My head is still spinning from having just read Lenny Murphy's quick analysis of the SurveyMonkey acquisition of some of the assets for MarketTools. In his piece he describes MR as an industry under siege, in a state of chaos that ultimately may dump the industry into the "dustbin of history." Three things about this bother me.
First, I'm not biting on the rumor sourced from "a person with knowledge of the matter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity" that SurveyMonkey has a valuation of $1 billion and therefore needs to be taken seriously. Does anyone really believe that a SurveMonkey IPO would raise a billion? Or that anyone would consider writing a check of that size to acquire them? They may be the 800 pound gorilla in the DIY space but that hardly puts them in the upper echelon of research companies.
Second, the day has long since passed when a MR company could compete on the sort of simple and straightforward data collection that DIY makes possible. Any company in this industry that has not figured out a much more compelling value proposition is either already in that dustbin or about to fall in.
Finally, there's no question that the main impact of DIY has been and will continue to be a dramatic increase in the number of really bad surveys flowing into people's inboxes. However, that's not what ultimately will determine the impact of DIY. DIY will be judged like any other research approach. Clients will decide whether or not it's helping them make better business decisions, improve their business results. If they can get the same or better insights from DIY than they get from their MR suppliers then we deserve to be sent packing.
I'm not as worried as Lenny.