There is plenty to like with DIY survey tools. Of course, DIY will always be easier on your budget than most other options. This allows start-ups and small businesses who are early entrants into the market to evaluate their product or brand without breaking the bank. DIY surveys allow those who use survey results to have ultimate control over all aspects of the survey. The results of DIY surveys do not take weeks, as with more traditional survey options, but produce data in a matter of days (or even minutes)! Overall, DIY survey tools are a great way of getting quick, affordable consumer feedback on relatively simple business issues.
However, there are risks when using DIY surveys to help solve more complicated business issues. Here at LRW we focus on so what?® thinking throughout the entire research process. We take every opportunity to make sure that research provides value for our clients, not just help them get it done as quickly and as cheaply as possible. There are many aspects of survey research where a research expert can help you improve your results:
Survey Design – Market research firms employ experts in survey design. DIY tools make it easy to design your own questions, but are they the right questions? Are you using the correct scale for your interest question? Are you asking the questions in the proper order to ensure unbiased responses? Can respondents validly answer the questions you are asking them or does another approach yield more accurate information? Are you asking questions that will do the best job of suggesting new approaches and directions that might be superior? These are all issue that market researchers have years of experience in evaluating.
Sampling – Again, many DIY products make it easy for you to reach people, but are you reaching the right people? For example, Google Consumer Surveys allows you one targeting question (e.g. are you a pet owner?) and allows you to target by basic demographics (e.g. age, gender, and census region). However, when trying to get the opinions of your customers, it may take more than demographics and one question to ensure you are talking to the right people, especially if you want to talk to specific groups within your market (e.g. heavy versus light users).
Analysis – DIY tools can provide you tools to help with analysis, but it takes an experienced analyst with skills to help you leverage your data to get the proper insights. In the examples on Google Consumer Survey’s “how it works” page they use business questions like “how much are dog owners willing to pay for an organic, cotton leash?” or “which diaper bag feature is most important?” Google Consumer Surveys may be able to help you with simple answers to those questions, but to truly get answers to questions of optimized pricing or features, there are advance analytics and modeling that can provide much more insight.
When evaluating a DIY survey tool versus a full-service, value-add market research firm, make sure to use the strengths of each. DIY survey tools for simple business issues and you’re on a tight budget and market research firms when your business issues are more important and you need research experience and market insights.