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Participant Engagement – how to favorably impact your business

What do you do?

Describe your business in a few words. A scan of member websites suggests the answers would include:

  • Data analytics
  • Qualitative research
  • Online communities
  • Access panels
  • Survey research
  • Market insights

While descriptive, the list isn’t very exciting.  What do you really do?

To say we are in the business of analyzing data hides the importance of the source of that data.  We are in the people business.  Without people, there are no data.  Without people, there are no consumers to analyze, understand, predict and impact.  Without people, there are no data to gather, no insights to analyze.

Okay Captain Obvious, I realize I am in the people business, but what do I really do?

Some History

Prior to the millennium we defined our role as researchers.  We did social research, market research, opinion polling, etc.  We collected data and gave it to the client to find the story. Like many people driven by ego, we craved more—more relevance, more recognition, more credibility.  We wanted to make a difference.  We were no longer content to collect data on the outside for someone inside to use.  We wanted access to the inside.  We wanted to be invited inside.  Increasingly, clients have given us that opportunity. We hope to stay inside.  So now we’ve become insights professionals—the term du jour for what we do with data.  The more colloquial term is storytellers.  We now tell stories to impact people.

Participant Engagement

I suggest that’s exactly what you do–you impact people.  By choosing to impact them favorably, you’ll enrich their experiences as well as yours.  You impact clients by providing valuable insights that lead to favorable impact—profitable growth, for example.  You can also strategically choose to favorably impact research participants—the very source of your insights, and dare I say, your livelihood, as well.   Do you approach each touchpoint with your research participants by optimizing the hard factors such as survey length, user experience and incentives?  Do you also assess and apply the soft factors including a sincere thank you and perhaps access to results—so participants know how their input favorably impacted the client?

Our firm works to favorably impact clients and participants using a variety of methods including online communities.  In a recent community forum, we asked members to share their improvement suggestions for the site.  This one was particularly impactful:

On the content side, more surveys would be good, and some additional information on how the information collected from the site is being used to better the company.

This person wants more engagement and, as importantly, wants to know how their participation favorably impacts the company.  We’ve increased the frequency of sharing back examples of that impact.

Much of how you can favorably impact participants can be found in the comprehensive GRBN Participant Engagement handbook available as a free download.


The 10 Golden Tips, if implemented, will immediately result in favorable impact on your research participants.  In our case, tips 2 and 8 were especially valuable.

Kevin Menk

Strategic Research Partners



The Australian Market and Social Research Society is linked globally to 45 associations through its partnership with the Global Research Business Network (GRBN) and the Asia Pacific Research Committee (APRC). Click here to read about the AMSRS global network. This article is originally sourced from GRBN website.

About The Research Society 1081 Articles
The Research Society is the peak body for research, insights and analytics professionals in Australia. It has a diverse membership of individuals at all levels of experience and seniority within agencies, consultancies, client-side organisations, the non-profit and government sectors, support services as well as institutions and the academic community. As well as over 2,000 individual members, the Research Society has 125+ company and client partners, with the number continuing to grow. The Research Society research professionals and company partners commit to and are regulated by the Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour.

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