Why Hire a Market Research Agency When You Can Use SurveyMonkey? Pros and Cons

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As technology advances, the traditional methods of conducting market research are quickly becoming outdated. With survey tools like SurveyMonkey at our fingertips, it’s tempting to take a DIY approach and skip the more costly route of hiring a market research agency. But which is best for your business?

This article will explore both pros and cons of hiring a market research agency or using SurveyMonkey to conduct market research. We’ll discuss how they work, advantages, drawbacks, and provide examples so you can make an informed decision about which path suits your individual needs and circumstances better. Let’s get started!

1. Overview of Market Research Agencies - What They Are and How They Work

Market Research Agency

Market research agencies are specialized companies that provide survey analysis, focus groups, and other services to help businesses understand their target market. They often employ survey experts who have extensive experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative research. In addition, they can access large databases of survey respondents who can provide valuable insights about customer opinions, preferences, and behaviors.

With a market research agency, you’ll get an experienced team to design surveys for your business and ensure the accuracy of results. Market research agencies also offer data analysis and reporting services so that you can make informed decisions based on accurate information.

2. Advantages of Hiring a Market Research Agency

a) Expert survey design:

Expert Survey Design

Market research agencies have dedicated research experts who can create survey instruments that are tailored to the specific needs of your business.

A research expert will be able to avoid many of the pitfalls a novice will encounter when conducting their own market research, such as creating survey questions that are unbiased and provide valid responses. 

This is especially important when collecting sensitive information, such as opinions on competitive products or services, which require careful wording of survey questions to ensure accuracy of results.

b) Access to a larger respondent database:

Consumer Panel

Market research agencies typically have access to large databases of survey respondents sourced through a range of methods, for example consumer panels. A research agency will typically know the best source to use for a specific target audience.


They will also know the most cost effective source to use for reaching these people. A good market research agency will pass on these savings.

By accessing a much larger database of survey respondents, you’re able to get feedback from a wider variety of people than if you were conducting the survey yourself. This can help you gain valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors that you may not have been able to uncover otherwise. 

Plus, survey respondents may be more likely to provide honest responses when they know their answers will remain anonymous (i.e. not directly collected by the brand itself).

c) Quality assurance:

Quality Assurance


Market research companies follow strict protocols when it comes to data collection, ensuring quality control from start to finish. This means all survey responses are screened for accuracy, duplicate answers are eliminated, and bad respondents (i.e. providing junk answers) are removed.


The survey experts also make sure that survey questions are correctly structured and calibrated to capture accurate data. Plus, they provide quality assurance checks throughout the survey process to ensure no errors or biases creep in. A novice conducting their own research can very easily make simple mistakes, without following the correct process.

d) Expert data analysis and reporting services:



Market research agencies not only provide survey analysis, but also insights and recommendations based on the survey results. This helps businesses to identify areas of opportunity, as well as potential risks.


They can also help businesses to benchmark their survey findings against other players in the industry, and offer strategic advice for further growth.


They may also be able to recommend additional steps and strategies for improving customer experience or market share. Overall, a good market research agency should provide comprehensive support throughout the survey process that goes beyond data collection and analysis.

3. Disadvantages of Hiring a Market Research Agency

a) Project Turn-Around Time:

Fast Turnaround

When searching for a market research agency that suits your specific needs, it’s important to take the time to find one that is experienced in the type of research you require, whether it be qualitative or quantitative. Additionally, they should have experience in your particular industry or niche.


Once an agency is selected, they will follow a rigorous process to ensure that the project runs smoothly. This typically involves multiple meetings with your organization to understand the issues you face and your information needs. There will also be plenty of communication between all parties regarding questionnaire or discussion guide design.


Market research agencies tend to provide thorough reports when presenting their findings. As expert researchers, they dive deep into the data to uncover useful information and insights which are then presented back to you in an easy-to-understand report.


Although this thoroughness is crucial for conducting effective research, it requires time and effort meaning what may seem like a simple task can take weeks to complete.

b) External Costs:


The cost of hiring a market research agency can vary greatly, depending on the size and scope of the survey. It can range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars.


Doing it yourself with a survey platform like SurveyMonkey may seem cheaper, but when you engage a market research agency, you’re not just paying for survey design and setup.


You’re also paying for sample sourcing, ensuring representative demographics, QA on feedback, data interpretation and creating a comprehensive report.


In deciding whether to hire an experienced market research agency or not, businesses need to consider both internal staff resources and external costs. If your survey needs are relatively simple, using platforms like SurveyMonkey may be cheaper.


However, if you need to allocate an internal resource to undertake all these tasks over days or weeks, the internal cost may exceed that of a market research agency.


This time commitment can also take away from the primary role and important tasks of a marketer within the organization.

4. Overview of SurveyMonkey - What It Is and How It Works


SurveyMonkey is online survey software designed for users to create and administer custom surveys, as well as collect data from respondents. It is considered an entry-level research platform that is easy to use and accessible even for novice users. Along with other low-cost platforms available online, as a DIY survey company, it has become a global leader worldwide.

With its user-friendly interface and customizable survey templates, SurveyMonkey makes it easy for businesses to gather valuable insights from their target audience, in multiple languages (e.g. Japanese). The platform offers various question types such as multiple choice, open-ended questions, rating scales, and more. Surveys can be distributed via email invitations or shared on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.

Overall, SurveyMonkey provides a cost-effective solution for organizations seeking to conduct market research or gather customer feedback. Its accessibility and ease of use make it an attractive option for businesses of all sizes looking to gain valuable insights into their target audience’s preferences and opinions.

5. Advantages of Using SurveyMonkey for Market Research

a) Speed and Efficiency of doing-it-yourself:

Do It Yourself

SurveyMonkey is known for its speed and efficiency in conducting market research.

The platform offers a user-friendly interface that allows you to build surveys quickly and easily, with a wide range of question types available.

You can distribute your survey via email, social media or embed it on your website in just a few clicks, and the platform automatically collects responses in real-time, allowing you to start analyzing your data immediately.

b) Low Setup Costs:

Low Cost

Unlike hiring a market research agency, survey platforms like SurveyMonkey do not require a significant upfront investment.

You can test the basic features of the tool for free and a paid subscription ranges from $25 to $99 per month, with custom enterprise-level pricing also available for larger organizations.

A new user may need to invest some time understanding how to use the software and all of its features, but there are plenty of resources and tutorials available online to assist in the learning process.

6. Disadvantages of Using SurveyMonkey for Market Research

a) Lack of Expertise:


One of the main disadvantages of using SurveyMonkey for market research is that it requires a certain level of expertise to design effective surveys and analyze the data collected.

While the platform offers pre-built survey templates and basic analytical tools, users may lack the necessary knowledge and experience to create surveys that generate insightful results.

This can result in poorly designed surveys that fail to gather meaningful data, leading businesses to make misguided decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information.

Additionally, while SurveyMonkey provides some guidance on best practices for conducting surveys, it does not offer personalized support or consultation services. 

This means that users must rely solely on their own knowledge and resources when designing and analyzing their surveys, which can be a significant challenge for those without prior experience in market research.

b) Time Commitment:

Time Commitment

Another disadvantage of using survey platforms such as SurveyMonkey is the time commitment needed to create an effective survey.

It takes time to craft survey questions, come up with response scales, choose the right demographics for sample selection and managing the distribution of surveys.

On top of this, analyzing the responses collected from the survey can be an incredibly time-consuming process.

Businesses must review and interpret the results to identify trends and insights that can inform their decision-making.

This may require additional resources such as data visualization tools or statistical analysis software.

c) Limited Features:


One major drawback to SurveyMonkey is the limited functionality available on the platform. 

While it does offer a range of question types and response scales, it may not be sufficient for more complex surveys or those requiring advanced logic and branching capabilities. 

This can limit the range of questions that can be asked and potentially skew the results collected.

Moreover, its customization options are also limited when compared to other survey tools available in the market. 

The platform offers only basic branding options such as adding logos and changing colors but lacks more advanced options like custom CSS styling or embedding videos.

Additionally, its reporting capabilities are relatively basic compared to other market research tools. 

The platform provides simple charts and graphs to summarize responses but lacks more advanced analysis features like cross-tabulation or regression analysis.

These limitations can significantly impact the accuracy and usefulness of the data collected from surveys conducted on SurveyMonkey. 

As a result, businesses must carefully consider their research needs before opting for this platform as their primary survey tool.

d) Restrictive Plans:

Whilst a basic subscription on SurveyMonkey is relatively inexpensive, it’s important to understand the restrictions imposed, both on the number of questions you can include in a survey, as well as the number of responses you can obtain. 

If you want to be able to survey unlimited responses or build surveys with an unlimited number of questions, you will need to contact SurveyMonkey and obtain a custom enterprise level subscription.

d) Lack of Professional Support:

Lack Of Support

While the platform offers basic customer support through email and chat, it does not provide dedicated account management or consulting services.

This can be a significant issue for businesses that require more complex survey designs or have specific research needs. 

Without access to professional support, businesses may struggle to create effective surveys or accurately interpret the results collected.

Moreover, given the limitations of its features and reporting capabilities, businesses may need to seek out additional resources such as data analysis tools or statistical consultants. 

This can add additional costs and time commitments that may not be feasible for all businesses.

Furthermore, without professional support, businesses may not be able to fully leverage the information collected from their surveys. 

They may miss crucial insights or fail to identify trends that could inform their decision-making process.

7. Examples of Successful Use Cases for Each Approach - Real World Examples to Help You

Use Case 1: Launching a New Product

Nike-brand assets

An organization that is launching a new product may require in-depth market research to understand customer needs and preferences.

In this case, a market research agency would be the better choice as they have access to advanced data analysis tools and can conduct focus groups or in-person interviews to gather more nuanced insights. 

A market research agency can also provide customized survey designs and offer professional support throughout the entire research process.

On the other hand, while SurveyMonkey can be useful for gathering basic feedback on product features, it may not be able to provide the same level of detail or accuracy needed for a successful product launch.

Use Case 2: Measuring Brand Awareness

what is brand awareness

An organization looking to measure brand awareness among its target audience may be able to use SurveyMonkey, so long as their survey questions are well-crafted, and their sampling process is robust to ensure an accurate representation of their target market.

However, if the business requires more complex analysis or wants to conduct in-depth interviews with customers, then hiring a market research agency would be more appropriate. 

The agency could provide customized surveys that are tailored to specific demographics and can interpret results accurately.

Use Case 3: Understanding Customer Satisfaction


Understanding customer satisfaction is vital for any business looking to improve its products or services continually.

For businesses that want to gauge customer satisfaction levels quickly and affordably, SurveyMonkey is an excellent tool as it offers various question types and response scales.

However, if businesses want to develop detailed insights into why customers are satisfied or dissatisfied with their products/services, hiring a market research agency would be best suited for them.

Agencies can provide advanced survey design options such as conjoint analysis, which measures how different attributes affect customer satisfaction levels so that businesses can make informed decisions about product development.

Use Case 4: Conducting Competitive Analysis


Businesses looking to gain insights into competitors’ strengths and weaknesses would benefit from hiring a market research agency.

Such agencies have access to various competitive intelligence tools and methods such as mystery shopping or secondary data analysis that help identify gaps in the competitor’s offerings effectively.

While SurveyMonkey could help gather basic information about competitors’ products/services through surveys; it lacks the depth of analysis provided by professional market researchers who specialize in competitive intelligence gathering techniques.


In conclusion, while SurveyMonkey offers convenience and affordability when running a quick poll or basic surveys; its limitations mean that it may not always be suitable for more complex market research projects requiring advanced analytics or professional support.

Hiring a market research agency provides access to specialized knowledge and resources needed for successful implementation of comprehensive marketing strategies based on accurate data analysis techniques.

If you want to find out more on how a market research agency can help you, including pricing for basic to complex research projects, get in touch with us today.

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