When To DIY And When To Call A Pro

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When To DIY And When To Call A Pro

EMI recently hosted a discussion among local market research professionals to discuss the trend of DIY tools in marketing research.  We discussed DIY tools for not only sampling but also programming surveys, data processing, coding translations, charting and even qualitative tools.  The DIY landscape is very crowded right now with no clear leaders, which makes decisions to which tool to utilize even more challenging.

The consensus among the group was that while these DIY tools can be very handy, efficient, and inexpensive, there are a few areas that researchers should consider when utilizing:

  • Because of the crowded landscape and a lack of proven industry leaders, it can be challenging simply to determine which tool is best for your needs.  In order to adequately choose the best for you, it could take quite a bit of time.
  • It will take you longer than you think to learn DIY tools – it may not be beneficial and could take much longer than anticipated.
  • DIY should not be used in all situations.  Some good uses of DIY research are low-risk situations, incidence checks, and to try and get a general direction rather than make a tough business decision.
  • Experts, primarily full-service market research firms and other industry experts are still needed as they perform vital functions such as:
    • Quality checks
    • Trained at questionnaire design
    • Full-time programmers/data processing
    • They understand the ‘context’ and business problem better than those that don’t work full-time in that function

Many of these functions are behind the scenes and not visible to many users of the data.  Some of these people spend their entire careers in their field and provide insights that an automated tool cannot provide.  They have systems in place to ensure quality.

To summarize, be careful when using DIY tools.  They may appear to be easy to use, but one could put themselves in a tough situation if not properly prepared.   We routinely have clients that have incorrectly used them and we have to help them salvage or fix the data.

As a reminder, we are always here for your sampling needs.  Send us an email if you have any requests or questions.