Recently, I came across an article on Toluna launching its DIY Communities platform which made me think about the do-it-yourself age we live in. Having its roots as a term in the home improvement ideas, the DIY approach has evolved at so many levels, reaching the marketing industry, as well.

Combining the DIY thinking with the evolving technology has enabled researchers and marketing professionals to “do it themselves”. For some years now, the idea of “why contracting a market research agency/ consultant when I can ask customers a few questions on my own” has enabled low-cost online platforms such as SurveyMonkey to enter the market research world. But what does DIY research refer to? In a broader sense, it’s a toolset whose commonality is not requiring an outside consultant/ agency.

As any other innovation though, DIY research has rapidly raised both advocates and opponents around its proposed approach.

Some feel DIY has many disadvantages, enabling poorly-designed and poorly-executed research and putting it into the hands of less experienced people. The DIY person’s lack of knowledge most often shows up in the mediocre questionnaire and sampling development, not answering specific business questions. But wouldn’t those who misuse DIY research fail just as do those who misuse traditional research?

On the other hand, others feel that DIY is a good research approach, the inevitable result of progress and higher customer empowerment. Even more, in times in which budgets are shrinking and costs are lowered, DIY approaches bring the cost of research services down to a more affordable level for more people and companies. But wouldn’t those who properly use DIY research bring a bias or too much subjectivity in the studies they conduct?

We are curious to find out your views on this topic. Feel free to comment on this blog post and let us know your thoughts.

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