When you’re doing market research, one of the challenges is locating prospective participants. You have a few choices for reaching beyond your customers:
Postal mail invitations
What’s a survey panel?
It’s a collection or database of individuals who have volanterily signed up to complete surveys for rewards/incentives, whether it’s collecting points or cash payments. As part of the sign-up, they provide detailed profile information, as well as information on shopping behaviour and day-to-day product usage pattern etc
Survey panels have several advantages:
Members are willing to take surveys
Panel vendors sell you qualified completions-respondents, not leads.
Most panels are email powered for fast survey turnaround.
Because the panel service handles all respondent contact, you don’t have to identify your company as the project sponsor
The panel vendor can provide or recommend compatible Survey tool or Web survey hosting services
Drawbacks of Survey Panel:
The main drawback is cost. Because the vendors is selling you large samples in hundreds and thousands or however many survey-completions you need, they’re taking a risk on how much they will have to pay participants to get responses.
While there is a quality concern about survey panels being overworked or filled with “professional” respondents, in general panels are not seen as better or worse than other lists.
The two factors that drive the cost are the survey length (ROI) and incidence rate.
For the survey length, use skips as much as possible to customize the surveys to people. Time saved from the completion time will reduce the panel cost considerably.
The incidence rate is how many individuals from your sample will be eligible to finish the survey. This will vary from vendor to vendor for the same survey, since different panels will have different demographics that they may be using to match the sample to your population. If 30% of the people pass your screening questions for the survey, that’s your incidence rate for the sample. (Lower incidence means higher cost)
So, if you have a 10 question survey about your product launch, you’re going to have a relatively affordable panel. If you’ve got a 100 question B2B study, be prepared to spend high sum in your data collection project.