I’ve had the privilege of building and maintaining multicultural panels for almost a decade. Despite the progress in technology to improve our delivery methods, our soft skills haven’t kept pace. As an industry, we’re still struggling to create culturally relevant panel experiences for respondents.

This isn’t specific to multicultural panels, rather panels at large. We are an industry dedicated to helping our clients mine for consumer insights that will aid in the development of better products, services, and experiences. And the demand is there. AdTech and MarTech continue to rely on panels to enrich their data sets. Creating culturally relevant panels will be one of the keys to sustaining the growing need for survey respondents.

So what are some steps to make your panel culturally relevant? Here are a few starting points:

  1. Define Your Audience
    Seems simple right? But your audience shouldn’t simply be defined as “people who want to take surveys.” This approach may have worked in the early days of panel but creating sub-segments within your panel and building panel experiences that conform to the sub-segment is an effective way to get more out of your respondents. Consider ethnicity. It’s an easy distinction to use to create sub-panels and landing pages from, but some companies are digging deeper. They are looking for and finding the nuances they can use to create a more sophisticated and culturally relevant panel experience.

    For example, Hispanic millennial panels, Affluent African-American panels, Cross-Cultural GenZ panels…and so on. Do you have a respondents sub-segment you wish was more responsive to your surveys? Define them and try to build a panel experience around that sub-segment. You’ll be surprised at the increase in engagement you’ll see.

  2. Ask Them What They Want
    How many times have you asked your panel what they want? And not just from an incentive standpoint. How many emails do they want to receive? Is there content they’d like to receive from you? Have you asked their opinion on your landing page design? Panel name?

    Once you define your audience, try researching them! You don’t have to get everything right off the bat. Overtime, ask the right questions to get to know them and how the interact with your panel content in an effort to craft a more tailored experience for them.

  3. Test, Launch, Iterate, Rinse, Repeat
    You defined your audience, asked them what they want, and delivered a culturally relevant panel experience. You’re done, right? Not quite…culture changes quickly, especially online culture. Make it a habit to continually check in on how your panel is doing.

    Engagement metrics are essential and if some of your key metrics are dipping below your benchmarks, start the process again. Maybe the audience you initially defined has changed (you created a “new mothers” panel and now those mothers are no longer “new”).

While this seems like a big lift, if you have a panel within your organization, you likely have to tools to accomplish these steps with little investment. Landing pages are now quick and easy to make. Creating surveys is easier than ever. Plus, your respondents are everything, not investing in making sure your panel experience is culturally relevant will cost you more in the long run. Our respondents are the engine in this new data economy. Let’s give them experiences that will make them want to come back and share their opinions with us.