What if I told you the potential to learn from consumers and customers quickly to drive decision-making is easy and is right in front of you? I think we’d be in agreement that it’s something worth exploring!
Third-party market research panels offer just that – a quick and easy way to get feedback from consumers. Better yet, they are available right in the palm of our hands whenever you need it.
What if I told you the potential to learn from consumers and customers quickly to drive decision-making is easy and is right in front of you? Third-party market research panels offer just that. Learn more about their benefits in this blog post.
Find out the benefits of using a third-party research panel below.
What is a Third-Party Market Research Panel?
The concept behind research panels is pretty simple. A research panel or market research company like Drive Research creates a database of individuals with contact information and other pertinent data that could be useful to conduct future studies.
As a result, these types of vendors are able to accelerate your market research studies because one of the biggest unknowns in research is, "Where can we get sample?"
When you have access to a consumer or customer panel, participants are ready and eager to respond, making the turnaround time for fieldwork fast.
Typically market research panel studies are most effective when the company understands growing a well-rounded and representative sample is paramount.
For some, this could mean growing a local member base with less emphasis on increasing members outside of the area.
For others, this could mean growing as quickly as possible to create a representative audience for national studies.
It’s also important to note that all third-party panel vendors should develop audiences that have a sensible representation of several different demographics such as age, gender, location, income, etc.
Benefit #1 Third-Party Market Research Panel Companies Erase Bias
Seems pretty obvious right? A growing trend in the industry is big box retailers creating their own in-house panels. Companies like Wegmans and even advertising agencies have developed their own in-house panels to utilize for market research.
If a company starts its own research panel and sends out a survey looking for feedback, gathering the true thoughts and opinions from individuals will be more difficult.
Why? Because when respondents are aware of the sponsor, there is inherent bias built-in.
Let’s go deeper by using an example.
Example Company Inc. hears about research panels and sends an emailed invitation to everyone they have email information for to announce sign-ups.
As a result, their research panel is primarily made up of current customers, meaning that potential customers, as well as other audiences, are severely underrepresented.
Think about how this will affect studies regarding concepts or ideas to break into new markets, something current customers are not knowledgeable about. What about non-customers? What about those who don't have email?
While it can be easy to segment data by the audience (i.e., customers and prospects), analyzing small survey sample sizes is dangerous and typically leads to poor decision-making.
Now suppose you are a business customer of Example Company Inc. who signs up for the panel and is currently in process of negotiating a deal.
You receive a survey from Example Company Inc. that asks you to rate the customer service of the sales representative.
Since you are currently in negotiations with the sales representative, you feel uncomfortable sharing critiques about an individual you are working with knowing they will likely have access to your responses.
This type of bias is known as sponsor bias. Sponsor bias develops when an individual knows the same company that is conducting the research will analyze the results.
This is a critical reason why it’s beneficial to have a third-party conduct the market research.
Let’s take a look at another example.
Suppose you are now a vendor to Example Company Inc. and you signed up for its panel.
Imagine your contract renewal is approaching and you are in process of setting up renewal paperwork. If you receive a survey asking for feedback on a new product or service, you may feel tempted to share your thoughts and opinions in a more positive light than you would under different circumstances.
This type of bias is known as social desirability bias. Social desirability bias happens as a result of individuals feeling that certain answers will make them more liked.
This is another key reason why a third-party research company decreases bias to provide valuable data that organizations seek.
To learn more, read 5 Types of Bias in Market Research.
Benefit #2 Access to All Audiences
In order to have a true research panel of consumers, you have to think about ways to grow member segments that are underrepresented.
One of the key benefits in a research panel is the ability to reach potential customers as well as other population segments like community members.
Since customers can be more easily reached through Voice of Customer (VoC) market research, the potential to receive feedback from other audiences you would not normally have access to is where increased value lies.
Third-party market research panels have access to a wide variety of audiences including both customers and non-customers.
If a company invites its customers to join a panel, one would assume the vast majority of the panel would be built with loyal customers. Chances are those who love the company and brand would be more willing to join than a customer who has no strong feelings towards the brand.
When developing an in-house panel without the assistance of a third-party to create strategies to reach non-customers, this can become a major problem.
Benefit #3 Availability of Local Audiences
Have a small business that primarily serves your local community? I bet you'd prefer to conduct research with locals rather than people thousands of miles away.
A benefit of working with a regional market research panel company is the ability to access their local panel and receive feedback.
Large market research panel companies typically do not have access to a lot of localized sample in more rural regions like Upstate New York.
This is a major differentiator for regional market research panel companies and is ideal for small businesses or those who focus on smaller geographies.
National companies like Target can easily work with a national panel company to conduct a 400 complete survey across all 50 states.
However, if Target wants to test market a new service-roll-out in Syracuse NY, those national panel companies will likely have very limited sample available in the Syracuse DMA.
Benefit #4 Expertise
Ever hear of the phrase "a Jack of all trades, but master of none"? We can't all be good at everything yet businesses often put their hands into too many pots which dilute their capabilities and expertise.
For instance, would it be confusing to you if your gym also served artisan pizza and dry cleaning? To be honest, it sounds convenient but also awfully confusing.
- Are you trying to be a gym?
- Or a pizza restaurant?
- Or a dry cleaner?
You may be the best gym in town but this message gets diluted because your brand is trying to do too many things.
Market research is a much different world than other industries, even traditional sectors like marketing and advertising.
Creating reliable and well-written surveys takes practice. Our market research company says survey writing is a science. Which is another reason why it’s important to work with an expert third-party vendor.
Suppose you were asked the following question...
“Our restaurant won the best burger in town award last year through a contest that thousands of locals participated in. On a scale of 1 to 10 with “1” being not at all likely and “10” being extremely likely, how likely are you to recommend burgers at our restaurant?”
Clearly, the setup to this question leads respondents to answer to a stronger rating.
Just writing question that makes me feel like I should wash my hands.
Drive Research is a national market research company in New York. Our team has access to an in-house panel of respondents as well as contacts with various third-party panel companies across the world. We know what vendors will have the best, qualified sample for your needs without breaking the bank.
Have questions about how to get started with market research? Need to obtain feedback on your product concept, marketing or advertising, or customer experience? All you have to do is ask!
Contact Drive Research today!
- Message us on our website
- Email us at [email protected]
- Call us at 888-725-DATA
- Text us at 315-303-2040
A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.
Learn more about Emily, here.