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In today’s hectic world, it’s important to have access to information. Information provides a foundation on which our decisions can be based, providing evidence for actions that are more reliable and more productive (i.e., meaningful and profitable) than those endeavors based only on speculation and hope. It’s especially fortunate, then, that the 21st century is so conducive to data sharing. At no other time in history has our society been so well-primed to find and make use of good information. Technology binds us together, allowing us to instantaneously connect and communicate with one another. It’s a benefit of modern society that, even if occasionally seems intrusive or distracting, is nevertheless meaningful for individuals, as well as businesses.
Regardless of its often relentless and overbearing presence across the globe, information is easily and quickly obtained, enabling all of us to make meaningful decisions in every area of our lives. For businesses, this means better products and services can be envisioned and delivered to consumers who are more satisfied with more of their needs met. One of the most exciting tools in this volley of data exchange is the online market research panel, a dedicated group of experts who remain available online to discuss their ideas and experiences with a company and who review and provide feedback on the company’s (current and prospective) offerings. Such panels have become a staple in the overall market research process, supplying information — in near real time — so that companies are better informed and better equipped to make profitable and timely business decisions. For some industries, the use of online market research panels is particularly ubiquitous, having seemingly become synonymous with survival. Here are three of them:
Consumers are fickle. Online market research panels can help remove some of the retail market’s inherent uncertainty by providing easy and constant access to a targeted audience. With honest and relevant feedback from panel members, companies can keep their fingers on the pulse of current retail market needs and trends, permitting them the ability to pivot course when panel sentiments indicate the need for it. In the retail world, time is often money and having a ready-made sample with whom ideas can be tossed around means a company is able to more quickly meet and even exceed market demand. With a few strokes of a keyboard, companies can connect with panel members and start discussing the topic at hand; there is no time needed to recruit research participants or to develop and deliver a research instrument every time a legitimate research objective arises because all the research legwork (the selection and recruitment of a sample) has already been done!
Of course, some industries, such as agriculture, rely on a variety of partners in order to succeed. For these types of markets, online market research panels can be particularly beneficial since they can be structured to incorporate participants with a wide range of interests and expertise. Instead of showcasing viewpoints from one similar type of audience — consumers, for instance — online market research panels can also be used to aggregate industry experts across multiple venues. In the case of the ag industry, an online market research panel could bring together crop growers, livestock producers, distributors, feed suppliers and more so that its sponsor has a more well-balanced view of the market as a whole.
The healthcare industry is another industry where online market research panels offer great advantage. Healthcare is a diverse industry, incorporating retail, manufacturing, wholesale and service functions that make knowing how to satisfy the needs of any one audience particularly hard. Not only must many healthcare companies solicit information from patients, they must also seek ways to remain abreast of provider, partner and other stakeholder views, so that the decisions they make fulfill the needs of them all. Online market panels allow healthcare companies to remain committed to testing across the entire breadth of their constituents so that no one group’s interests are left behind.
Online market research panels are a must for many industries, especially those that rely on multiple stakeholders and/or anticipate constant and fluctuating demand. To learn more about online market research panels and how they could help you gain valuable business insights, please contact our team at Research America.