Is DIY Market Research Worth My Time and Money? Let's Explore.
Since Google Forms launched in 2008, “doing research yourself” (DIY) has skyrocketed in popularity. From polls, surveys, quizzes, and event registration sheets, Google has given everyone the power to collect data in real-time.
Naturally, this experience has impacted the usage of "do-it-yourself" research tools (DIY). By definition, DIY research tools are software programs or applications that enable businesses to carry out market, brand and consumer insights research in-house, as opposed to outsourcing to a professional agency.
While these tools can provide quick results at a cost-effective price point, many researchers still remain hesitant about their value and data quality. Is this reluctance founded or simply a reaction to an "old school" industry that's resistant to change?
Why Have DIY Market Research Solutions Become So Popular?
DIY market research tools are ideal for businesses looking to be more agile. Behind their simple user experience lies a multitude of benefits:
- Cost savings. As research and marketing budgets continue to shrink, you might end up in the position where you have to do more with less. Most self-service research platforms are more cost-effective than hiring an external agency, costing at least half the price of a fully serviced solution. They can be offered at different package/pricing levels depending on the needs of the business and can be managed purely in-house without the need for external support.
- Data in minutes. Many DIY research tools allow businesses to gather data and insights at the touch of a button in under an hour (as is the case with the OnePulse platform). This means brands can implement these insights immediately, as opposed to waiting on the analysis weeks or months down the line from an external agency. And because the results delivered via an online dashboard , the long-term value is significant.
- Customer-centricity. DIY research tools have the capacity to be vastly more customer-focused and provide businesses with direct access to potentially hundreds of thousands of people who tick all the boxes of their ideal target audience. This is in contrast to relying on typically less engaged sample sizes provided by agency respondent pools.
I'm In. What Makes or Breaks a Good DIY Survey Tool?
Technology has made DIY market research easier to access than ever before. However, there are still some things you need to keep in mind when it comes picking the right solution.
During your search for DIY market research tools, be sure to find out whether they will:
1. Allow you to achieve fully representative, unbiased results
A biased result is achieved when a question has been formatted or phrased in a way that leads respondents towards a specific answer. Biased or unrepresentative results can also come about if the questions you provide are difficult to understand in a survey format.
While you might be fully aware of this, it can be difficult to avoid writing questions that will provide you with validations of your pre-conceived thoughts as opposed to useful, objective insights.
For example, non-response bias can occur when you ask too many questions, leaving the respondent overwhelmed and unmotivated to finish the survey. By investing in a platform that specializes in short 1-3 question surveys, you will be able to maximize on engagement and get honest feedback.
Whatever tool you select must make it easy to examine potential bias. Think critically about how well designed your questions are and avoid the following:
- Leading questions - These plant a seed in the respondent’s mind that shapes their answer, "How much will bacon increase in the new year?"
- Double negative questions - These make it confusing if respondents should pick yes or no, "I don’t think people should not buy new instead of used furniture. Yes or No?"
- Loaded questions - These make assumptions about respondents that may or may not be true, "What's your favorite coffee drink?"
2. Enable you to target the right audience
As well as avoiding research bias with your chosen tool, you’ll also want to ensure that it enables you to gather the level of insights you need to make any necessary changes or developments with your products or services.
This can only be achieved by asking the right questions to the right selection of people, and most importantly, in the right way.
- Firstly, make sure your chosen DIY research tool allows you to drill down and target your perfect respondent audience. Basic demographics such as age, gender and geographic location should be used as filters, but so should likes, dislikes, stance on current issues and more. The more in-depth you can be, the more authentic the results you will receive.
- When it comes to asking the right questions in the right way, it’s not enough to simply include “yes/no” questions, or multiple choice lists of answers to pick from. Your respondents also need to be able to answer “why,” or have the chance to assess your creatives like videos and photos of your products and advertising materials. Your chosen solution should allow for re-targeting opportunities so you can look into a respondent’s answer even more deeply.
This type of ease experience goes for the analysis and presentation of your results, too. Be sure to choose a solution that not only collects the in-depth insights you need, but that can analyse your data and collate it in an easy, readable and demonstratable format that you can share with key stakeholders.
3. Prioritise data security for all parties
Data security is an absolute must in all aspects of market and consumer insights research. Unfortunately, this can be much more difficult to keep abreast of without the support of an external market research team.
It’s therefore essential that, when you’re on the lookout for a DIY research tool for your customer insights project, it has all the correct systems in place to protect not only your participant’s personal information and data, but also yours, and that of everyone working in your organisation.
As an example, the OnePulse product is built with an enterprise-grade infrastructure to ensure that all data for our clients and users alike is secure.
4. Grant you the level of control you desire
The clue is in the name: Do It Yourself! You should therefore ensure that the research tool you choose gives you a high level of control.
This guarantees you receive insights that are actually beneficial and help you with decision making. It also ensures that there are no unnecessary restrictions to the research you conduct imposed by the program creators.
If you want relevant data to help you back up an idea for an important client pitch in two days, DIY market research tools will be the most viable solution.
Many DIY survey platforms now offer results in minutes – whereas traditional research methods can take days or even weeks to complete. Some even offer live updates so you can watch results as they come in.
5. Be user friendly for your team and research respondents
In a nutshell, if your chosen DIY research solution isn’t user friendly to all who are involved in it – from your team all the way to your respondents – it simply won’t enable you to get the results you need.
Therefore, when choosing a platform, be sure to ask for a demonstration or free trial (more on this below) and take note of how it looks and feels, and how easy it is for you to use. Also, be sure that the product is accessible across your whole team to make your research process as seamless as possible.
You should also trial the product from the respondents’ perspective; is it easy to answer questions? Is it engaging/captivating and enjoyable enough? Is there anything particularly complex, jarring and ultimately off-putting about it?
So, How Can You Ensure a DIY Research Tool Meets All These Requirements?
- Sign up for demonstrations and free trials of the tools - By far the best way to determine the quality and usability of a DIY research tool is by trying it out for yourself. Most DIY tool suppliers will be able to offer this to you. For example, at OnePulse, we offer free, comprehensive and in-depth demonstrations of our solution, and can do so at whatever time suits you best!
- Ask questions - During your demonstration, be sure to ask questions regarding all the above points if they have not been answered already. The answers you are given (or not given) should offer a good indication of whether the DIY research tool in question is right for you.
- Seek the opinions and experiences of your contemporaries - Ask around the office, or anyone you have worked on previous market research projects with, about the DIY tool you’re considering. Has anyone in your team or someone you know in the field used the tool before? If so, what was their experience? Looking at testimonials and case studies around the tool you’re considering is also a great way to see whether it’s the right choice for you.
It goes without saying that searching for your perfect DIY research tool can be a challenge.
DIY market research is increasingly accessible for people in any department, not just researchers. While early self-serve platforms may have been difficult to navigate without expertise, by following the above guidance, you’ll be well on your way to launching a successful DIY research project.
To learn more about our DIY approach to agile research, contact us today.