SSI and Research Now are merging – what it means to you and questions to ask

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SSI and Research Now are merging – what it means to you and questions to ask

The biggest secret in the industry finally happened last week, and now we can focus on how the companies will integrate. If you’re buying sample, here are some questions you should ask yourself to ensure you’re best advising your clients and ultimately making the best business decisions:

  • When/how will they be merging the panels? This merger will be very complex in the US given all of the varying methods by the two companies. However, countries where they both overlap, complications could vary. While they will likely keep their assets separate for a while, it would make business sense to combine them and create efficiencies. This will be tough, however, and complicate things for sample buyers (more on that below).
  • Will there be much overlap in panels? We know from our research on research that if you’re on one panel for surveys, you’re likely on another. How much overlap is there between these two companies?
  • Will their recruiting and panel management philosophies change/merge? Along with this, will the dynamic sourcing groups at each company merge? What happens to Peanut Labs?
  • Can they focus on innovation while going through a massive merger? Market research is going through a period of great innovation, and some depend on these two companies to lead in many ways. Will they continue substantial investments in areas such as data quality, panelist satisfaction, APIs and other integration software, etc?
  • Will they do anything groundbreaking and unique? For example, the combined company could make some dramatic changes in how we typically manage panels and give incentives for those that don’t qualify for surveys, even if small. Will they refuse to send sample to surveys that aren’t mobile optimized? Will they drive new standards in the industry that will improve respondent/member satisfaction and improve response rates? Will this company emerge as a serious competitor to the traditional full-service firms?
  • Can you expect consistent data from them, separately or when combined?
    • Data consistency is the primary area where EMI can help. By exploring, testing and monitoring over 500 panels, we have a deep understanding of how sample sources change over time.
    • Our extensive Research on Research shows that these two companies are different in terms of the behavioral and attitudinal data they provide. Even when balancing on demographics, their respondents vary in how they rate concept tests. This discrepancy will assuredly shift as they combine–but how so? If you plan to repeat the same study you are running today in a few months, will the differences be because of any of the factors above or something in the marketplace?
    • In EMI’s 18 years in the online sample world, we have seen many new faces as well as mergers and acquisitions that have altered the panel landscape for researchers around the globe. We plan on monitoring these concerns and can advise you on how to adjust your sample plan through this transition.