Vetting your network and knowing how your sample suppliers build and manage their panel is important. You want engaged respondents and a sampling plan that allows you or your client to make the best business decisions. It’s important to have vetted, trusted sample providers so you don’t put yourself in risky situations.
EMI has identified and managed a network of sample partners since 1999 and we have a list of 5 best practices to help you find the right partners.
We send each potential partner a continually updated document with questions we ask to determine if we want to work with them. These questions include how they are recruiting, how they manage their panel, their profiling depth, their incentivizing structure, and more.
Do your homework! There should be several documents available to research each prospective partner, including the ESOMAR 28, panel books, and other marketing information.
If you haven’t already heard of ESOMAR, they are a global organization that oversees a lot of standards and they created a document that each supplier completes with information about their organization. They recently made updates to this document. To learn more, check out our recent blog series, ESOMAR 28 Updates: What They Mean and Why You Should Care. EMI also has a proprietary partner assessment form that covers questions outside of the ESOMAR 28.
Panel books can also be helpful as they identify which markets are supported, as well as any special targeting/profiling capabilities.
Other marketing materials may include a website – not only the client-facing side, but also the respondent sign-up websites which can be different. Look into the opt-in and validation process for potential panelists.
Test them out! This can mean testing their quality, respondent experience, and how they work with different device types. By putting them through research-on-research, you will be able to compare their results to other panels you work with and can better understand their differences. This can be critical when it comes time to pick a partner for a specific study.
Give them a shot but start small and easy. You don’t want to immediately dive into a 45-minute, 2% IR study.
This gives you an opportunity to evaluate service level, response rates, quota management, and quality of data. By starting small, you are able to review the partnership and panel capabilities without compromising the integrity of a full data set
Once a partner is in your network, have periodic discussions with them. It’s important to develop a true partnership and grow together. Set up a quarterly check-in meeting to discuss how things are going, and what areas may need improvement. By establishing a culture of continuous feedback, you can build a strong partnership.
Building a network is hard and takes time. Sometimes it takes weeks for a potential partner to enter our network. However, it’s crucial to pick the right partners to maintain a strong network. Having a good network ultimately allows you to give confidence to your client, field studies on time, and know that your client can then make a great business decision knowing that they have reliable, actionable data.
Check out the previous installments of our Data Quality 101 Series: