Tag Archives: corporate research

Stop the DIY Madness & Stop Insulting Corporate Researchers

DIY is not synonymous with in-house research. Can I be any
clearer?

I thought we put this to bed 5 years ago when ‘DIY panic’
first the market research industry. But given some recent presentations and articles,
it seems to be a hot topic again. As a 25-year veteran of the business, please allow me to illustrate how this topic is being incorrectly framed.

Market Research “Sides”

The market research world is often thought of as having a client-side
(corporate research functions) and a supply-side (market research firms,
especially full-service agencies).
Research done by corporate researchers is often excellent,
sometimes not. Sometimes it is done by highly trained professionals with solid statistics, qualitative method or related
skill sets. Sometimes it is done by people with ‘on-the-job’ training.

Research done by market research firms is often excellent,
sometimes not. Sometimes it is done by highly trained professionals with solid statistics,
qualitative method or related skill sets. Sometimes it is done by people with
‘on-the-job’ training.

The only difference is that in the corporate research world
there was a time when a lot of corporate researchers outsourced much of their
work. This was especially common, years ago, in the large CPG companies.  In these cases, the market research manager
was pretty much a purchasing agent: they knew how to match internal clients’
needs with external supplier talents, they were skilled in negotiation, and
they often participated at key project milestones (approving questionnaire drafts,
for example).

In contrast, and totally separate, there is DIY research.
DIY research is often done by people with little to no training, who typically
do not work in market research’whether on the client or supplier side. At one company
I know, the sales department has gone rogue a few times and had a college
intern do some low-end surveys. The surveys were not particularly good. And the
market research manager at the company was understandably not thrilled, for
many, legitimate reasons. But that is the sales department doing DIY. Not the
corporate researcher.

Among all corporate research work done, has the percent that
is outsourced shrunk? Yes. But that is not the rise of DIY, it’s the rise of’well,
call it insourcing if you want’I don’t really care. Just don’t insult our
corporate research brethren by labeling them all DIY researchers. Actually, do.
Insult them, antagonize them. I’m happy for the extra work.
And for those supply-side researchers who are ready to
embrace change, kudos. I am with Isaiah Adams, who in a
recent TMRE
blog post
, stated, ‘While this may sound like a depressing end-game, I
believe it actually increases the value of knowledgeable Market Research
professionals.’ Mr. Adams is correct.

This post is by guest blogger Kathryn
Korostoff of Research Rockstar LLC, the only
independent provider of online market research training (
Training.ResearchRockstar.com). Follow her on Twitter @ResearchRocks.  She is also offering a free training class to her new FOCI friends.