The concept of “do-it-yourself” may bring to mind images of re-tiling the bathroom floor or reseeding the lawn. But DIY goes far beyond home improvement projects. About five years ago, online do-it-yourself sample tools began trending. Sample companies would create these tools for clients at little to no charge to facilitate sample buying. However, it wasn’t long before clients realized, like many of us who’ve tried to tile a floor, it may look easy, but looks can be deceiving.
When one engages in a do-it-yourself project, there is a certain level of satisfaction knowing that you control more of the process. You determine when to start the project, how long the project will last and get the praise if the project is a success. DIY sample platforms may be of interest to some companies requiring online sample for similar reasons – control and convenience. With a DIY sample tool, buyers can purchase sample at their discretion without going through the bidding process and the hassle of emailing multiple sample companies. However, sample buying through a DIY tool is complex. There are many moving parts on the backend like profiling, segmentation, and project management. Not to mention the learning curve to making the tool work.
Due to the overwhelming burden of onboarding online DIY sample tools, vendors end up assisting the client or assuming control of the project entirely. This puts them right where they should have been all along – doing the data collections for the client.
A second reason why DIY sampling is not a fit for everyone is the pricing models. Every sample company uses an entirely different methodology when generating sample and how they price it. The algorithms they use are different, and how they conduct their surveys vary. When market research firms use a DIY sample tool, they typically see their sample automatically paused due to low conversion. A price increase is required to continue. Other tools might not pause the project but will give the survey a lower score and not make it visible to panelists, negatively impacting the conversion rate.
Often, clients don’t know how to profile correctly, so the criteria is fragmented. This, too, causes the conversion rate to decrease, which prompts the DIY algorithm to pause the project and ask for more money. If additional budget is not added, the survey is dead in the water.
DIY sample tools, in theory, are high in utility. But in reality, they end up being a hassle for the clients that don’t know how to use them. Instead of spending time, resources, and budget to learn the ins and outs of a DIY sample tool, that budget would be better served retaining the services of a qualified sample company that is ready and willing to collect and deliver the data you need. That way, you can get back to doing what you’re good at.