The hunger for insights across all sectors and types of business has grown exponentially in recent years, and continues to increase at a rapid pace as technology advances and channels expand. From brands and retailers trying to engage with their customers and advocates to gather insights to help them improve their offering and retain and attract customers, to the business-to-business player looking to understand a certain industry or target group – it is an area that will only continue to evolve.

At the heart of much of this activity is market research, an area which has also evolved significantly in the last five years. This has attracted many a technology start-up, offering its solution to make the process easier and the insights gathering faster and more transparent.

However, the kingpins of the market research industry are most definitely the survey respondents. Having technologically advanced ways of reaching people isn’t much use if the supply is dwindling, so a commitment to sustaining the supply of willing research participants is the responsibility of market research players. They have to innovate in order to achieve this, and one of these innovations is in the recruitment of organizations that may have access to sample.

The emergence of the dashboard or platform solution for the market research industry introduced the integration of many tools to aid in the quest to gain insights, and the creation of large ‘marketplaces’ of online panels increased access to sample on a global scale. This has opened up opportunities for companies such as publishers, telecoms providers, charities and even B2B companies that can build a survey panel and give access to others looking to gain insights from the same target audience.

Not only does this enable the owner and builder of the panel to conduct regular surveys for its own purposes, but also allows them to offer their panel members other ways to participate in surveys, and earn incentives for themselves. This keeps the panelists engaged and helps to retain them. In turn, the panel owner receives a payment for allowing its panelists to be used, so it’s a win-win situation for all involved and creates an additional revenue stream for the business.

Examples of this include a mobile network provider that opened up its research panel on a larger global panel marketplace to provide its users with new ways of earning mobile data by answering mobile surveys, thus creating a new revenue stream for itself. Another is a media group working in consumer print, broadcast and digital media that built an online research panel to conduct testing to discover how to increase visitor time spent on web pages by its online readers. Whilst fulfilling its own agenda, its panel was also made available to others conducting research, again, creating additional revenue.

These are just a handful of examples across a couple of industries; the trend is spreading and the sectors in which is it becoming popular are widening. The need for insights will only continue to grow, so firms wishing to gather their own insights and generate further revenue should get on board now.

By Morten Strand, chief executive of Cint