Recently, one of our tech clients approached our strategy team with a problem: they wanted to make their business-to-business (B2B) marketing research panel more diverse, but didn’t know where to start. So this got us thinking: What does making a research panel more diverse really mean, and why does it matter?
First things first: A marketing research panel consists of a voluntary survey of respondents who are willing to answer questions typically related to a company’s brand, marketing campaign, or new products. Marketing research panels help companies make crucial business decisions, including those related to product launches and brand campaigns. B2B marketing research panels focus specifically on the needs of B2B companies, such as identifying new features to add to an existing enterprise software product.
Creating a diverse B2B marketing research panel isn’t about checking a box. It has a real, utilitarian purpose connected to achieving business goals. In B2B product development, diversity in panel members means incorporating critical feedback from a wide range of product users and decision makers who are representative of a product’s end users. For example, a B2B enterprise software tech company that specializes in customer relationship management (CRM) might want to include panel members who are marketers (not just salespeople) because, as one group of the software’s end users, marketers can ensure that the CRM software allows them to easily provide marketing materials to the sales team.
Enterprise tech panel diversity should, of course, incorporate appropriate racial and gender representation, but also technical knowledge, professional experience, and a handful of other criteria depending on the product. For example, an enterprise tech company that’s focused on its graphic design software might want to recruit more digital designers as market research panel members, in addition to operations engineers. That way, the company can get feedback from two groups using the same product in different ways. So, building an effective research panel will take some thought and analysis. After all, for an enterprise tech product integration to truly succeed, the technology needs buy-in from stakeholders across an entire organization.
Once you understand who you need on your B2B marketing research panel, how do you go about finding them? Below are a few suggestions to get you started:
Developing a diverse B2B marketing research panel takes time, but the payoff is well worth it. A research panel representative of your end users can save time—and money—in the long run.