How to Do Market Research Fast and Cheap

In How to Conduct Market Research on a Budget, we covered some ways to do market research without spending a lot of money by getting feedback from your existing customers.  However, sometimes it can take some time to get feedback depending on many people you can reach and the amount of respondents.  Sometimes you need the answer faster, or you don't have enough people/customers that you can reach out to to adequately learn what you want.  In that case, you might consider Mechanical Turk (owned by Amazon) or PickFu.

They Get the Responders

The biggest benefit of using Mechanical Turk or PickFu is that they already have responders, people who have signed up to help you with your market research.


PickFu is a service that allows you to create polls and allow people to pick between two options.  For example, you may:

  • present two images and ask which is more appealing
  • ask if they would be willing to spend a certain amount for a product or service
  • ask which sales copy version is more compelling
  • ask which option they prefer A or B

When a responder completes a poll, they also give a short description of their rationale behind the choice.  Like all surveys, not all of the comments are valuable, but many are.  Once a poll is completed, the results are compiled, along with the comments and demographic details (as to who the the people were who answered the survey).You pay a certain amount of credits per poll (10 credits for 50 responses), with the minimum amount set at $20.

Mechanical Turk

Mechanical Turk is a service that allows you to pay people to do small tasks for a low cost.  Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Survey - have people take a survey that is hosted on Mechanical Turk
  • Survey Link - have people take a survey that's hosted somewhere else (you have to provide a unique code at the end that the person plugs into Mechanical Turk to show that they completed the task)
  • Data Collection - have people gather info for you on the internet (data mining), suggest a title/headline/image description, etc.

Mechanical Turk is incredibly versatile for tasks you may have.  Here are just a few non-survey examples to give you an idea of the variety of options:You could use it for finding links to information - perhaps on competitive analysis

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You can use it for getting people to write copy for you

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You can use it for people to suggest names and descriptions of products/services

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As you can see from the rewards for the tasks above, the amount paid to a person completing a task is very inexpensive - especially considering the time allotted per task.


There are also some drawbacks from using these two services.  First, the targeting is limited if you're conducting surveys.  If you really need feedback from certain demographics, these options will not work for you.  Also, with PickFu, you are limited to presenting one question with two options, as opposed to a full blown survey.With Mechnical Turk,  you don't get the type of demographic info you'd expect for a survey.  However, since there's a lot of versatility and skill in what you can ask people to do, you can require certain qualifications to reduce the chance of attracting flakes to your task(s).The good news is that since these services are cheap and the responses can come in quickly, you can run a test and if you're not happy you can look for another way to get your marketing intelligence.