Business panel research offers unparalleled opportunities to garner fresh business perspective, marketing data and to undertake quantitative and qualitative analysis of a vast plateau of business issues and B2B marketing proposals. Understanding our markets is, of course, vital to any sector and nowhere more so than in the business and B2B world. A business panel provides one of the best platforms for undertaking market research in order to provide actionable data that helps deliver appropriate policy. With that in mind we decided to look at some of the key areas of business panel research and the best practices to ensure before committing to a research program.

Before you begin your research proposals you first need to identify the core data you are trying to acquire and the correct format that data will be needed in. This initial stage is central to having actionable data and cannot be overlooked. The core difference most panels use is between qualitative and quantitative data with the former asking more opinion and genera response questions and the latter asking for statistical data. Qualitative data allows you to build an image of the general opinions of a product, service o sector and identify wants and needs in general terms. It provides more opportunity for honest responses. Quantitative data allows you to statistically analyse general feelings without the opportunity to examine reasons openly. When choosing a research style most business panels opt for a mixture as this provides a spread of data types. In terms of identifying the core data aims you need to analyse how the data is intended for use- marketing, problem identification, specific policy creation etc. This will allow you to ensure that the questions you ask are relevant and provide the most accurate data possible.

Once this initial step is done you need to ensure that the structure, organization and content of the survey is in place and that you have laid out the questions in a manner that doesn’t evoke a particular response or provide room or misinterpretation. Analysing and re-analysing the questions and content in this manner will ensure that you end up with accurate data that you can rely on when making business decisions.

Finally before the business panel is set up you need to identify the target demographics and the segmentation parameters you will rely on. High quality business panel providers will offer a large range of segmentation options and if you are going to conduct successful research you need to pay close attention to these. For example a good company will offer you segmentation variables related to the business itself including – business sector, company profile (Employees, Turnover, age, national or international) and these companies will also offer you candidate variable information – time with the company, salary, years of experience, qualifications etc. When you re choosing a business panel research program you need to pay close attention to these factors as they influence how successful and accurate your research will be. Choosing a high variance between candidates may negatively impact the quality of your data whilst choosing too few variables will provide more accurate data but only of a subset of the whole market. Of course post collection the data segmentation allows you to categorize specific niches within the data but prior to planning there may be some groups you need to exclude or wish to include for the overall veracity of the data.

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