Can consumer panelists be trusted?

Consumer panels are a quick and reliable way to gather market insight, when the groundwork is done meticulously

Can consumer panelists be trusted?

Consumer panels are a quick and easy way to gather market insight. They are very reliable – when the groundwork is done meticulously.

Consumer insight is important, especially so in the time of a crisis. Consumers can help guide brands into the right direction, give valuable insight on new products and help control the quality, for example.

Still the question arises regularly, and even more so in turbulent times: Can consumers really be trusted as sources of information? Do they – and we – even know what we want? What kind of conclusions can really be drawn from materials gathered by surveys and interviews?

Read More: 3 Steps to Ethical Market Research Amidst Crisis

Ask the right questions

While an ongoing crisis makes it harder to jump into conclusions, consumer insight is more important than ever in a quickly changing environment. It allows brands to adjust not only their product and service offerings, but also their marketing to better reach and serve consumers’ needs.

As Pranay Jeyachandran, Deputy Marketing Director of Incite, stated to Marketing Week, consumers are reliable sources of information – if the information is gathered and used correctly.

For example, consumers can’t necessarily predict exactly how they are going to behave in some hypothetical circumstances. However, they can describe their current choices, needs and struggles, and companies can use this information to analyse different options.

Then, after developing a few viable product or service options, these can be taken back to consumers for their feedback and suggestions.

All methods are not alike

The methods in use are also important to factor in: surveys, interviews, focus groups and mystery shopping all answer to different needs.

For example, many of us don’t buy a car or an expensive 5-star vacation very often, and if we’re asked about this experience by a survey six months after the purchase, many details have already been forgotten. This also shows in the answers which might be vague at their best and just false at their worst.

In this scenario, using mystery shoppers or linking the questions to a current behaviour will give more useful results, which can then be used as a basis of analysis.

Reliable market research is based on science

In general market research gives very reliable data and insight, when it’s conducted correctly. The panels and interview groups must be big enough and representative in terms of age, gender and location.

Carefully drafted questions with a few proven cheater-revealing tricks give research the finishing touch that paves the way to high-quality data supporting companies in their growth.

Read More: How to Catch a Cheater in Market Research?

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