How To Outsource Market Research?


What is a good way to outsource internet based competitor and or market research? I am interested in both quantitative and qualitative information and was thinking I might need a different resource for each? I suspect that qualitative type research will cost more than I care to pay.

Quantitative Competitor Research Example :

Find me the top 50 business lead selling companies and some basic info about them.

Results in this form:

  • Name
  • Industry
  • Established In
  • Location

  • website
Qualitative Competitor Research Example :

Companies To Watch Research:

Identify the most innovative companies in the Business Lead Selling space. Indentify what makes them innovative and where they source their leads from.

Resources Research

asked Dec 1 '09 at 05:22
446 points
  • You may wanna narrow your request by regions or disciplines. As of now, I think it is too broad to answer. What type of research are you looking at? Good luck. – A. Garcia 14 years ago
  • Thanks, I have tried to narrow it down – Adam 14 years ago

6 Answers


Outsource the gruntwork, not the thinking.

In other words, don;t expect to tell someone to get you a complete market research document without you knowing exactly what you want. Do the thinking yourself: What questions do you want answered, what data should be gathered, how the data will be interpreted, why will the data be valid, how big the samples should be, etc... Then the person(s) you hire can spend hours and hours gathering the data with good direction and supervision given by you.

If you hire someone who will do the work at $5/hour, you should assign the work appropriately. Now, if you are paying a market research firm $250/hour, I would expect them to have the expertise to do some of the thinking for you. But you still have to do the thinking... Nobody cares more about your market research than you do.

answered Dec 1 '09 at 08:37
Gabriel Magana
3,103 points


Have you considered dropping down to the local University and hiring marketing students?

You can generally pick them up cheap, work face to face to design your research and then get them to execute!

answered Mar 11 '10 at 13:31
Alex Blom
231 points


I've tried using for exactly this purpose, to be honest, with fairly disappointing results. I suspect it was because my research area was too broad, and I think in the future if I'm outsourcing it will be for very specific jobs. I doubt I'll be outsourcing research... its probably something I should do myself, or someone I can talk to face to face :-)


answered Dec 1 '09 at 06:38
Dave Mateer
111 points
  • How broad were you? – Adam 14 years ago
  • I agree with gmagana's sentiment on outsourcing gruntwork and not the thinking. I was after research in the music industry, and where to look for current papers and thinking on the relationship between musical 'success' and musical theory. So, patterns really. I'm going to put more 'grunt' work in myself, then outsource more specific research. Good luck. – Dave Mateer 14 years ago


I'd take a look at hiring "Virtual Assistants," they work for relatively cheap and they are task-based. So if you need some simple research done they can do the work and have the results back to you within a day or two (depending on how complicated the research is).

answered Dec 1 '09 at 05:50
Brian Swanson
341 points


You might try Amazon MTurk. But I agree your question is rather broad.

answered Dec 1 '09 at 05:51
71 points


Don't Waste Money - Testing Your Idea w/ Lean Market Research

As entrepreneurs it's clear that we all have a million 'million dollar' ideas, but it's also obvious that a lot of the time we're just working on assumptions, and use forums like this to find out whether people 'think it's a good idea' or not.

The issue with that is that we're not actually asking our target market - it's fine to ask friends / colleagues to get a vague impression about whether an idea is viable, but to really know that you've got something worth pursuing you've got to ask the actual target market.

I personally have found that Lean Startup, Customer Development, Lean Canvas, etc have really helped me to understand how to test an idea before spending money on making it happen (and trust me, I've blown some dosh on projects that went nowhere). There are also options like using mTurk, Feedback Army, SurveyMonkey,, etc, and also the option of lining up face-to-face interviews with members of your target audience.

answered Dec 31 '12 at 12:23
Jacob E. Dawson
36 points
  • Jacob, welcome to the site. Please take a moment to read our FAQ. As it currently stands, you're spamming our site and are in violation of the section on [self-promotion]( Most of your posts (4 out of 6) are used to promote your service. Additionally, you're not indicating that you're affiliated with the service you're promoting. This is considered spam. Also, copy/pasting the same answer to multiple questions is also frowned upon. Lastly, signatures are not allowed on this site. – Zuly Gonzalez 11 years ago

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