I just completed an online survey at the invitation of a company I’ve purchased from in the past. It was obvious that the survey was an example of what the market research industry calls “D-I-Y” research. If the quality of the questionnaire had not given this away, there was the “Powered by [name of enterprise feedback software vendor]” at the bottom of the screen. I was asked to look at two different print ads for one of the products this company sells and answer a few questions that bore some slight resemblance to the questions you might find in an ad test conducted by one of the MR firms that specialize in that type of work.
One can only assume that the results of this survey are meant to drive a decision of which ad to run (there may be other candidates that I didn’t see). If that’s true, then I think this may be a case where D-I-Y will turn out to be worse than no research at all. The acid test for any market research is whether or not the decisions made on the basis of that research are “better” than the decision that would have been made without the research. (more…)