The biggest of these projects was to create and manage the Midea Insiders Community. "Survey panels are a known quantity in market research, but what we have is called a branded panel community. It's a central place for research and also encourages brand advocacy among consumers."
Building a panel community that can contribute value to the business involves a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. “We try to balance the Midea Insiders Community in proportion to the number of people in the US Census by state, age, income, and gender,” explains Adrienne, “While it is important to get the representation of the average customer, we are also looking for qualitative feedback where we get rich insights about how people feel about their appliances. So we do an articulation test where we ask open-ended questions to see who is willing to put in the effort to give us detailed and insightful answers."
Asking the right questions is just as important as having the right people. "When selecting members for the Midea Insiders Community, we have criteria to determine who will be an ideal respondent. We don't necessarily ask them, "Do you use appliances a lot" but we do ask them about interests relating to the house and home. For example, if someone cooks a lot and enjoys having friends and family over, that tends to indicate high use of appliances. Once you have selected the community members, you need to know how to ask questions that aren't leading and won't bias them. People are highly influenced by the manner in which information is presented in a survey, and you must be very careful about every word you say. You can't just ask, "Don't you think this is a good appliance?"
Adrienne and her team also need to ensure that those in the panel community are responding properly. "We have to watch for respondents who may be "gaming" the surveys just to get paid. We use statistics to identify and flag random patterns of responses and then we manually review them. We'll also look at the open-ended responses to see if people are actually answering the questions in a well-considered manner. For example, we'll ask about brands they know and include a made-up brand name. If they select the fake brand name, that's a clue that they may not be paying full attention. In the past, we had to look for chatbots that answered surveys but now we even see use of Chat GPT to answer questions! So part of survey management is staying knowledgeable about how technology not only improves our processes but can interfere with the validity of our results. A lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into ensuring we provide accurate and actionable insights for the business.”
All the time and effort that Adrienne spent creating the Midea Insiders Community has already begun to pay dividends with the panel community being involved in over 20 of projects alone in 2023.