Market Research: When to Hire a Company and When to Do it Yourself

Feb 02, 2023, Sameer Alam

You are aware that insights regarding your target market, competition, industry trends, and most importantly your customer are invaluable, and need to be sought after through regular research. However, deciding whether to conduct the research yourself or to hire a professional agency can be a challenging. In this article, we'll explore the pros and cons of both options and provide guidance on when to involve a market research company and when to do research yourself. 

Hiring a Market Research agency 


Market research companies have the expertise and resources to provide in-depth, fit for purpose data and insights which can help businesses make informed decisions related to product development, market segmentation, gain a competitive advantage, or target customers. 

Advantages 


  • Tools and methods: You will gain access to advanced tools and techniques that help you collect data and generate insights at scale, while helping eliminate bias 
  • SME’s: There is a wealth of industry knowledge and experience typically available in an agency, this can help bring objectivity into the process 
  • Access: There is a wider pool of data sources that these companies can reach  

Disadvantages 


  • Expensive: Hiring a market research company can be expensive, especially for small businesses with limited budgets. This option may not be feasible for businesses that need to gather only basic information about their target market. 
  • Lack of control: By relying on a market research company, you give up control over the direction and scope of the research. You may not have the opportunity to tailor the research to the specific needs of your business or focus on the information that is most relevant to you. 
  • Limited understanding: You may struggle to gain first-hand understanding of your target market and competition if you do not get involved in the process at all. 

Things to be mindful of 


  • Lead time will be required for identifying the agency 
  • Ownership of data and insights should be clarified, as this could hinder future efforts 
  • Communication protocols need to be established early on, especially with regards to status checks and SPOC’s 
  • Insist on first-hand information by way of verbatims, audio/video snippets, observation capability and the like

Do it Yourself


This is a hands-on approach that is more suited for times when there are cost constraints, or a need to find quick insights from few respondents, or when there are only a couple of data points to collect with a small group. 

Advantages 


  • Cost savings: This could be a cost-effective solution for those times when budgets are tight, or when you need thin-sliced, quick insights 
  • Hands-on: The process of gathering and analyzing data can provide business owners with a deeper understanding of their target market, their own operations, and consumer behavior 
  • Flexibility: You get more control over the direction and scope of the research, allowing you to respond faster to emerging information needs 

Disadvantages 


  • Time-consuming: Doing market research yourself can be time-consuming and requires a significant investment of effort. You need to allocate time and resources to gather the information and analyze the data. 
  • Market access: You may have limited access to advanced tools and techniques and a smaller pool of data sources compared to market research companies. 
  • Lack of expertise: You may not have the skills or knowledge in-house to accurately interpret the data and draw meaningful conclusions 
  • Bias: Selection, sampling, and confirmation bias are the kryptonite leading to faulty insights. In order to maintain objectivity and minimize risk of bias, you might have to expend effort and iterate a few times, affecting the cost savings that were sought in the first place 

Things to be mindful of 


  • This method usually works best for quick and dirty, macro insights. Avoid over-complicating the research objective. 
  • Market access will hamper your efforts, do explore different options for market access, and specific resources that can elevate the quality of findings without necessarily adding significant cost 
  • It helps to have an understanding of market research techniques and how to interpret the results. Invest in the learning curve. 

When to Hire a Market Research Company and When to Do it Yourself 


The advantages, disadvantages and the things to be mindful for should make your decision easier and more informed. In summary, 

  • If your business is in a complex industry, or you need a deep understanding of your target market and competition, it may be best to involve a market research company. 
  • If your research needs straightforward, or if you have limited resources, doing research yourself could be your first option. 
At the end of the day, you want to ensure that you are making the right decision for your business. So never hesitate to leverage technology to solve your problem. Whichever way to choose, remember that there are platforms such as Flowres.io that can mitigate disadvantages, irrespective of whether the chosen approach is DIY or agency.   

A little bit about Flowres.io 


  • Control: Centralized project management and end-to-end platform capabilities can help you have control and oversight of the process 
  • Expertise: Access respondents, SME’s, or any particular skill set that can support you right from research design, to execution to advanced analysis through myMRPlace.com and myTranscriptionPlace.com.  
  • Speed: The platform can get your data-collection up and running in no time. Further, real time capabilities speed up insight generation as well. 

All the best for your decision making journey!