In the past few years online panel companies have mushroomed across Asia Pacific region. The situation is even worse in countries like India where we have such companies sprouting up dime a dozen. What are the challenges for established companies? How can an upcoming genuine player cut through the cacophony? What are the ways that research buyers can utilize to select best possible vendors? How should the upcoming online panel companies devise their marketing strategies? The article illustrates what currently is plaguing online panel industry and how we can come to a plausible solution.
Established companies- How to compete with new companies willing to cut prices to win projects?
Solution: Always remember businesses are to be run as marathon and not a 100 meter sprint race.
IN LONGER RUN ONLY QUALITY SURVIVES.
Established players have inherent problem of losing out flexibility due to voluminous nature. Large companies should understand the “threshold value” of their panel cost and establish a strong pricing model.
NEVER EVER OVERSELL TO WIN A PROJECT.
It is understandable that the sales team will try to meet their targets but the senior management has to set precedence and not fall into the trap of CHEAPEST PRICE PROPOSITION. A good panel is the one which is adequately incentivized.
Lowering the panel cost will affect the response rate in the longer run and will drastically affect the business. Established players have the means to provide value addition to the clients in the form of technology, which a new entrant sorely misses.
The bandwidth as well as goodwill available with a larger company can help it in the cut throat competition.
New Players – How to cut through the noise of ME TOO companies?
Solution: In the business world there is no substitute for GENUINTY – most of the panel players coming in the market are just for a QUICK BUCK and unfortunately will burn innumerable clients.
PATIENCE is the name of the game.
NEVER EVER COMPROMISE ON QUALITY – new players have to build a solid reputation “piece by piece”.
There will be no shortcuts available to cut corners.
New players should rely heavily on FACTS and not MARKETING GIMMICKS to attract clients. Niche segment online panels for e.g. Healthcare Specialists are in acute demand and therefore upcoming companies should try to recruit such respondents for an attractive value proposition to their clients.
NEVER OVERSELL – in the initial stages of the formation of the company there will be too many temptations to oversell your services to win projects. However a new company will always have the bandwidth issues to stretch their services, therefore advisable to politely refuse what seems to be a tough project.
ALWAYS REMEMBER IT IS BETTER TO SAY NO THAN TO SAY SORRY.
Panel Buyers – How to pick up the best vendor for your project?
Solution: OLD IS GOLD is an oft repeated proverb and in a way rightly suited for the current scenario.
DON’T GO FOR THE PRICE BUT RELY ON THE CREDIBILITY.
Larger enterprises have their reputation at stake and therefore negligible chances of retracting from a committed project where as a new player might have oversold you the project with high probability of not meeting your quality standards.
In case the panel buyers want to test a new vendor it is advisable to use them for an easy project to start with. Many a times it has been a common scenario where a tough project has been refused by larger companies eventually is picked up by an upcoming company merely to win the project.
The situation is fraught with many pit holes with high chances of quality been compromised. Look deep inside through the marketing gimmicks and probe the facts and figures – this will many a times help to strike out dubious vendors.
Although there is no thumb rule for selecting panel vendors but maintaining and strictly following a check list is highly recommended.
Marketing strategies – How to maximize dollar spent by an upcoming company?
Solution: In the initial stages new panel companies should focus in creating credibility in the market.
Marketing budget should be spent on getting memberships for organizations like – ESOMAR, CASRO, MRA to name a few. Company representatives should also actively participate in conferences organized by the mentioned forums.
Market research sales is a bit unique as the target audience i.e. researchers are a busy lot and therefore should be approached cautiously and non-intrusively. Social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook etc. are good free resources available to market the company services.
In a nutshell ALWAYS REMEMBER IF THE CLAIM IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE – PROBABLY IT AIN’T TRUE!!
Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three - Akshay Kanyal