consumer panel researchA lot of planning goes into consumer panel research, so much so that when you don’t get the results you were hoping for it’s all too easy to consider the project a bit redundant. But it is important to remember that if a consumer panel delivers unexpected results, there are still lessons to be learned.

The Product

The first possibility that springs to mind is that in the case of new product research say, is there something wrong with the product? Let’s face it, you’ve done enough research at this stage to know there isn’t something fatally wrong with your product, but how did the product come across in the survey? No reaction from your consumer panel to your product can tell you just as much as a tangible reaction. How is it packaged, how was it presented, did your consumer panel get a clear enough sense of what it was they were being asked about?

The Audience

When you work with consumer panels, you should be communicating with your target audience – you know this because you have specified this type of respondent and would have designed your market research with this demographic in mind. Now that you’re faced with unexpected feedback however, are they in fact the people you should have been looking for? Is the profile too wide or your demographic too narrow? It’s feasible that there isn’t actually anything wrong with the product but you may have learned something about your target audience without even intending to.

The Questions

If you didn’t get the answers you were looking for; were you asking the right questions? Look at how your questions were phrased, what was asked of your consumer panel? Have a look at our previous blog on Dos and Don’ts for Online Consumer Panels and see if you made any of the glaring, yet all-too-common mistakes.

When a consumer panel research project doesn’t yield the feedback you were hoping for, it may not necessarily have gone wrong. Don’t write off the research too quickly. There can still be many lessons to be learned; you just need to keep an open mind and look for the insight that is still sure to be there.

To make sure you get the results you want from your research, read our  Top 10 Tips for Conducting Effective Online Market Research