FAQ: Why Are Consumer Research Panels Important?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published October 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Companies often send questionnaires to consumer research panels to gain insight into quality of their products, services or marketing campaigns. They can use these panels to determine customer experience and identify areas of improvement. Learning how to conduct a consumer research panel may help your workplace receive effective feedback from its target audience. In this article, we answer a variety of questions that relate to consumer research panels, and provide a list of steps that you can take to conduct one.

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What is a consumer research panel?

A consumer research panel is a group of people that a company sends questionnaires to, which may help it gain insight into a product or service's quality. Businesses also use panels to determine the effectiveness or promotional materials, like advertisements and marketing campaigns. Companies may choose random individuals from all demographics to participate in the panel, or they may select individuals from their target audience or from a specific demographic.

Why are consumer research panels important?

Consumer research panels are important because they allow companies to have honest insight into their customer's experience with a product or service. Here are some other reasons why these panels are important:

Evolve a brand

You may evolve your workplace's band using consumer research panels. It's common for market trends and consumer preferences to change over time. Conducting a panel may help your workplace better understand your target audiences evolving preferences, values and needs, which may help you align your workplace's brand with their changes.

Gain insight into the consumer's behaviors

Consumer research panels allow you to gain insight into your audience's behaviors. This may help your workplace have a better understanding of their purchasing habits or shopping behaviors. For example, a company may conduct a research panel to discover when its customers conduct most of their online shopping, which may allow them to align their marketing campaign to match their shopping behaviors.

Promote products effectively

Consumer research panels can help companies promote their products effectively by gaining feedback on marketing campaigns and advertisements. Marketing professionals can reach out to members of a target audience to see if an advertisement influenced consumers to interact with a company or increase brand awareness. They can then make the necessary adjustments to a marketing campaign using the panel member's feedback.

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When can you use a consumer research panel?

Consumer research panels can help in a variety of situations for companies. Businesses may use them to seek feedback on an existing product, service or advertisement. By doing this, they may determine necessary modifications or updates that may make their products or marketing materials more appealing to consumers. They may also use a consumer research panel before releasing a product or service to the market to estimate sales and determine if their audience has a general like or dislike for the product or service.

It's also common for companies to use consumer research panels before developing a product to determine the wants and needs of consumers. They may ask customers about different issues they face in their life, which may help them create a product to solve consumer challenges. They may also design products or services to match their target audience's key interests or values.

What are the benefits of having a consumer research panel?

A consumer research panel has many benefits for companies that want to conduct quick and effective market research. These benefits include:

  • Increase sales: By conducting consumer research, you may help your workplace align their brand and products with their target audience's preferences, which may lead to increased sales.

  • Receive high-quality feedback: Since panel members choose to take part in the research due to the incentives that you may offer, you may be more likely to receive high-quality feedback.

  • Gain insight into updated trends: Since you can select members of a specific target audience, your panel may provide you with insight into market trends and updated consumer needs. You can get a better idea of specific group's thoughts and behaviors, which may help your workplace coordinate their marketing campaigns, products or services with the audience's preferences.

  • Deliver quicker and less expensive insight: Consumer research panels may allow your workplace to gain market research more quickly, while spending less money than other marketing research practices. This is because you can set a deadline for consumers to turn in their questionnaire, and you may set aside a budget to pay each panel member.

  • Sort feedback automatically: Many software systems can sort through consumer answers and feedback automatically. You can program your workplace's system to organize answers into various categories, which may allow you to analyze feedback and implement changes more quickly.

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How do you create a consumer research panel?

Here are the steps that you can take to create a consumer research panel:

1. Determine the purpose of the panel

Before creating your consumer research panel, first decide on the reasons why you want to conduct it. This can give you insight into the questions that you want to include in the questionnaire. Determine if you are gathering the panel to find areas of improvement within an existing product, identify consumer's needs for future products, evolving your brand or gaining insight into your target audience's behaviors. Once you identity the purpose of the panel, then you can create a questionnaire that contains relevant topics and questions.

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2. Identify your workplace's target audience

While some companies may decide to select random individuals to participate in their panel, it may be useful to select individuals from your target audience. This may help you get more accurate results about consumer preferences, and it may help you determine areas of improvement to better align with the target audience's needs. To determine your workplace's target audience, consider the ideal customer for the brand, including their age, gender, location, profession or interests. For example, if a company sells nutritional supplements, their ideal customer may be an individual who has an interest in working out or physical health.

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3. Reach out to potential panel members

It's common for companies to recruit potential panel members using online channels, like social media correspondence, email or advertisements. Perform research online to find members of your workplace's target audience. You may reach out to members of your target audience directly by sending them a message. You can also create an advertisement that includes details of the panel. Most panels offer incentives for participation, like a monetary reward or discounts. Be sure to include the panel details, requirements and rewards in the message or advertisement.

4. Send questionnaires

After gathering a panel, you can send out questionnaires to the panel members. Be sure to give them a deadline, so that they can send the questionnaires back in a timely manner. The surveys can include a wide range of questions that range from multiple choice to short or long written answers. Typically, companies include a multiple choice question, then ask panel members to expand on their answer in a written format.

For example, a questionnaire may include a multiple choice question that asks consumers to rate their enjoyment of an advertisement on a scale of one to five. Then, there may be a follow-up question that asks them to explain their answer in two to three sentences that shows why they liked or disliked the advertisement.

What are examples of consumer research panels?

Here are some examples of reasons why companies might use a consumer research panel:

Product testing

When testing a new product before releasing it, businesses may conduct a consumer research panel. The feedback from the panel may provide insight into consumer's first impressions of products and their experiences while using a new product. In return, consumers can get a preview of a new product before companies release it to the market, and they may also receive a cash reward or product discount.

Launching an application

Software companies often use consumer research panels before releasing an application to the market. This provides an insight into the users' enjoyment and overall experience with the application and also identifies any bugs or necessary fixes before releasing it. They may also use panels to determine necessary modifications or updates for an application that can improve user experience.

Advertisement testing

Marketing departments may use consumer research panels to test an advertisement to ensure it has the proper impact on audiences. They may test an advertisement before releasing it to the public, or they can test an existing ad. They can ask panel members to provide feedback on the advertisement's emotional impact. This can help marketing professionals determine if a campaign makes a strong connection with individuals and leaves a lasting impression. If not, they can determine areas of improvement within the advertisement according to their panel member's specific feedback.

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