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"And I want the answer on my desk tomorrow morning!" Anyone ever thundered that one at you? They have at me. And I've been able to do it, with a little preplanning.

Need to find left handed Miami Heat fans in LA? Possible. Need to get their reaction to a concept for left handed basketball overnight? No problem, if you're prepared.

One of the beauties of a community panel is that the information you gather on a person can be used and reused. Determine once that someone is left handed, and you can subsequently find and survey them. This is the power of profiling, a simple exercise that enables you to conduct maximum velocity research.

Profiling: it's not just for set up anymore
When a panel is being set up, the first exercise every new panelist completes is a profiling questionnaire. It is a hugely important survey because it's the only study you'll do that absolutely all panel members will fill out. Obviously, when planning your profiling questionnaire you will want to ensure you capture all sorts of information you might want to target people on later, like left-handedness or which basketball team they favor. But no one can foresee every possible profiling need when they start up their panel. Which is how we get to dynamic profiling - profiling on your panel on an ongoing basis.

Our market panels in the US, UK and Canada run a monthly survey which goes out to everyone on the panel. In that survey we ask all sorts of questions we might want to use to target later. It could be anything from religious beliefs to the type of toothpaste you use. This information allows us to identify otherwise very difficult to find people, when we need them. Overnight survey of left handed Miami Heat fans in LA? No problem.

Try it on your panel. Think about groups you might want to quickly target. It could be high value customers, or people who use your competitor or even left-handed Miami fans. Profile them, and be prepared for maximum velocity research.

For more tips on maximum velocity research, download Poynter's new free ebook The Quick and the Dead now.

Re-imagining research: 10 golden tips for the modern researcher

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