Lightspeed Blog

‘A panel supplier’ or ‘a value adding data collector’ – The choice is yours

Posted by Joris Schellekens on Oct 17, 2016

There is a lot going on in the world of market research. I have many clients who depend on us as their partner in fieldwork; we act as their hands and feet when ensuring that their fieldwork is executed with a desired quality standard, in budget and on time. In this rapidly changing environment we need to excel in all deliverables, and we depend on our people, technology and (sampling) sources to do so. The best package for clients is the preferred partner to work with in the market that has the ability to hit all the marks well. This means that with our client’s high frequency of projects, we need to excel on a daily basis. We are only as good as the delivery of our last (few) job(s).

The core of our business is the gained survey response we receive from a ‘certain’ group of real people that are willing to share their thoughts with us. These are not numbers or a set of demographics; these are real people. Real people with their flaws as well. It is our duty to create an environment for these people where they feel comfortable giving us their best feedback, as well to take precautions when feeding a survey to respondents. Only the right people that are willing to provide ‘quality responses’ should receive an invitation, which I think should still be key right?!

There will always be loads of interesting discussions regarding what sample to use for research. There will always be a debate on which sources to use and why certain types are preferred above others. This seems fairly easy in the eyes of many market researchers out there...The best mixture of price, the right demographics and delivery within the desired time frame is the way to go. This is fair enough, completely understandable and surely a defendable choice for ad hoc research at the moment. But looking at future opportunities or tracking data?! Let me get back to that later on.

Another common discussion, in line with above, that we have is Panel Sample vs. River Sampling.  For those who don’t know what I am talking about…In a few words I would say:

  • River Sample: Pushing an ‘inexhaustible’ stream of currently online (www) people, mostly unknown and un-identified, towards surveys to get to the desired response
  • Panel Sample: Inviting a limited amount of pre-identified, and mostly well profiled, people towards surveys to get to the desired response

There are pros and cons for both methods. Well, as a @Lightspeed child, I clearly am a fan of our double-opt-in panel as first choice for research. The biggest advantages are:

  • You can control the sampling groups upfront per survey, no router determining (skewed?) sample base per survey
  • You get enriched respondent data via profiling
  • We can estimate response rates based on actual behavior and control/monitor quality (e.g., our Honesty Detector) of respondents.

In my opinion, controlled (non-router) sources generate the most consistent (tracker) data. Would I say River Sample is not ok? Definitely not, with the right control mechanisms (e.g., our Mainstream solution) it is the perfect alternative for topping up/decrease pressure on hard to reach target groups (e.g., youngsters) that all panels lack in depth.

Another important marketing research discussion is regarding the choice of methodology and the validity of data generated by your choice. Big data, behavioral data, attitudinal data, survey data, CRM data, social media, etc... In a perfect world (inexhaustible budgets and timings) this wouldn’t be a choice...I am a big fan of combining as much data as possible to gather as many different insights as possible, so adding all possible data that matters would be the way to go. The amount of available data is rapidly growing, it is relatively easy to get to and additional data adds meat to the MR-bone in their own unique way. As I cannot control other methodologies from my end, I can only advise from my area. In this case, I would try to add as much value to the sample used for my surveys. What better way to do that than using a double-opt-in quality panel? This source can be controlled (consistency of target and data), managed on quality (Quality Suite) and enriched with as much added value data (Context, AmplifyR, cookie drops, profiled data, etc.). Is that direction the future? I do think so... Should you wait for it or are you going to prepare for future and make sure you have the right sources in place for all your ad hoc and repeating/tracking research in upcoming years?

Please choose wisely!

 

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Topics: Digital Data Collection, Online Sampling, Online access panels

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