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→ Consumer & B2B Market Research Panels :: Marketing Research Panel Consultants ←

A marketing research panel is a reliable source of primary marketing research information. For B2B marketing research, or consumer marketing research, ongoing marketing research panels are an effective research method to efficiently tap customer attitude and behavior patterns.

What is a customer research panel?

Customer research panels are pre-recruited groups in an audience of interest willing to participate in marketing research events such as focus groups, surveys, or usability tests. Panel members might be current customers, sales leads, prospective customers, or members of an identified target segment your company wishes to target.

Members of customer research panels may be given incentives in the form of cash or gifts for their participation in the research panel. With rise of privacy concerns among the general public, the customer research panel approach is often viewed as a sound alternative to the use of fresh, random sample probability samples through phone interviews which are sound theory yet impossible to execute without extreme costs. For customer research panels to offer advantages, however, they require excellent management, security, screening, and member replacement. We may contact panel respondents (members) using the internet, phone, mail or home visits depending on the requirements of the study.

Custom versus Standing Research Panels

A standing customer research panel is one maintained by a panel supplier, some maintaining national and worldwide memberships of a million or more members. These standing panels are quickly tapped as the membership is already in place.

A custom panel is proprietary for our client, such as customer or hot prospect panels. In consumer markets, a custom customer research panel may be built using a standing panel as the starting recruitment base.

Research Panel Recruitment Methods

Panels are recruited by a combination of online and offline methods (telephone, mail, banner advertising, print advertising, publicity). The recruiting is designed to make the panel as representative of its target population as possible. Sponsorship may be revealed or anonymous.

Internet Customer Research Panels

Internet questionnaires directed to panel members offer advantages in most cases. They have mostly replaced mail and phone contact methods, although these contact methods are sometimes required. Web contact offers the advantages of visual materials and time to ponder questions before answering, and allow members to respond when it is convenient for them.

Advantages of Internet Customer Research Panels
Under tight controls, internet customer research panels offer quality survey data often superior to that telephone interviews or mall-intercepts. Respondents take an internet survey at a time of their own choosing, when they can give it their full attention. Participants see (not just "hear") the questions and answer choices. Every interview is conducted precisely the same way, without interviewer bias or variance. Individuals can take as much time as they need to think about the answer to a question. Pictures, sounds, and video can be incorporated into online questionnaires.

Member Compensation

We typically compensate customer research panel members for completing surveys: the longer the survey, the greater the cash incentive. We may arrange for other benefits, services, and awards to members. We carefully protect members' privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity.

Customer Research Panel Maintenance

The usage of customer research panel members is monitored and limited. A typical panelist participates in only three or four studies per year. An online help desk provides "live" assistance to respondents during surveys. Out-of-date email addresses are cleaned from each panel weekly. All nonresponders are systematically removed from the panels. New panelists are constantly added to keep each panel "fresh." Recruiting goals are adjusted monthly to keep the customer research panels balanced and representative.

Specialized Customer Research Panels
In certain cases, we may use specialized samples of such groups as executives, IT managers, doctors, lawyers, chronic pain sufferers and other special interest groups.

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