Whether you’re trying to build a marketing research panel (whether through an online platform or on your own) or are looking for participants to do research with, the right participants can make all the difference.
If you know what characteristics you should be looking for, it’ll be that much easier to find the perfect participants for your study! Let’s look at some of the characteristics that can help you identify the right people for your next project.
|1. Understand the research objectives and target audience thoroughly.|
|2. Define specific criteria and characteristics for panel participants.|
|3. Use pre-screening surveys to identify individuals who meet the criteria.|
|4. Consider demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors for selection.|
|5. Ensure diversity in the panel to capture varied perspectives.|
|6. Continuously assess and refine the panel for optimal results.|
|7. Leverage technology and automation for efficient participant identification.|
|8. Regularly communicate with panelists to maintain engagement.|
|9. Balance the number of participants with research goals for manageable insights.|
|10. Adapt strategies based on feedback and evolving research needs.|
#1: B2B Or Not B2B?
When it comes to market research, you have a choice between B2B and B2C.
B2B stands for business-to-business, while B2C refers to business-to-consumer. One of the most common mistakes made by new researchers is not understanding these two terms and assuming that they mean the same thing.
They don’t! Does the difference lie in who your client or customer is a company or individual?
If you’re conducting a study on behalf of a firm, then you’re working with B2B data; if you’re surveying people about their personal purchasing habits and preferences, then you’re working on behalf of another business (or multiple businesses).
Using open-ended questions is a valuable technique in marketing research. These questions provide insights beyond simple yes or no answers. Learn how to utilize them effectively in your research journey by checking out our guide on How to Use Open-Ended Questions in Marketing Research.
#2: What’s The Age Group You’re Targeting?
You’ve probably heard the word “millennial” thrown around a lot in marketing, especially as it relates to social media. But what does that mean? What makes someone a millennial? And how can you use this information to inform your hiring decisions?
Millennials are generally defined as anyone born between 1980 and 1999 (whereas Gen Z is born after 1999).
They are vastly different from previous generations of Americans in many ways, so brands need to understand how their target audience will respond if they want their products or services to succeed.
Here are some tips on how to identify good candidates who fit into this category:
Millennials are far more likely than older generations to be comfortable with emailing strangers out of the blue or signing up for newsletters. If you want someone with whom it’s easy
to communicate via email, consider hiring a millennial research panelist!
Social Media Use
Millennials are also much more likely than other age groups than others particularly when it comes to “liking” something on Facebook or sharing something on Twitter!
If possible, try getting millennials involved early on in any project so they can offer input based on their preferences related specifically towards social media usage trends among younger audiences.”
When conducting marketing research, the art of asking about people’s everyday lives can provide deeper understanding. Discover the strategies to effectively gather such information in our article: How to Effectively Ask People About Their Everyday Lives.
#3: The Gender Of Your Target
Location may not be relevant for online marketing research. A large percentage of the world’s population is likely to be using smartphones, which means that their location could be anywhere at any time.
They could be sitting on a plane, or in a train station, or even waiting for the bus! Therefore location shouldn’t be used as a reason to limit your marketing research panel.
Some more points to cover in this section are:
- The gender of your target customer is another key consideration – especially if you are doing B2B marketing research;
- Product or service-specific characteristics should also be important considerations when choosing who else should also participate on your panel;
#4: Location, Location, Location
Location, location, location. Location can play a huge role in how your research turns out. If your target is located in a different city or country then you are, it can affect the results of your study because they might not share the same language as you do.
It’s also possible that they could have a different education level than you do, which means they might use words differently around certain topics and products.
So when looking for someone who fits your needs as an interviewer or surveyor (or even just data collector), make sure that you’re specific about what kind of person you want to find!
#5: What Kind Of Internet Users Are They?
You must also consider how much time the person spends on the internet, what kind of computer they use (desktop, laptop, or tablet), and where they use it (at home or work). This information is important because it can affect your customer’s response rate to your survey.
For example, if someone is familiar with using email but not social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter then they are more likely to respond to an email survey than someone who already has experience with responding to these types of surveys.
#6: Smartphone Use
In addition to the age of your panel members, you should also consider their level of education and income. People with higher incomes are more likely to own a smartphone and use it frequently than those with lower incomes.
Smartphones have become an indispensable part of people’s lives, so it makes sense that people who earn more money would be more likely to own them.
People who are highly educated are also more likely than others to own mobile devices like smartphones or tablets; this is true even when controlling for age, gender, and income level (as shown below).
#7: Specific Functions And Characteristics Of Your Product Or Service
The next step is to determine the specific functions and characteristics of your product or service. Do you have a new app that’s being launched? Is it an e-commerce website launching a new line of products? Or maybe it’s something else entirely.
Regardless, determine what these functions and characteristics are before you start going into the details on your target audience research panel (TARP).
You’ll also want to think about how tech-savvy they are, as this will inform how much time they spend online and whether or not they have access to the internet in general.
Next, think about what age range you’re targeting with this particular product or service. Are any members particularly important to your company’s plan?
What do they look like demographically speaking (income level, etc.)? Finally, ask yourself if these people are customers of your business at all if so great!
But if not then why would someone who isn’t even interested in buying from me join my marketing research panel anyway?
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#8: The Language Of Your Target (Or Not)
The language a person uses is an important part of their identity. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that differentiates one person from another a “gibberish” speaker will not be able to connect with someone who speaks in perfect English without any accent or regionalism.
You must take this into account when designing your research panel and recruiting participants for it. For example:
If you’re conducting market research for teens and young adults, ensure that your panel contains diverse ages and genders to ensure that you represent as many perspectives as possible!
If you’re conducting consumer research on how people use social media platforms, then make sure to have people who actively participate on all platforms represented in your panel so that their experiences can be compared!
#9: Are They Customers?
Customers are people who have bought or used your product or service. They know what they want and will give you feedback on your offerings.
Customers are the ones who will give you ideas for improvement and growth, so it’s important to find members of this group when developing a marketing research panel.
How do you find these customers? One way is through surveys, where participants answer questions about their experiences as customers but this may not be enough information to gather useful insights from these consumers.
Another way is by using focus groups: small groups of consumers who come together at a fixed location (like an office) to discuss products and services in greater detail with an expert moderator guiding the conversation.
These sessions typically last an hour or two and might include up to 10 people at once (although some companies conduct larger sessions).
#10: Your Targets’ Level Of Education
You should also ask your respondents about their level of education. This will help you figure out who they are and how to target them better in your marketing campaigns. You can do this by asking them to identify which of the following groups applies:
- High school or less
- Some college
- College graduate
- Some graduate schools (for example, an MBA)
- Graduate degree (for example, an MBA)
- Professional degree (for example, JD)
Note that a professional degree is considered to require more than 4 years of study beyond high school graduation. The most common examples include law degrees, medical doctorates like MDs or DDSs (or similar), and MBAs.
Any non-professional undergraduate degrees such as bachelor’s degrees are not considered professional degrees in this context only those requiring advanced training beyond just 4 years’ worth of classes or credit hours would be included here.
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#11: Income Level
The next important factor to consider is their income level. This will help you determine how many household members they have, and how much they are willing to spend on products or services.
It’s also important to find out what their annual income is. To do that, ask: How much do they earn per year? Per month? Per week?
And finally, what is their monthly take-home pay? These questions will give you valuable data that can help you better understand the type of person your research panel represents.
#12: Are They Members Of A Targeted Professional Community?
Membership in a professional community is a great indicator of the type of person you want to include in your research panel. It’s also an indication that they have an interest in what you’re doing and will likely be eager to participate.
There are several ways to determine whether someone belongs to a professional community:
Are they members of any LinkedIn Groups? If so, which ones? Have they posted on those groups recently? Are they active participants or lurkers? What is their profile picture like (is it appropriate)?
Do they have an author page on Quora with lots of followers/upvotes/comments (or at least some)? What kinds of questions do they answer do these match up with your topic area at all?
#13: How Tech Savvy Are Your Targets?
For example, if you’re selling high-end luxury cars and you want to identify the most qualified prospects for your target market, then it’s probably safe to assume that they’re not tech novices.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for people who like to read books and magazines on their mobile devices while commuting or traveling by plane or train (e.g., commuters).
There’s a good chance they’ll be more comfortable with technology than someone who doesn’t use the internet very often.
If your target audience is already familiar with using computers and smartphones, then this is an important factor when selecting an appropriate research panel provider that offers access to these types of users (such as Ipsos Connect).
#14: Online Forums, Blogs & Social Media Networks
If the topic you’re researching has an active community online, then these platforms can be a great place to find people who are interested in participating in your research study.
- You don’t need to do any extra recruitment or screening process to find participants as they come to you. If a lot of people are talking about the thing that you’re researching, then there are probably plenty of them who would like to participate.
- Participants aren’t always willing to share their contact information and may not be willing or able to complete surveys that require personal questions (e.g., income level).
You may also have difficulty getting them on the phone if they don’t want this kind of interaction with strangers.
A vacation can offer more than relaxation; it can also provide valuable lessons for marketing research. Discover the unexpected insights from a trip to Iran and how they can impact your approach: 11 Lessons Learned from a Vacation to Iran for Marketing Research.
Hopefully, we’ve got you more excited (and maybe a little less nervous) about embarking on a plant-based lifestyle. We know the struggle, and we came to these tips even the one about watching badminton! through our trial and error.
Remember that the important thing is to keep on trying. As we covered earlier, you don’t have to go super hard on yourself for slip-ups, because this journey can take time and looks different for everyone.
Plus, don’t forget that the best way to keep yourself on track is to keep it fun, keep positive, and keep yourself engaged with the people and the world around you. After all, caring about others is a great reason to switch to this lifestyle in the first place!
Here are some additional resources to further enhance your understanding of marketing research:
Guide to Understanding the Buyer’s Journey in Market Research Gain insights into the buyer’s journey and its impact on market research with this comprehensive guide. Explore the stages buyers go through and how research can align with their needs. Check it out on HubSpot Marketing Blog.
Finding and Engaging Respondents for Market Research Learn effective strategies for locating and engaging respondents in your market research efforts. Discover tips for improving response rates and ensuring valuable insights. Read the article on QuestionPro Blog.
Choosing the Right Market Research Firm: 3 Key Questions When selecting a market research firm, asking the right questions is essential. Explore three key questions that can guide you in making the right choice for your research needs. Visit The Farnsworth Group Blog to find out more.
How does understanding the buyer’s journey impact market research?
Understanding the buyer’s journey is crucial for effective market research. It allows researchers to tailor their efforts to match the stages buyers go through, from awareness to purchase, ensuring that insights are aligned with customer needs.
What are some strategies for improving respondent engagement in market research?
To enhance respondent engagement, consider offering incentives, optimizing survey length, and personalizing communication. These strategies can lead to higher response rates and more valuable data.
What role does a market research firm play in decision-making?
A market research firm provides expert guidance and data-driven insights that inform decision-making processes. Their expertise helps businesses make informed choices and adapt strategies based on accurate information.
How can I ensure the market research firm I choose is the right fit?
Ask about the firm’s experience in your industry, inquire about their methodologies, and request case studies or references. Evaluating these factors can help you determine if a market research firm aligns with your needs.
Why is formulating the right questions important in market research?
The quality of questions directly impacts the quality of data gathered. Well-formulated questions ensure clarity and relevance, leading to more accurate insights that drive effective decision-making.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.