SaskTel Consumer Panel
In July of 2012, Insightrix Research® recommended that SaskTel employ a custom online consumer panel to address its distinct research needs.
Prior to July 2012, SaskTel conducted its research through a series of ad hoc research projects. When a business problem needed investigation, SaskTel and its research partner, Insightrix Research, would start all activities needed to get a project launched. This included, for example, recruiting consumers for a focus group, booking facilities and then preparing a report.
Insightrix and SaskTel were seeking ways to gather more input from consumers to improve the speed with which business problems could be answered, and to take advantage of new technology options. In July of 2012, Insightrix recommended that SaskTel start a branded consumer online panel. This panel would be used to gather feedback on concepts and communications, and to understand SaskTel customers’ experience and those factors used in making purchasing decisions.
To meet SaskTel research requirements, Insightrix recommended the use of an online community to create a branded SaskTel consumer panel that was specific to SaskTel needs.
An online community is a method through which SaskTel could stay connected with its customer base. Simply stated, the SaskTel Consumer Panel would comprise a screened pool of customers or engaged individuals who would agree to participate in SaskTel research activities.
Research activities employing the SaskTel Consumer Panel would include quantitative and qualitative research, or a mix of both. Examples of typical research activities conducted with the panel would include online surveys, many-to-many online discussions (bulletin boards), one-to-one online discussions (diary studies) and more.
One of the most attractive benefits of an online SaskTel Consumer Panel was improved, faster insights for lower research costs. These improved insights are a result of the panel members providing increasingly relevant feedback and being able to share their thoughts and opinions quickly, easily and from wherever they are. Having the panel branded also provided an opportunity to create advocates for SaskTel, as members become increasingly invested in SaskTel and appreciative of being consulted to solve SaskTel business challenges.
Insightrix recommended that the SaskTel Consumer Panel be made up of adults aged 18 – 54 years. As part of recruitment, Insightrix sent a screener questionnaire to prospective panel members asking about family composition, as SaskTel desired members from a mix of family types, especially those with children aged from 10 – 18 years (“Golden Families”), to be present in the panel membership. At times, specific projects would ask panellists to engage their teenaged children by asking them to evaluate an advertisement, for example. SaskTel also wished to ensure the panel would include those who were not SaskTel customers, as they desired representation from customers from competitive brands to gain a better understanding of the market and customer needs.
The recommended panel size was 100 members from every region of Saskatchewan, including a mix of gender, age, income, education and telecommunication providers. Members were rigorously screened through profile questionnaires to match targeted demographic requirements, and were recruited through SaskTel customer databases and other sources, including purchased lists and through approaching existing public social networks and communities (e.g., LinkedIn discussion groups, associations, etc.).
Working together with SaskTel, Insightrix created the SaskTel Consumer Panel, and it began its first research project on May 22, 2013.
SaskTel and Insightrix continue to maintain the SaskTel Consumer Panel, and it is employed in many SaskTel research projects. The SaskTel Consumer Panel is often employed in brand and advertising research, frequently used as a qualitative complement to quantitative studies.
A recent example of some of these brand research projects include research toward the naming of the SaskTel product, maxTV Stream, in May 2017. In this project, Insightrix employed the SaskTel Consumer Panel to explore reactions to proposed names for the product. Proposed names were measured against many attributes, such as usefulness, focus, relevance, relatability, competence and many others. In the end, Insightrix made recommendations to SaskTel based upon the findings of the study that led to the naming of the product.
Later, in April and May of 2018, the SaskTel Consumer Panel engaged in advertising testing to collect feedback on materials for the maxTV Stream launch campaign to understand which version of advertising best communicated the key messages in the campaign. Panel members were asked to participate in the online study in which participants were shown one of the two advertisements and asked to interpret its main message and describe the product featured. The final task showed participants both versions of the advertisement and asked them to choose the option they preferred. In total, 47 SaskTel Consumer Panel members completed the survey. Based on data gathered in this research, Insightrix made recommendations that led to the choice of campaign messaging SaskTel employed for their product.
In another example of the advertising research done through the SaskTel Consumer Panel, ad testing for advertisements relating to the SaskTel SmartHOME product was conducted in August 2016. In this study, which involved the use of the SaskTel Consumer Panel only, panel members were shown advertisements pertaining to SmartHOME and asked a series of questions that related to likes, dislikes, perception of main message and emotions, as well as ratings on several attributes. The advertisement that was recommended by Insightrix and that was chosen by SaskTel after the project was concluded was associated with more words that are more in line with overarching SaskTel themes, such as engaged, connected, possibility and inspired.
SaskTel continues to employ the SaskTel Consumer Panel in many of its qualitative and mixed methods research projects, such as brand research and feedback gathering. It also employs the panel in other ways, such as advertising testing, as a complement to larger scale quantitative research. In this way, the SaskTel Consumer Panel continues to act as an essential research tool for SaskTel, providing rich and highly specific research data for the research projects SaskTel undertakes.