By Bo Mattsson
While the advent of DIY market research technology was initially met with considerable trepidation by some professionals in the industry, many are now recognizing its inherent benefits and embracing DIY within their own suite of research tools. In the early days of DIY, researchers viewed the concept with skepticism due to the potential threat of competition and the possible proliferation of substandard research through misuse and a lack of pertinent skills. However, as the technology has progressed, and evolved into much more than just “quick and dirty” survey tools, the industry as a whole has started to accept and, in part, embrace an array of DIY research tools into the day-to-day research tool kit.
Many firms have been integrating the technology into their own suite of products and services, while also discovering opportunities in differentiating their services from DIY offerings, highlighting the advantages of turning to service-led methodologies and tapping into industry expertise, while at the same time using these tools to streamline and improve the efficiency of their own operations. So how have researchers turned a development seen as one of the greatest challenges of the past ten years into an opportunity for innovation and positive change?
Streamlining existing services
Professional researchers have discovered that integrating various DIY research tools into their operations can help them deliver faster and more cost-effective results for their clients. As a whole, research is evolving from purely managed services to incorporating DIY or self-service, even programmatic, integrated solutions in response to continued downward pressure on pricing and margins throughout the value chain and the subsequent need to drive procurement and operational efficiencies by trimming internal processing costs and streamlining supply chains.
Robust technological developments have resulted in software and survey tools that can tap directly into panel platforms, self-service targeting and panel management solutions, and hubs connecting hundreds of online communities and market research panels offering a single access point to millions of double-opt-in (DOI) Esomar and ISO-compliant respondents. Additionally, automation of processes via panel and survey tool API integrations has helped to enhance efficiency and reduce errors.
Reaching global respondents
In addition to the speed, 24/7 access, transparency, and control offered by many self-service research products, the expanding DIY trend has connected the global research community like never before. For those looking to gain insights in foreign countries, innovative software can now help translate languages, target appropriate respondents, access applicable panels – all in a far faster and more cost-effective way than was possible previously. This becomes increasingly important as technology continues to make the world smaller and more accessible, meaning companies are looking to expand globally at a growing rate and international opinion has become more valuable.
Embracing the collaborative economy
Naturally, market research is not the only industry to be revolutionized and disrupted by technology in recent years. Business models across the board are being rewritten by the rise of a new economic model encouraging the direct exchange of services and knowledge. Following the success of companies like Uber and Airbnb, recent research suggests that big brands have caught on and are actively taking part in the collaborative economy.
The market research industry has been able to align itself with this movement through the propagation of DIY and API software, panel exchanges, and online communities – all of which eliminate layers between procurement and project management by connecting buyers and sellers directly. Shrinking the distance between the end buyer and respondent to a minimum in a transparent environment and partnering with unusual sources in order to obtain respondents has opened the door for innovation and fresh perspectives. In addition to reaping the rewards of this new dynamic, research professionals can also contribute by helping others through shared expertise, support, insight, and training.
Bo Mattsson is the chief executive of Cint, a global provider of market research tools and survey sampling solutions for obtaining market insight from engaged research participants via its OpinionHUB global exchange platform. Bo founded Cint in 1998 when he decided to apply his experience of trading online to the market research industry. He then took over as CEO in 2003 to revamp the core technology behind the market research tools into an exchange-based offering for transparent respondent access. For further information, please visit www.cint.com.