1 Topic, 5 Blogs: Why Market Research Professionals Should Embrace DIY Tools

Welcome to this month's issue of 1 topic, 5 blogs. Todays topic is DIY surveys. Links to my fellow bloggers Bernie Malinoff, Joel Rubinson, Annie Petit and Brandon Bertelsen can be found below.

Since the day I joined the market research industry a decade ago (and much longer I assume), researchers have been yearning for wider use of market research within organizations and the proverbial "seat at the table." And while I fully understand and recognize the concerns that MR professionals have about Do IT Yourself surveys like Survey Monkey and Zoomerang, these tools present the much sought after opportunity for research to be more widely adopted and valued in large companies and more widely used in smaller organizations.

Why are these tools attractive to clients?

One of the driving forces I have seen behind the use of DIY surveys are frustrations with internal and external research organizations. So before shuddering at the thought of someone who has not been trained as a researcher conducting a survey, ask yourself why they would want to do it themselves. Because it is faster? Cheaper? Less of a hassle? Is it a simple question? Are they hands on and want to learn new skills?

Then ask how you can help alleviate their concerns and speak to their needs in a way that makes you a more valuable partner. People like to work with "experts," but not when they make everything more complicated.

Offer bests practices and support, not guidelines

Since the arrival of effective, low cost (or free) survey tools I have read numerous articles, forums, and blog posts dedicated to setting guidelines around their use. Of course, the notion of guidelines tells the user of DIY tools that you think they are an idiot and can't be trusted. Whether intended or not, no professional likes to be told that they can't handle something seemingly simple.

Instead, seek out opportunities to insert yourself in the process by proactively offering support and guidance that essentially says "let me help you help yourself."

Whether you are a supplier or an internal research department, taking a few minutes from your busy day to review a questionnaire or help someone understand the data can go a long way towards building trust and engagement. From basic tips like giving questionnaires the "grandmother test" of understanding and including options beyond what you yourself might consider to offering to be an additional pair of eyes to review (not redo) the questionnaire makes you a partner, not a hindrance.

Embrace change

As with our first two 5 blogs, 1 topic posts on Interactive Surveys and Mobile Research, we as an industry have to embrace change, even if that means allowing others to have greater input or setting aside the tools and techniques we grew up on. As the business world evolves there is more of an opportunity to measure and to use measurement as a change agent within organizations. Acting as experts and facilitators (instead of naysayers) will keep the value of researchers high and the viability of our profession growing, even if it means non-researchers may write a questionnaire once in a while.

To quote Sting: If you love someone (or a particular style of questionnaire design), set them free."

Read the other blogs:

Originally posted at http://blog.cmbinfo.com


Qualtrics said…

This is a great article. It is essential to "help people help themselves."

We appreciate the advice experts like you give market researchers. Qualtrics is one of the few survey tools founded in market research and is now expanding to a variety of research needs. We agree with your claims and that's why we provide countless trainings and survey help throughout the process.

Again, thanks for the insight.


survey software www.qualtrics.com

Thank you for your perspective. As a seasoned market research professional I do have some concerns that non-research business professionals making important business decisions based on research designs and instruments that may be lacking quality and validity. However, I am delighted that survey research is valued so much by businesses of all sizes and that such a critical marketing tool is so affordable today. I have embraced DIY survey websites and I'm now devoting some of my consulting time to coaching business professionals through the different phases of survey research so they end up with the quality research they are looking for and still remain very much within their budget. I am also happy to give free advice.

Alan Steinberg, Ph.D.
ARS Research Consulting
Unknown said…
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Market Research Questionnaire

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