Research panels are becoming increasingly important for data collection in market research. Access to research participants is becoming more limited and segmented (mainly due to the phasing out of the landline telephone due to younger generations, and their wide Internet adoption). Research panels help provide a way around these issues, while also serving many other benefits.  Specifically, I want to discuss a few benefits of customer research panels, which consist of groups of customers (of the same company) that make themselves available to research.

  • Access to pre-qualified, “research ready” participants.  When people sign up for a research panel, typically they answer a series of questions about themselves to register.  This is to the benefit of both the respondent and the research company.  This allows the panel company to target an audience, by only focusing on those who are qualified or could potentially qualify.  Also, the participants have opted into the research, meaning they know what to expect, and aren’t put on the defensive when receiving an invite to participate.
  • Quality responses.  With all the panel research that we’ve conducted (working with both customer panels and large-scale panels), we’ve found that the data quality is excellent.  This is most likely attributed to the respondent being comfortable and willing to participate in the research and sweepstakes.  The individual panel incentives usually don’t hurt either!
  • Create a buzz and grow your number of brand advocates.  An interesting side-effect of developing a customer panel (and conducting any customer research) is that you are frequently engaging your customers in a non-traditional way, making them feel important, and getting them excited about helping your business deliver the best product or service possible.  Customers get excited about the company’s new ideas and feel more invested in the organization, due to their input.
  • Quick turnaround.  When you’re looking for immediate feedback from a customer pool, this is where a customer panel really comes into play.  You can conduct a short survey with your customers and have the results back in your hand in a very short period of time.  With the panel already being set up and the participants ready – it doesn’t take long to gain feedback.
market research panel

Here at Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), we work with some of our clients to help them develop a research panel consisting of their own customers.  We sometimes start the process by piggybacking off of a traditional survey or focus group.  The participants are already excited and are actively seeking the opportunity to participate in more research.  Also, social media is another platform that we use to continually grow these research panels.  While customer panels may not provide the answer to every question, or be appropriate in all circumstances, they certainly provide a good amount of benefits, while having relatively low costs associated with their growth and maintenance.  Are you interested in signing up for paid market research opportunities with the RMS panel?  Click Here.

If you’re interesting in growing your own customer panel and would like to consult with RMS, please contact Sandy Baker by e-mail at or by phone at 315-635-9802.