It used to be common practice for online retailers to outsource market research work to third-party organizations. An increasingly large percentage of eCommerce specialists are instead opting to put together their own consumer panels in order to get accurate and focused responses, which in turn has caused dramatic shifts in the way certain brands are perceived.
Opting Into a Research Panel
Perhaps the most important aspect of these online research vehicles is the fact that they’re made up of people who’ve opted into the panel more than one time. Skilled sales managers will handpick a group of potential clients they feel are a good representation of the market as a whole. These individuals will then have to double opt into each panel they serve on in order to build trust. Nobody involved with the study should feel like their participation was forced, and they should therefore answer far more honestly as well.
Unlike numbers collected from a third party, data that are gathered in this way is usually quite trustworthy. Specialists who run an online research panel will verify all their results before publishing them. Due to the fact that all of this data has been properly vetted, development teams and marketing staffers are much more likely to act on it. While that’s the number one reason that these panels can influence brands so readily, they’ve also proven useful in situations where certain types of people should be studied. Nearly any firm that has an existing clientele can take advantage of this laser-focused attention to detail regardless of what specific part of the market they do business in.
Custom-tailoring a Think Tank
Few people would want to put an investment bank representative on a healthcare research panel, but this sort of mix-up happens quite often. It’s especially problematic in certain high-tech fields, where marketers need to consult with those in highly specific positions. By sending out invitations to those who have the power to make purchasing decisions in those fields, research panel managers can trust they’re getting a truly representative cross-section of their customers from a wide geographical area.
Responses from such a panel would be far more valuable than those from the general population, which in return can help to boost the overall return on investment figures from any money spent on conducting such a study. Quite a few online communications platforms are struggling with automatically generated content and irrelevant results. By dialing every response into the needs of a company’s own industry, they can be certain that what they’re getting back is information they can actually act on.
Some companies may have been burned by bad data in the past, and they may have made unwise decisions about their brands as a result. That may make them reluctant to actually accept any outside influence today, but these bespoke study panels are designed from the ground up to correctly showcase what the market is actually looking for. Certain organizations have even been able to help firms unused to this kind of market research get up and running with the new paradigm.
Support from Dedicated Suppliers
Conventional marketers will study a subsection of people who they feel are interested in a particular piece of intellectual property and then provide the managers of said brand with conclusions they drew based on their findings. Panel-focused groups provide tables of distilled data so managers can draw their own conclusions. They may end up having a more positive impact on brand image as a result.
Growing companies will sometimes ask a panel the same question on multiple occasions. By having them retake the survey, managers can find out whether or not their intended market demographic has responded well to any changes in their company’s brand image. These panels consist of the same qualified and vetted panelists, so researchers are usually quite confident that the samples they’re getting back are a good comparison grounded in reality.
Business managers who want to put together their own research panels will find that it’s every bit as rewarding as it is cost-effective. They may even learn a great deal about their consumers simply by assembling a group of prospects in a single virtual place.