Whenever you use an online consumer panel, you will more than likely have a distinct result that you need to achieve. You might want feedback on how to refine a product or you might want to prove an assumption you have about your target market. Regardless of the expected result, you will need to draft a variety of questions to engage respondents and generate strong data. Though the phrasing of each question will be different, they will each be looking to discover one of a small group of basic facts. Even if you don’t realise it, you will always be seeking the answer to these common survey questions from your online consumer panel.
How Do You Live Your Life?
You will phrase it slightly differently of course, but this is the cornerstone of almost every question you’re likely to ask an online consumer panel. Whether you’re designing a new product or researching a marketing campaign, your questions will revolve around the panelist’s daily life. The key to understanding a consumer’s needs is to find out how they live their daily lives.
What Do You Like?
Within those questions about your panelist’s lives, you’ll be looking for two key criteria. The first is identifying what they like. The aim of your research will dictate just how many of these types of questions you ask but this will provide important insight. People have difficulty telling you what they want, or explaining why something is good, but they do know what they like. For an online consumer panel, what the panelist’s like and what is good usually amounts to the same thing.
What Do You Dislike?
The other key criterion is to explore what your respondents don’t like. Much like the previous question, it’s difficult for people to explain why a facet of a product is bad. They may find it easier to tell you what they don’t like however. This also applies to the members of online consumer panels that are used for market research. When someone tells you what he or she doesn’t like it gives you a lot more than just that fact. For example, if you ask respondents what they dislike about their commute and they say the journey takes too long, it tells you that they might be open to alternative forms of transit. It may also tell you that they need something to make the journey feel like it goes faster perhaps.
How Would You Like to Live Your Life?
Of course, just because people have difficulty telling you what they want directly, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. You can still gather good quality data when using online consumer panels by asking direct questions. They may not give you the direct answer you want, but they might help you to see the other data in a new light.
The important thing is to make sure that you ask a combination of questions and try to understand each answer in the context of the others. The most rewarding insight can come from understanding the messages that are being given through clusters of questions – not just the literal answer to any one question. Designing your questionnaire so that these messages can be received is therefore the key to getting the most from your research when using online consumer panels.
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