
By not asking the right type of questions, DIY market researchers are missing out on valuable information. If customers in fact were confused by what the retail store was selling, the store would have incurred a lot more costs on redesigning their store front than they would have on hiring a survey company.
Learn more about the science of survey writing. Our survey company will teach you what to do, and what not to do.
3. Choosing the wrong market research methodology
With hundreds and hundreds of market research methodologies to choose from, where does one begin? Are you aiming to explore? Are you aiming to measure? Is it possible to do both? Is your head spinning, yet? Last question, I promise.
You are never short of options when looking to conduct market research. However, with DIY market research it is likely you are not choosing the right methodology to best answer those important business questions. Seemingly the starting point for a lot of DIY marketers is choosing between qualitative or quantitative.
Ideally, market research that achieves desirable and actionable results generally includes both types of methods. This ‘either/or’ thinking of exploring or measuring limits creativity in the research design process. Our market research company knows every methodology has its own advantages and disadvantages and should be judged based on the objective of the research. This is your starting point.
Jumping straight into a decision about qualitative or quantitative will completely eliminate a whole list of options from the very beginning. When choosing to work with a qualified market research company rather than doing it on your own, there is no risk of preconceptions or misunderstanding of what methodology to use.
4. Lack of time and resources
The quality of DIY research is often compromised by the lack of time and available resources among a company. Take it from us – conducting quality market research, while it may look easy, is very time consuming. At a glance, proper marketing research requires design, coding, participant recruiting, fieldwork with qualified participants, analyzing the data, and finally a comprehensive research report.
There are few instances in which a company will have the bandwidth or qualified in-house team members to get the job done, and done well. A company conducting DIY market research will almost always use more efforts, only to make more mistakes. By outsourcing this task to a marketing research firm, you will save your department countless hours as the marketing research firm will take on the project in a more objective and efficient way.
There is always the option of utilizing both in-house and outsourced market research efforts. For example, some companies have an in-house team or those who are more comfortable with DIY research. These team members are responsible for conducting more everyday data research.
This same company also chooses to outsource more complex projects such as focus groups or in-depth interviews to ensure daily business objectives are not lost. Remember, with market research you have endless options!
Thinking about Do-It-Yourself market research? Make sure you understand the pros and cons.
Drive Research is a market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team has the knowledge and tools to design a robust market research study, should it be the right fit for your business.
Interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.