Quite often I have heard soothsayers warning against the “credibility of online panels!!” – 3 words for them – EVOLVE OR DIE. The entire world is steadily moving towards digital medium – LOOK AROUND – the digital world has made such deep inroads into our lives that even the basic human need of friendship is being conducted online courtesy FACEBOOK!!! As we speak your consumers are getting more & more internet savvy – THEY ARE HUNGARY FOR CHANGE. The question is “ARE YOU LISTENING TO THEM”. The article illustrates 5 ways why online panel is changing the way we traditionally have conducted research.
FACT 1: PANEL RESEARCH IS NON-INTRUSIVE!!
The biggest plus factor for online panels is that it doesn’t KNOCK ON the door when your consumer is busy!
No other methodology can afford such feat!
Your consumer is relaxed and intelligently answers all questions asked – as they undertake an online survey at their own pace and place.
To illustrate – I might be in a very foul mood and then suddenly I get intercepted by someone asking for my opinion – HIGH PROBABILITY I will turn him down.
In fact even if I reply to the questions asked I am not in a state of mind where I am really putting in effort to understand what is being asked – I am merely sleep walking through the interview session – WOULD YOU CARE TO TAKE MY OPINION SERIOUSLY!!
On the other hand visualize the situation where I am surfing internet and suddenly I see a message on my inbox – “Would you care to participate in an AUTOMOTIVE SURVEY” – in case I do participate – it is my FREEWILL plus I will be answering the questions with best of my capabilities.
This factor itself has given panel research that XTRA advantage over other methodologies. With almost a new brand reaching the market everyday it becomes all the more relevant to understand your consumer opinion in this cut throat competition.
Many people reading this article – especially from the traditional data collection background might put forward the argument that not every segment of the population can be interviewed online.
Well I humbly agree to disagree – with internet penetration increasing by almost 700% in the past decade in Asia alone – online panels is the way moving forward. Ideally if you have not started providing panel research to your clients – START RIGHT AWAY!!!
FACT 2: BETTER CONNECTS WITH YOUR CONSUMERS!!
Gone are the days when your consumers were not brand conscious or were brand loyal. With multiple choices on every rack – BLINK and YOU MISS the opportunity.
Today market research is not about COLLECTING INFORMATION but CONNECTING CONSUMERS.
Consumers want to be heard but the problem is the experience they undertake to voice their opinion. Panel research is nothing short of a MAGIC BULLET – with interesting rich media inputs and endless creative features – WHO WANTS TO FILL THOSE BORING PEN & PAPER QUESIONNAIRES!!!
Panel communities have done wonders for brands to connect directly with their consumers. It is easier to gauze the mood swings of your consumers by quickly running a packaging or product feature test – no more need to do costly traditional research and burn your fingers in the market.
FACT 3: CREATES A COMMUNITY FEELING!!
I hate the word “HERD MENTALITY” but it so true in real life scenario. Of all the people I have met raving how good the APPLE products are – most of them didn’t even own an APPLE product. I guess that’s beauty of creating a loyal brand community – no need to spend zillion dollars on your marketing effort – let your consumers be BRAND AMBASSADORS!!!
Some panel companies like VISION CRITICAL are providing community building services – if your brand doesn’t have a community to express them – GO GET ONE!!
Even amongst the proprietary panels it has been seen that panel members have a very strong community feelings which transcends to REALISTIC OPINIONS.
One of my friends who are crazy about bikes has registered himself with an automobile and actively participates in online surveys – for him it is an excellent chance to express his feedback with automotive companies.
Online panel provides an excellent outlet for ones opinions and therefore is the next BIG thing in how data will be collected and delivered in future!!
FACT 4: TAPS IN UNREACHABLE CONSUMER AUDIENCE!!
Simple question – can you interview 100 C-level executives in 2-3 weeks!! Most companies will not even dare to undertake such a data collection request but not Panel companies.
The very reason online panels are changing the face of data collection is its reach to INACCESSIBLE audience.
In recent years I have personally seen that many tough to reach target audience like Healthcare experts are now easily accessible through panel research.
With internet playing a major role even in our daily life – online panels are shaping the way research is being conducted now a days.
FACT 5: SHORTENS DECISION MAKING TIME!!
It took months & months to decide on even trivial business matters – not anymore now. Brand managers can simply dip into the thriving panel communities and understand the consumer behavior.
In fact with DIY software floating in the market many a times the MR companies are being skipped in the research process.
Today a growing number of business executives are formulating surveys on platforms like SURVEY MONKEY and getting insights from the online panels. You don’t know what it might lead to in the future!!!
“The future of data collection is NOT HOW DATA IS COLLECTED but HOW IT IS DELIVERED”
Now you have a choice. You can comment, share, or implement. I prefer if you implement, but I’ll appreciate all three – Akshay Kanyal