It looks like the debate between DIY research and assisted research is coming to an end in the market research industry. For years, professionals in the market research industry have chosen sides in this debate. Some support DIY research as a sign of natural progress and client empowerment. On the other side of the debate, DIY research detractors hang onto the term as a way to distinguish the services offered by assisted research companies from the lower quality services offered by DIY research providers. However, as Dana Stanley, Editor-in-Chief of Research Access, says, "The distinction between DIY research and assisted research is no longer relevant."
Dana makes a very valid argument to backup his statement. He says, "Those who misuse DIY research will fail just as do those who misuse assisted research." He's absolutely correct. DIY research tools are just that -- tools in the market research toolbox. It's up to each user to determine whether they have the knowledge and expertise to create a great survey, and it's up to each user to determine whether they have the knowledge and expertise to analyze the results of that survey. You can't blame the tool if the problems come from the survey questions and results analysis.
Does that mean assisted market research dead? Absolutely not. However, there are many instances when companies (large and small) need speed and affordability above all else. There is no time or money to call in a market research consultant or company to spend weeks perfecting a survey and weeks more waiting for an external results analysis to be completed. In a world where consumers have access to information in real-time, companies want the same level of information access. DIY research tools provide that real-time access.
In his Stop Calling It “DIY Research” article, Dana references AYTM's Kathryn Korostoff, President of Research Rockstar, who wrote about her advocacy of DIY research in an issue of the Market Research Association's Alert! Magazine. Kathryn said, "It's time to get over our tired dogma that a client cannot have custom research that is fast, inexpensive, and good."DIY market research is no different from other DIY products and services. There are DIY websites, DIY business cards, DIY email marketing tools, and more. Each of these tools offer great options and opportunities for businesses, but that doesn't mean web developers, web designers, graphic designers, printing companies, and email marketing companies that help clients create these items have become obsolete. Instead, they're more focused than ever on providing specific professional services that companies cannot get in-house.
As AYTM Co-founder and CEO, Lev Mazin, explains, “I believe everything that can be automated should be automated. Everything that should be automated will be automated. Everything that cannot be automated is art. There will always be a need for creative thinking and market research is not an exception. It’s an intersection of science and art and our DIY market research platform merely makes it irresistibly convenient, fast, and affordable to conduct studies. The rest is art, researcher’s experience, and the magic of human touch.”
Bottom-line, there is a place for DIY research and assisted research in the market research industry. The big winner through this market shift thanks to DIY research tools is the consumer. The companies that need access to research data quickly and affordably can finally get the information they need to make timely business decisions. As a result of faster, better decision-making, the biggest benefits of all are passed on to end-user customers who get better products, better choices, and better prices.