The following shows a typical example of how we’d go about approaching market research.
There is an intense discussion among marketing researchers about whether DIY research is going to replace external marketing research vendors. After being on both sides of the river, I think external marketing research vendors will still be needed for years to come despite the spread of DIY marketing research. The DIY marketing research team doesn’t have qualified staff to design and execute the type of research needed or the expertise to interpret the results and extract actionable insights. Hi Michaela – there are some really valid points here against DIY research, which is especially relevant to hear from someone who comes from the client side and understands the pressures that are driving client-side research teams to use DIY methods. It is often necessary to commission marketing research to estimate total market size and calculate a company’s market share. Relevant Insights research revealed distinct market segments with individual characteristics that have helped guide our strategy on how to invest resources to improve customer satisfaction and drive growth.
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Development and implementation of life science market research highly targeted to your company’s objectives. Surveys are perhaps the most widely known and utilized method when it comes to market research.
Surveys can be used effectively for satisfaction research (customers or employee), measuring attitudes, pricing research, fact gathering (e.g.
I could go on and on about surveys, but I’ll save it for now since this is an overview.
Focus groups involve getting a group of people together in a room (usually physically, although technology is making virtual, or online focus groups more feasible). Experiments and field trials involve scientific testing, where specific variables and hypotheses can be tested. Usability testing – Watching a subject use a prototype device is one form of observational research.
Contextual Inquiry – This is a hybrid form of research that involves interviewing subjects as the researcher watches them work or play in their natural environment. In-Home Observation – Watching a family member go through the morning routine in their home might turn up useful insights into pain-points that need solving.
In-Store Observation – Simply watching shoppers in action is another form of observational research. Mystery Shoppers – This involves hiring a regular person to go into a store and pretend to be an everyday shopper.
Our anti-spam protection requires that you enable JavaScript in your browser to be able to comment! I was the ultimate DIY research department at several of my former employers on the client side.


To be totally self-sufficient a DIY marketing research team would need to have a staff of researchers with expertise and hands-on experience in a wide range of research methodologies, which is costly and nearly impossible. Many large research agencies have established processes and standardized methods that have been tested over time, which provides consistency in data collec­tion and reporting (e.g. External market­ing researchers are neutral judges of research results and don’t have a vested interest in its outcome one way or the other.
Public data gathered internally is often received with some skepticism, particularly if it is favorable to the company’s brands and products, so companies are better off by using a neutral third-party vendor that can assure the data is legit.
There are more and more companies who are mining their cus­tomer base and using them as the primary source of sampling. If we look only at the cash that could have been paid to an external vendor, DIY research is definitely cheaper. Receive specific, actionable results and insights that go far beyond a published survey by leveraging Comprendia’s expertise and extensive life science networks.
This sample survey provides an example of a good survey, with no positive bias or ambiguous questions. The rapid proliferation of DIY marketing research is making some external marketing researchers anxious about their livelihood, while others are simply angry about the trend towards “good enough” research which can poten­tially produce biased data and misguided conclusions.
I was able to provide high quality primary mar­keting research at a very low cost, and a quick turnaround. My team could tackle many research projects that could have otherwise gone to external marketing research vendors.
They also need researchers that can interpret results in meaningful ways to offer actionable insights. We don’t feel the pressure to get some hypotheses confirmed and our compensation doesn’t depend on it. This often touches on sensitive topics regarding satisfaction with management, salary, co-workers, etc. This can also be needed when internal teams in an organization ask for resources to launch a product, invest in an idea, etc. Some companies are creating online communities they can re­cruit from for research purposes.
There are also boutique research vendors that can provide more custom approaches and innovative solutions (often accompanied with a more personal­ized attention and commitment). Nowadays, DIY marketing research teams are often small and don’t have time to handle all the internal requests.
Using a third-party to gather and analyze data helps to protect employees’ identity and avoid any type of retaliation against them.
They need a credible data source to explain the rational of their request, and at times this means data gathered and interpreted by a knowledgeable neutral third-party.
However, often companies must go outside their customer base in order to identify growth opportunities.


I have seen many cases in which the research needs to be done again due to bad research designs at the hands of inexperienced DIY research teams. Regarding cost, there are smaller boutique firms that can be very cost-effective and offer a great service and quality work without costing a fortune. DIY research teams can add value to the service they offer internally by selecting external vendors that have spent the time and resources on developing processes, learning new methodologies and gather­ing experiences from different industries that can guarantee data quality and meaningful insights.
They may need to outsource parts of some projects or entire projects as other priori­ties take place. DIY research teams can also play a neutral role, but sometimes they can’t help but infuse certain bias without knowing it based on industry knowledge and office politics. In times when many think they can write a survey because of access to cheap survey tools, the need for expertise is often disregarded costing thousands of dollars in wasted resources on decisions made on less than reliable data. Those who say they do “everything” internally are often limited to do certain types of research with moderate to low level of complexity.
I have seen many instances in which a DIY research team’s internal clients, hoping to get a particular outcome, explicitly request the use of a particular methodology, (for some reason focus groups are always top of mind), which may not be the right one to tackle the business issue in question.
There are cases in which customers might be unwilling to air certain opinions about a company if they know they are being surveyed by the company’s employees and can be easily identified.
In estimating the actual cost of DIY research, companies need to factor in the alternative cost of getting bad data quality, an inadequate research approach and misleading conclusions.
In my experience on the client side, I always got a better value for my money from smaller research firms.
You recognize them easily, when the answer is “We have SurveyMonkey.” Sooner or later they go looking for a research vendor that can help them extract deeper insights from collected data or simply provide a different approach that better answers questions related to the business issues at hand. Sometimes the DIY team is able to push back, but at other times they can’t and the internal client wins. Even if customers know the research is being sponsored by a company, knowing that a third party is collecting the data and analyzing it mitigates confidentiality concerns. When the stakes are high, management is aware that “good enough” research is simply not enough. Others ask us to design and program conjoint studies, while they do the simula­tions themselves.
Sometimes we come at the end of the process to analyze the data or write the reports, while in many occasions we take on projects from start to finish.



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