HumorMarket Research

Letter to Client-side Researchers

In various blogs and discussion sites, you may have noticed a recent spate of generalizations from some researchers which seem to imply that all in-house research is “DIY”, and that all DIY research is poorly done. Obviously, implying that all in-house research is “bad” is as ridiculous as asserting that all agency-led research is “good.” (Anyone recall a survey that circulated in some research-related groups just a few weeks ago from a “professional” agency? Now that was bad).

So why is this happening? Unfortunately, not everyone deals well with change. Indeed, we all know from experience that change can be painful and scary.

For some researchers, the momentous changes occurring in the wonderful world of market research are troubling—especially because so many directly impact client-supplier dynamics. Old “rules” about who does what, when and how no longer apply. Of course it isn’t surprising that we are seeing a rise in in-house research. In-house researchers have access to more tools and skills than ever before. And at the same time, other shifts are reducing the role of traditional agency offerings. For some agency-side researchers, these are big, scary, uncomfortable kinds of change.

So to client side-researchers who may be appalled at some of the comments and sarcasm about DIY research, please know that most agency-side researchers do understand that there is a continuum of research quality that exists in both the client and agency sides of the research realm. Most suppliers are constructively looking at the changes taking place, seeking out new opportunities to evolve methods and business practices.

But if you do run into researchers who seem to have forgotten that all client and agency-side researchers are ultimately on the same team, feel free to send them this as a nudge in the right direction:


Kathryn Korostoff

Kathryn Korostoff is founder and lead instructor at Research Rockstar. Over the past 25 years, she has personally directed more than 600 primary market research projects and published over 100 bylined articles in magazines. She is also a professor at Boston University, where she teaches grad students how to analyze and report quantitative data.

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