What’s the point of market research? If you want customers to spend money on your business – repeatedly; then make it an easy decision for customers by finding out precisely what exactly they need from you. Market research helps you ensure that your products meet your target customers’ needs and that your marketing resonates with your target customers. Market research is your ticket to finding out who you’re selling to and learn what they value, how they decide what to buy, and even what they think of your competitors.
Where to start:
A few questions are of prime importance when designing a research project. What do I need to find out? From whom? How do I contact my target audience? Once these questions are answered, then you can move on to next step in the research process.
In this article, we explain why many researchers prefer online panels over other methods for their research projects. To begin with, an online research panel is a pool of registered persons who have agreed to take part in online studies on a regular basis. It is a database of survey respondents who given their consent to be contacted for future online research projects.
This method of research began in the mid-80s and has become a prominent technique for survey data collection because of its advantage over other methods. These include fast data collection, lower cost per interview, convenience for panellists responding to surveys, and sampling efficiency due to extensive profiling of panel members.
Sample areas of online panel usage
Online panels can be used for cross-sectional and longitudinal research. In a cross-sectional study, panel members participate in a variety of surveys on different topics. However, they are not interviewed on the same topic repeatedly. Cross-sectional surveys can be done once or multiple times but with different respondents.
A classic example is tracking study designed to collect repeated measures, often related to customer satisfaction, advertising effectiveness, perceptions of a company’s brand, or likely voting intentions. The same questionnaire is administered on a regular basis but with different respondents every time.
Longitudinal surveys, on the other hand, can be conducted with the same panellists at different points in time and on the same topic. This type of design is the closest to the traditional concept of household panels, where the same people are followed over the years and interviewed on the same topics to document change. Every measurement occasion is called a survey wave. Re-asking the same question at different points in time can be used to study the reliability of items (test-retest), and this information can be used to increase the overall data quality.
In a nutshell, online panels connect you with customers who are interested in proving their feedback to help you market or improve your services. If you are going to understand your target audience, then the earlier you speak with real-life customers, the better. Their feedback will help you refine your offering, tweak your pricing, or adjust your marketing plan for maximum success. These interactions with target customers can even be used to start pre-selling your product or service.