If knowledge is power, than survey data analysis may be one of the most powerful weapons for marketers and market research groups. Whether we’re talking about social or consumer market research, doing this work through the use of panels really helps cull the field and find out what people are thinking, feeling, and how they would react to decisions and product launches from different groups. But what is panel research? How are individuals selected for panel research groups? What are some of the pluses and minuses to using this methodology for organizations making decisions?
When companies want to gather consumer insight around new product designs, branding, marketing messaging, etc., they will often engage in panel research. Consumer panels are recruited from a variety of sources; current customers, leads, prospects, or target segments of the population.
Panel Research Pros & Cons
When selecting participants, companies can choose between standing & custom panels. Standing panels are comprised of experienced survey participants and are maintained by a panel supplier. These panels are accessible at a moments notice. Custom panels require more recruiting since they are assembled for a particular study. They require some recruiting, but you’re able to get the people you want for your data analysis project.
Panel research can be conveniently conducted online. Internet panels offer some of the highest quality consumer data as opposed to telephone interviews or in-person intercepts. As opposed to in-person or phone interviews, participants are able to take the survey at a time of their choosing and the questions are visible.
Panel research is a great way to gather survey data, but the information is only as good as the individuals handling it. That is, the management, screening, and security of the survey data must be correctly managed or its validity is compromised. Also, if the data about the participants is from an old database (i.e. – used to be a pediatrician; now is an environmental activist) then you may be trolling for information from unexpected sources.