Getting pressure to do more research with less money? What if a simple methodology could save your company between 50-70% on quantitative insights spending while maintaining customization for individual marketing research needs? Well, good news, because such a methodology exists and has proven valuable for many forward-thinking companies...
Procurement departments and broader macroeconomic forces are forcing every company to scrutinize spending on marketing insights. Marketing researchers generally agree, in confidence, that this pressure is limiting their ability to work with specialized and/or boutique suppliers who often bring a personal and hands-on expertise that the largest insights providers cannot. The result is detrimental to the quality of the strategic guidance that marketing research departments provide.
There is however a solution that addresses both sides of this challenge and, once properly introduced, will in many cases satisfy procurement’s savings goals and researchers’ required rigor.
While customization options are endless, at the foundation, a proprietary panel of consumers can be cleverly designed to meet multiple objectives and panelists can be recruited to meet any required screening criteria. This panel sample is recruited not just for one-time ad-hoc use, but for a specific time period and participation in a specified quantity of surveys. Depending on the objectives, testing which would have required independent initiatives and spending appropriations can be accommodated through the panel, within a single budget.
In the panels we have designed and managed, we see greater than 90% panelist response rates, with costs reduced for straight survey research by up to 50% and in-home use tests reduced by as much as 70%, versus individual ad-hoc research studies.
Of course, proprietary panels are not the panacea to end all ad-hoc research. Trade-offs are required and may include settling on testing among a more generalized sample specification, the realization that your respondents become less “naive” over time, and rigid execution on a more regular timeline, etc. But, with a little forward planning, many of these trade-offs can be mollified with creative solutions.
two recent case studies: (client names have been blinded and specifications modified to maintain confidentiality)
1- Product Performance Panel- A “Warning System” for portfolio assessment
the challenge: A large multinational Food & Beverage client with a portfolio of four main brands and over 300 different SKUs in regular distribution knew that their years of cost-rationalization had degraded the consumer experience over time with many of their products. But, the problem was how to efficiently and effectively determine which products were most in need of improvement.
the solution: A large panel of generalized target consumers (n=400) was recruited to participate in two different in-home product tests per month, for 12 months. A total of over 800 products were tested, including competitors for performance benchmarking. Through standardized reporting, the company was able to test their broad portfolio and identify those products most in need of improvement. Best of all, the cost per product tested quantitatively was effectively shrunk to less than $5K.
2- Iterative Innovation Panel- Ensuring consumer alignment across the development process
the challenge: The cross-functional team of a Fortune 500 CPG firm, made up of Marketing, R&D (i.e., Product Development), Marketing Research, and Procurement, were fueling an innovation engine that was developing a constant flow of new product concepts, some with accompanying prototypes. An efficient methodology was needed to quickly get consumer insights and feedback for iterative product development.
the solution: A panel of n=120 target consumers were recruited to participate in both qualitative telephone discussions and semi-monthly concept evaluations, for 3 months. Because each survey was treated as custom, when available, prototype samples were sent to respondent’s homes for hands-on evaluation, along with the concept. With quick-turn customized reporting, the innovation team was able to gain consumer feedback within days and received clear direction for product refinement, before final launch preparations, across a number of products. Total costs were 50% less than what would have been spent if each test were conducted on an ad-hoc basis.
Ultimately, the design of proprietary panels is really only limited by one’s own creativity and can utilize tried and true traditional testing methodologies or the newest and most innovative data collection methodologies like AI (e.g., Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home), or even webcam-based emotion recognition, etc.
Want to learn how a proprietary panel could benefit you? Give Diagnostic Measurement Group a call to learn more.