Research panel – a term that has become increasingly common in the context of research companies, especially the ones that deal in market research. A short discussion on the why-s and how-s of the concept of panel research would help us understand its potential in the field of garnering consumer feedback of every kind, in bringing up genuine, authentic information from the market, for companies.
Let’s consider why panel research figures as an important tool in the current business scenario. We as consumers trust in voices of people like us, from around us more, rather than putting our faith in the perception of business analysts in the market. The convenience sampling methods used in the 20thcentury like focus group discussions and interviews have undergone a complete change in the era of rapid internet penetration. Consumers are now satisfied not only by buying a product, they also want to talk about it and share it with their friends and family. Networking is a presence to be reckoned with because of the power it holds in the field of research, and businesses only stand to win by using it wisely. They rely on informed consumer insight that offer real opinions from real people and allow others to listen to it. These surveys are ideally to be conducted in a way that would compel consumers to share their thoughts and opinions with their friends.
Panel research is a method in which opinions or feedback is collected from a pre-recruited set of people. These people generally share their demographic data along with their household and behavioral traits, helping companies to maintain a database that provides access to a wide range of socioeconomic classes through years. The most rewarding aspect of maintaining a panel base of consumers for a research company is the fact that a panel is dynamic – its data evolving through the years with change in the consumers’ lifestyle, work habits and other variables. Technology has enabled companies to widen their access to respondents far and wide, at more significant numbers, hence most companies doing research try to maintain a sizeable panel, and keep adding to it.
The advantages of panel research are multifold for a company. It helps not only in a faster turnaround and higher participation rates but also contribute significantly toward saving costs. Companies can also derive insights into pricing, acceptability and projection of sales of their products or brands through quantitative data obtained through panel-based survey. Panel research ensures that a company can obtain quality responses by screening their panel based on the product or service they want to review. Hence, for a company wanting to launch a car, the panel would be screened for members who are car owners or car enthusiasts, so that the responses yielded are informed and genuine. This also ensures a faster response rate since the need to convince respondents for attending in a survey is nullified by the fact that they have willingly enlisted in a panel to that end.
Median maintains an extensive panel of about 48,000 members which it aims to double within the end of the current year. The panel has been constructed based on the important parameters of gender, age, SEC/NCCS and income. It is currently a web-based platform that would soon be upgraded to an app-based platform so as to offer better user interface and experience. This panel of consumers spreads across Tier 1 through Tier 3 cities of India, and includes, housewives, students, working community IT personnel, retailers as well as specialized panels involving doctors and small business owners.
Here’s hoping that greater research objectives are met through an understanding of this effective marketing tool. Median is ready to take the lead, as always.