DIY Doomsayers are Missing the Point

The doomsayers about DIY (do-it-yourself) research are missing the point.

Typically resistance to DIY research comes from traditionalists who feel that internal corporate marketers and researchers are not able to administer and analyze research projects on their own without the steady guiding hand of a market research consultant.

By the way, last year I wrote a post criticizing the use of the term “DIY Research” as perjorative, but since I haven’t heard a better term yet I’ll continue to use it here.

The reality is that there are many projects which corporate researchers are well equipped to run on their own.  The key is, as the saying goes, to know what you know and know what you don’t know – market research consultants are best suited to come in and help with advanced methodologies and analysis. Speed and cost dictate that simpler projects be done internally.

Why does this disconnect about DIY research exist?

It’s because traditionalists are missing the point. They do not understand, or they do not acknowledge, the extent to which the needs of corporate researchers have changed in the internet age.

And after all, it’s all about meeting corporate researchers’ needs, isn’t it?

One such researcher, Jason Anderson of Blizzard Entertainment, gave us a taste of the corporate researcher’s perspective his recent talk at the Market Research in the Mobile World conference. He mentioned that his first priority is to answer any questions that can be answered using internal data resources, including data resources he has built himself. Only then does he look externally.

Gone are the days when researchers outsourced everything, when working with a client meant a steady stream of large projects, all of which included study design, data collection and analysis. That world does not exist anymore.

Stop missing the point. If you get the new paradigm and you are a supplier-side researcher, you will specialize in filling in the gaps that corporate researchers cannot fill on their own.

About Dana Stanley

Dana is the Editor-in-Chief of Research Access.


  1. Nico Peruzzi, PhD says:

    The reality is that there is plenty of room for suppliers helping corporate researchers. Almost all of our clients do some research themselves – some of them do it very well, some not so well, but they will always do things themselves – to save time, money, etc. And that’s great. As Dana mentions, suppliers need to supply some kind of value beyond the things that are easy to do in the internet age. We do it with conjoint analysis, MaxDiff, segmentation, etc., and we’re also there when our corporate clients get so busy that they need some help with a “basic” project. If we’ve shown value in other areas, then we’ll be the ones they look to for help. The only rub I see with “DIY” research is when folks believe that they know more than they really do, or they see a tool that looks easy to use and try to use it do something that is beyond their education or skill set. Still, that’s fine that they do it – we’ll be there to help them pick up the pieces 😉

    Nico Peruzzi, PhD

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