In a prior post, I wrote about general benefits and concerns of panels.  As previously defined in that post, a panel is a group of recruited survey respondents who have agreed to take part in surveys and/or other modes of market research.  Although many panel houses have extensive pools of consumer and even B2B panels, oftentimes they are very expensive to use and are too large of a scale for local or regional studies.  To explain, oftentimes panel houses have a very good breadth of global or national consumers, but do not have a large enough pool of respondents to provide statistically reliable data on a region (e.g., Central New York).

Market research agencies like RMS partner with our clients to create company-specific panels.  There is a large difference between a general consumer panel and a client panel.  The first is a pool of general participants where specific ties to a company aren’t necessary while the other is a pool of specific participants who have some level of a relationship with a company.  Those in a client panel do not have to be a customer of your company, but usually they have some interest in your business or your industry.

Creating client panels is a popular trend in the market research industry and is an emerging trend with many of our more regional clientele.  They offer an endless amount of benefits for our partners.  Here are four quick benefits of using client panels in market research:

1. Customers become stakeholders.

 When you ask a customer to opt-in for a panel they are choosing to voice their opinions on your product or services.  It’s almost as if they feel like they are taking ownership of making your business better for themselves and others.  Some respondents feel like general survey responses may never be viewed by someone in the company who can make a difference.  At least with a panel, they feel as though their voice is being heard.

2. Continual top-of-mind interest through engagement.

By opting into the panel, participants are opening themselves up to receive invites to participate in your company’s future research.  It’s just another opportunity to keep your business in the forefront of the customer’s mind.  Other than the time it takes to manage the panel, paying panel participants point or dollar-based incentives, and sweepstakes – it’s virtually free advertising.

3. Quick and constructive feedback on topics.

Did you just run a new radio advertisement or send out a direct mailing piece to your entire customer base?  Do you need to find out what customers thought of it?  Having a comprehensive panel is a quick way to get a short survey to your target audience and collect feedback instantly.

4. Longitudinal measurement of attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors.

If you have a large enough panel, it will provide you the opportunity to track a number of metrics over time.  For instance, you can create a benchmark metric of perceptions of your business, run an advertising campaign, and see how the campaign influenced past perceptions.  It also gives you the chance to study behavior over a period of time as in what sources are our customers using to gather information about our company?  Is usage of one referral website growing while others are declining?  All of those findings will help redirect and focus your efforts.

client panels in market research upstate ny

Example of RMS Client Panel Members

If you are interested in discussing market research or how a client panel can benefit your company, contact Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) in Upstate NY.  You can reach us by calling 1-866-567-5422 or by emailing