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So your client wants to build an online panel…Now what?

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By Krista Joyce, Director of Hosted Research Technology

Joyce resides in Seattle, WA and joined uSamp in September 2010. She brings a decade of market research expertise spanning from client side to supplier side and even a few of those years spent on the buyer side. Krista spends a great deal of her time in the world of online panel and emerging DIY technology. In addition to her role with uSamp, she’s an advocate for modernizing industry methodologies to empower researchers and you can easily find her musings in many social media outlets including the #MRX communities on Twitter (@KristaJoyce1114) and LinkedIn.

There are several reasons that factor into why your client is interested in building a private panel, but the three most common motives derive from the universal pattern: faster, better and cheaper. With a private panel, your clients gain faster access to their customers, reap long term cost savings and yield higher quality data for their research. The rest of this article will provide you with tips for assessing your client’s interest in building their own panel, and help you identify the appropriate panel management platform.

Here are four important questions you should ask your client before collecting price quotes from various panel management platform suppliers:

1.) Why do your clients want to build a panel?

You may find it’s because they’re attracted to the economical model of owning their own panel compared to buying outside sample for their research studies. Or you may discover it’s because they want to access their customer list or database for more frequent studies. It’s essential to identify if your client is looking to build a fresh panel, or if they really want to migrate an existing asset into a more formal panel, as both require a different approach. Of course, they may only be asking because they hear other companies or brands have had success with their own private panel.

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Sensitivity to Sample: Why Customization and Variety are Key to Sample Quality

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by Lisa Wilding-Brown, VP Panel Operations

Lisa Wilding-Brown has over a decade of experience in the market research industry. Wilding-Brown is responsible for panel development & management at uSamp — in particular publisher management/recruiting, member engagement, profiling and rewards. Before joining uSamp in 2009, Lisa served as the Panel Loyalty & Retention Manager at Harris Interactive. Wilding-Brown was instrumental in the development and management of the Harris Poll Online, one of the first online market research panels in the industry and spearheaded the development of over 40 specialty panels, which increased targeting capabilities significantly. Wilding-Brown is a graduate of the State University of New York at Geneseo with a BA in both Communication & International Relations.

In a previous post, uSamp CEO, Matt Dusig wrote about sample burn and asked us to consider panelists as people. Matt’s blog entry resonated with many across the industry including yours truly. All too often, we refer to panelists as sample, but in reality these samples are our neighbors, colleagues, friends and family. As a professional who has been building and managing online research panels for over a decade, I have had a front-row seat to the many challenges of online research panel building. The demands in our space have changed dramatically over the years.

While it is more convenient and cost-effective to obtain low-incidence populations online vs. traditional methodologies such as phone, the inventory of online research opportunities has becoming increasingly difficult as a result. The proliferation of online panels coupled with the abundance of social media channels has generated a fiercely competitive and over-stimulating environment for the average online user. Throw a world recession into the mix and you have an interesting dichotomy of new growth and economic anxiety. Somewhere along the way, the countless pressures of our industry have put the squeeze on our most precious resource: the people who participate in our research.

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