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How do you decide whether to engage an outside research vendor vs. doing scrappy research yourself?

1 Answer
Vishal Naik
Vishal Naik
Google Product Marketing LeadNovember 14

Whether to do user research in-house or hire a vendor is a decision that depends on three key factors: budget, time, and quality.

Engaging a research vendor is the more expensive option. It's kind of a you get what you pay for scenario. If you engage a vendor and brief them well, you'll probably get better results simply because its the research vendors field of expertise.

If you have a limited budget or need results immediately, then doing the research yourself may be the best option. However, it is important to keep in mind that your research may be limited to desk research or scrappier qual or quant research.

A vendor might have a larger playbook of studies. As a marketer, I can conduct research, but some questions are beyond the scope of a PMM. Some complex methodologies such as MaxDiff and Conjoint Analysis have come up as means to uncover the insights my team has needed, and those are best left to vendors.

It's important to be aware that research can be biased if not done correctly. The order of questions or how they are phrased may lead to confirmation bias. In my experience, a research vendor or dedicated UXR resource tends to think about this inherently vs as a PMM I need to put in extra effort to do so.

For me, it comes down to what problem I'm trying to get an answer to and whats the overall best solution for the business based on the time and budget we have, and then based on type of research needed.

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