Editor's note: Morgan Molnar is senior manager, product marketing, SurveyMonkey Audience. 

In these days of cloud software tools and lean startup methodologies, DIY market research is making an impact in more and more functions and use cases. Departments in big organizations, small teams and individual professionals who formerly had no access to the budget, time and internal resources to get market research studies done for their initiatives now see that they can become hunter-gatherers of their own data. 

They can arm themselves with DIY market research software tools – online surveys and audience panels, Web site feedback mechanisms, SEO analysis suites, social listening platforms and others – and listen to real consumers, prospects, customers or employees. Without having to wait for an agency presentation, they then bring home the prey: the much sought-after actionable insights that can power their strategies and drive growth and innovation in their organization. Yes, it is a whole new world out there. 

In this article I’ll take a closer look at examples of how these disruptive dynamics are altering five specific market research use cases: consumer behavior, concept testing, brand research, competitive intelligence and market sizing. 

We’ll look at companies gigantic and tiny, e-commerce startups and CPG titans, businesses on both the East and the West Coast. By looking at real stories from the trenches, from actual companies living this revolution, I hope to illuminate how transformative this new era of DIY market research is turning out to be.

Many knowledge-industry jobs these days are based on knowing what others don’t know and knowing it sooner than anyone else. Such is the case with research analysts at investment services firms, who are tasked with finding exclusive insights about the markets they cover so that they can share them with their investor clients. 

Aaron Kessl...