Online Market Research: DIY or Use an Agency?
by Eric Brandenburg
For a business that needs to gain a general view from a large cross-section of the population, and in as short a time as possible, there is no doubt that online research offers a viable benefit. This affordable way to test one’s target market is ideal for new business start-ups and can play a vital role in obtaining financial support for your company.
Do It Yourself or With an Agency?
The DIY method will allow you to carry out quantitative online market research (surveys) for little cost. It is definitely a method to consider when it comes to researching one’s market but it is also important to know how it differs from agency solutions. Here are some differences:
The agency would provide you with access to a precise and qualitative panel, ensuring you of a sample of your target market. Unless you already have your own database, it will be hard to reach such a relevant and representative panel through forums, family and friends.
Moreover, with DIY surveys, the client puts the questions directly to the respondent so it compromises the objectivity of questioning and the impartiality of interpretation.
Using the DIY method, for example, writing the questionnaire, marketing it to find your respondents, and analysing the results to make your report, will eat up a lot of your valuable time whereas using an agency will result in everything being catered for, from A to Z.
In addition, the agency will give you its expert opinion on the order and the formulation of the questions.
- The DIY method will provide you with a basic layout which is not always user-friendly and not always easy to use for the respondents. On the other side, the agency can customize the layout (using templates, videos, images and audio) for a more efficient, richer interrogative experience.
- The agency service allows for a very rapid turnaround – research can be undertaken and results received within a few days, whereas it can take far longer using the DIY method, especially if you’re having difficulties reaching and interesting people in your survey.
- As previously stated in this article, the DIY method is not as expensive. However, for something so important to your business plan, doing online market research with an agency is cheaper than you think, with hundreds of responses costing less than a thousand pound.