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Online Panel Benefits, Risks for Electric Utility Market Researchers

Custom online panels are very popular with market researchers within electric utilities.

Designed and used properly, they are powerful assets in the research department and throughout the entire electric utility organization.

However, despite the tremendous promise of these assets, many online panel initiatives fail. Of the top 10 mistakes, here are 5 custom online panel pitfalls that I believe electric utility companies should focus on:

1. Your exact research needs are unclear. You need to know your internal clients’ business needs and the type of studies needed to support them.

2. The panel size is not right and your recruiting efforts rely too heavily on collecting email addresses. The optimally-sized panel should allow panelists to participate in studies at least 2 or 3 times per month. And while email is usually the right place to start recruiting, there are other strategies that can increase the size and diversity of your panel, including websites and even “river” recruitment.

 3. Improper panel marketing can result in over promising what the panel can do to your internal clients. The panel needs to be designed, tested, and staffed first before it can be socialized inside the company.

 4. Poor quality control of the panel will hurt your response rates and the data integrity. Speeding, straight-lining, and other silent killers can infiltrate your panel if you don’t have measure in place to protect it.

5. The study you launch on the panel isn’t feasible. Without the means to accurately project the deliverability of a particular project from the panel, you may end up with quotas that cannot be completely delivered, and final data that is insufficient to deliver the answers you need.

So before you embark on a new online panel for your high-profile, important, electric utility market research , take a minute to read our eReport on Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Building and Using a Custom Panel.

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