consumer panelsIn the current economic climate most brands are looking to reduce their costs. Especially for things like market research. More and more marketing departments are exploring ways to perform research in-house, without the overhead cost of using a market research agency.

To sell the right things to the right people, you need to know what they like and the best way to do that is to ask them. That’s why consumer panels are such a popular method for performing market research. They are quick to provide feedback, immediately available and a true representation of the market you are targeting. But in order to ask panel members a question, you need to find them first. For a brand wanting to bring their research in-house, there are a number of ways to recruit consumer panel members.

Social Media

These days every facet of every business seems intent on leveraging social media. Using social media to recruit panel members seems a natural fit. Facebook and Twitter alone have a combined usership of over 1.5 billion, that’s a huge list of people to work on. The question is where do you start?

There are a near infinite number of social networks available, each one appeals to multiple demographics. Within those groupings, people connect through friends and family, which can create really erratic patterns in their friend or follower lists. It’s very difficult to identify who gives you access to who. The best way to do that is to do some research on the social media network itself, which is exactly what you were trying to avoid.

Traditional Advertising

The first thing most brands would do to recruit consumer panel members is advertise. However traditional advertising is steadily declining in relevance for the modern consumer. More and more of advertising budgets are being shifted towards online and social media advertising. That advertising is carefully targeted using market research. Which again brings your search for consumer panel members back to square one.

Mobile

The latest buzzword, taking over from social media, is mobile. Every brand wants an app or mobile site. There’s a real scramble to use the growing mobile space. So why not use it for panel recruitment? Everybody uses a mobile device every day, so you should have access to whatever demographic you want.

The problem with mobile is it’s really undefined at the moment. Most mobile device users are reluctant to give out their contact details so do you build an app at a huge cost simply to access consumer panel members, or create a text or location based campaign? It’s probably best to answer that with another question. What would most people do having received a text that read ‘do you want to earn money online?’ It’s not the ideal medium to be basing a strategic panel recruitment campaign on – at least not yet anyway.

Contact an Online Panel Provider

The best way to recruit a consumer panel is to get someone else to do it. That may be something you were trying to avoid, but there are few effective alternatives that will cost less than using a panel provider. Panel providers typically cost less than using a market research agency but still provide all of the same expertise when it comes to recruiting and managing a consumer panel. It might at first seem easy to find consumer panel members on your own but before you do that, talk to a panel provider and see if they can help. They do it all the time so they are most likely going to be very good at it.

Online panel research helps you make sound business decisions. Download our free white paper for some help on how to get the most from your panel research.