What Is a Consumer Panel?

A consumer panel is a group of people a business selects to represent its customer base. The panel members give the company their opinions on various topics, such as customer experience, product or service reviews, and purchasing behaviors. The goal of this panel is to make it easier for a business to understand and cater to their customers’ needs. 

Continue reading to learn more about consumer panels as market research and how they can refine your business strategies.

Types of Consumer Panels

There are different types of consumer panels, separated by each panel’s goals and who can participate. 

Generic Panel

Generic panels are made up of anyone willing to participate. However, the curation process involves best suiting the particular panel’s needs. Companies use factors like age, location, gender, and preferences to establish panels that will provide valuable data.

Specialized Panel

When a specialized consumer panel is used in marketing research, it focuses on a specific audience, potentially including people with unique experiences or in particular stages of life. This type of panel can be used for highly specific products or services, such as requesting that medical professionals review a new medical tool or new parents to use baby products.

Syndicated Panel

Syndicated panels are panels that reoccur with the same participants to track changes in behavior in different markets. The goal of the panel is to continually have the same group participate so as increase the accuracy of the information tracked.

Trendsetter Consumer Panel

This panel focuses on product development, curating early adopters who tend to be the first to use products or services. The goal is to gather reactions to something new before its launch. 

Brand-Lover Panel

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you can host a brand-lover panel. Brand loyalty can make it easier to gain participants without having to provide rewards. It’s also a great way to ensure that you have a panel of people who want to see your business thrive. 

Why Are Consumer Panels Important?

Consumer panels are important because they serve as the most direct path to your customers’ minds. Panel members will tell you what they think and feel about your company and its offerings. This information can be a powerful tool for business growth when used correctly, helping to improve your marketing strategies, enhance product and service offerings, and strengthen customer loyalty in an ever-changing market. 

A panel can provide you with information about:

  • Buying behavior
  • Opinions of your product or service and business as a whole
  • Feedback on a new product or service
  • Customer demographics
  • Which marketing strategies are successful

Where Does Data from Consumer Panels Come From?

Data from consumer panels comes from the panel participants — or more specifically, their opinions. Of course, you can also get data from their gender, location, age, and other identifying factors if they offer that information. 

In-person panels will ask the panelists direct questions and take note of what is said. Online consumer panels will use survey questions to glean information. 

How Do Consumer Panels Work? 

As mentioned, consumer panels involve asking consumers questions.Typically, to encourage consumer participation, some form of incentive is offered, which may include discounts on products or services, gift cards, cash rewards, or complimentary items.

If you’re looking for a more step-by-step answer, a consumer panel works like this:

  1. Create questions that offer the information you need
  2. Choose what kind of people you want to participate
  3. Reach out to potential panelists 
  4. Send the survey
  5. Organize responses 
  6. Turn responses into helpful data for the future

How to Use Consumer Panels

Consumer panels are most helpful in marketing research and product development. 

Marketing Research

Consumer panels as market research can support a variety of efforts, including:

  • Ads and campaigns
  • Competition research
  • Brand awareness

You can test ads and different types of campaigns, asking participants what resonates with them. Further questions can get more granular feedback, such as diving into the elements of campaigns themselves. Based on the responses, you can better tailor the promotion effort before it goes live. 

You can ensure you’re on top of your competitor research by asking consumer panel members what they think of your competition and what stands out about them. This information can support marketing and development strategies as you aim to be more competitive in the market. 

Brand awareness is essential for any business to run, let alone grow. Consumer panels in marketing research efforts can teach you how well-known your brand is and whether customers think of your business when a need or want arises. Questions may focus on branding elements, such as the logo and colors, or how often the panelists think of your brand daily.

Product Development

Creating a product or service people will like is a challenge, but leveraging consumer panels can make it easier. Before launching something new, test it out through a panel with a trial run of the product or service. The information provided can improve your offering and give it a better opportunity for success when it launches. 

How Can a Consumer Panel Help Me? 

A consumer panel can make running your business and gaining profits much easier because you aren’t working in the dark. Panels offer direct insight into the wants and needs of your customers, which then helps you refine your business and what it offers to meet those preferences and solve common pain points. Investing in panels can also prevent you from wasting money on marketing campaigns that don’t work or launching a product that’s not ready yet. 

Advantages of a Consumer Panel 

Some of the many advantages of using a consumer panel include:

  • Fast to set up
  • Efficient to run
  • Fully customizable
  • Affordable
  • Anonymous (if you want them to be)
  • Repeatable
  • Trackable
  • Insightful

They provide an ability to boost brand loyalty and serve as a form of customer engagement. Customer panels are highly beneficial in gleaning insights from members of your target audience.

Disadvantages of Consumer Panels

Some of the disadvantages of consumer panels include:

  • Panelist quality: There’s no guarantee that the people you want to research will join the panel.
  • Rotating panelists: The same participants may not respond every time, leading to inaccurate information when tracking behavior over a longer period.
  • Sample sizes: You may struggle to get a large panel if your customer base is small.
  • Bias can occur: Whether the group is randomized or curated, personal bias can cause research to be skewed. 

Have Bizrate Insights Host Your Consumer Panels

Creating and hosting a consumer panel takes time, but Bizrate Insights can help! We’ll get a panel for your business up and running while you work on growing your company. When complete, we’ll send the results right to you, and you can incorporate the feedback into your marketing and development efforts.

Contact us today to learn more about panel services.