All panels are equal, but some panels are more equal than others

Posted on 28th May 2012 by Youth

Tatenda Musesengwa

Panel quality is a major issue in the market research industry and rightly so. Debates around data quality, panellist engagement and the impact of downward price pressures have led some to argue that the industry’s future is bleak and may even be under existential threat. Running the Panel Services team here at YouthSight, I’m fairly confident that we (and the best providers) have a great future because we fulfill a vital role (fast, accurate, verified sampling with a willing, pre-identified audience). But I’m also keen on the (inevitable) shakeout happening as soon as possible. It’s vital that the differences between the best and worst suppliers becomes far clearer. If you agree, please read on!

Ron Sellars summarises the worst practices in the industry brilliantly in his Dirty Little Secrets series. He exposes the shameful practices of some suppliers and their effects on respondent behaviour. Barraging panelists with survey invites… no quality controls… disastrously long surveys… poor questionnaire design… dreadful incentive schemes… It’s all there. But as compelling and relevant (and damning) as his evidence is, it simply doesn’t apply to all companies in the access panel industry. I know, because it doesn’t apply to us! We’ve always worked to a simple philosophy. It can be summed up in a single word: respect. And it can be broken out into our equally simple four part mantra:

1) We don’t rip off our community of panelists
2) It’s about more than cash
3) We don’t want bad panelists
4) We know our clients recognize quality!

In our experience, if you treat people well and do the simple things properly, most of the problems that Sellars sets out simply don’t occur. To clarify what makes our approach different I have put together a short video (and an accompanying brochure) to explain (thanks to Ben and Lucy for helping with the vid!) Please take a look and tell me what you think. I’d like to use this as an opportunity to start a conversation with people interested in the access panel industry, so please leave a comment below, on Twitter or contact me directly via email and let me know your thoughts on the access panel industry, distinctiveness and quality.

Roll the video!

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