‘Why and how to set up a do-it-yourself (DIY) market research’ | Inquirer Business

‘Why and how to set up a do-it-yourself (DIY) market research’

Pertinent portion of last Friday’s question: … A business friend of mine who’s in the automotive accessory business told me to try going for a do-it-yourself (DIY) marketing research set-up to really be research cost-effective. He told me that you had set up one for them two years ago.

And our promise for this Friday:


Your nearly long-term concern is how to get into a DIY research setup.  We say “how” and not “whether” because eventually you will have to. But this is an issue we’ll reserve for our next Friday column.

As starter, why would you want to have a DIY market research desk or do research yourself? Let’s answer by taking the case of that business friend of yours in the automotive accessory business and who told you we set up for them a DIY research unit. We think we have a fairly good idea who you’re talking about although we’ll respect your keeping his identify undisclosed.


This businessman had several good reasons for wanting to do research by his own people. We’ll take up just two of the more often heard reasons.

Here’s one talking about confidentiality. “One of my real concerns is this. I want more control over the confidentiality of our research and especially its data.” Of course, this concern does not apply to all of this client’s market research projects.

But for those research projects where “high confidentiality” is the priority concern, then it is for this kind of research projects that you should bring under an exclusively DIY category.

For this research project, you will need to use your own select field interviewers and tabulators. As you can imagine, maintaining a group of “select field interviewers and tabulators” is expensive.

So you should be extra-careful indeed in designating a research project as “highly confidential.”

Actually, practically all businesses in the country do not have such a thing as a highly confidential research project unless you are an Apple, a Cisco, a Pfizer or a Glaxo or some other global company at the forefront of product, process or technological innovation.

Here’s the more common but good reason for thinking DIY on research: “It takes just too long for the Nielsen, TNS, PSRC, Milward-Brown, and other survey agencies to complete the research.”


There are two kinds of market research projects where you will hear research users expressing such impatience. The first is a company with an immediately needed research project. The second is the need for large-scale, monitoring surveys requiring just as large a scale of field interviewers and tabulators.

Before we go into either of these two cases, we should say something about what is “too long” a timeline for a research. When you hear research users complain, it’s usually not entirely the fault of the outside survey agencies. Just consider how long it takes a commissioned research project to be approved. And that’s only up to the approval stage without considering yet the stages of fieldwork training and fieldwork proper.

Everything starts with the survey agency submitting a proposal after the client made a request. If the requesting client is really in a hurry, a meeting takes place where the survey agency is asked to explain its proposal and its capability to carry out the component survey activities.  It’s usual for the client to request for a revision or revisions. If the revisions are simple or minor, it’ll take the survey agency a week to re-submit. If they are major revisions, then two weeks are usual. Note, though, that two to three weeks have now passed.

A similar lengthy meeting-revision-review-meeting-revision-approval process can take place for the next step of questionnaire formulation.

Together, the proposal approval plus the questionnaire approval can come up to a total six to nine weeks. Let’s now consider the first kind of market research projects in which research users are impatient about the research completion.

For an immediately needed market research project, you can obtain considerable savings on time as well as on cost if you outsource its fieldwork and tabulation to an outside group or agency that is specializing in field and tab. These specialized groups undertake their field and tab services at a much-reduced budget compared with the “full-service” survey agencies like AC Nielsen, TNS, Milward Brown, PSRC and so on.

The bill from a field+tab agency usually amounts to only about 30 percent to 40 percent of what the full-service agencies would charge. When you choose this option, please select your field+tab agency from among a list of “accredited” field+tab agencies.

The Market and Opinion Research Society (MORES) of the Philippines has the accredited field+tab agency list.

For the second kind, namely, for large-scale, monitoring surveys that require just as large a scale of field interviewers and tabulators, you should consider two options.

The first is to engage any of the leading full-service survey research agencies. But that’s expensive of course. So think of the second option.  That’s to track and monitor via the cost-effective “Omnibus Surveys” of Social Weather Stations (SWS).

For this option, it’s worthwhile repeating our MRx of last Friday.

As is known, the quality of your survey data depends on the quality of the survey’s field and tab people. We singled out SWS because of its established reputation for high-quality field and data processing.

Gallup World Poll has recognized SWS for these capabilities by giving it such an award and by choosing it over even the world’s largest survey agencies when it appointed SWS since four years ago to do its surveys here in the Philippines.

Keep your questions coming. Send them to us at [email protected] or [email protected] God bless!

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