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  • Writer's pictureZest

People are not your most important asset. The right people are.

Jim Collins, Author of Good To Great

One of the biggest problems that market research faces are “professional respondents”. The type that show up to session after session and contribute very little insight, as, quite frankly they know how to play the game, and are only interested in the incentive and not the topic at hand.

As a moderator, it can be very disheartening to walk into a room and see the same old faces – knowing that you’re not going to get anything fresh or ground breaking from them as you’ve heard what they had to say before, or they sat quietly in the corner of a similar group.

Here at Zest, we go above and beyond to ensure that we are avoiding these over-researched respondents by using a mixed approach in our recruitment:

· Social media targeting

· Free find

· Small panel sample (yes there is still a place for this!)

Free Find

Free find is still a fantastic way of getting respondents on board, particularly if they are niche or difficult to find. Here at Zest we have utilised a variety of different free find methods, from getting in touch with charities to find sex workers, to treading the pavement and speaking to restaurant managers.

This is another way of finding good, fresh and engaged respondents ensuring that we hit spec so you get the most out of your research.

Social Media Targeting

To get fresh new respondents on board, we use targeted social media ads. This allows us to not only recruit people who are new to the research world, but we can target our ads to those who are interested in specific brands or subjects. By using Ad Manager we ensure that we don’t reach the same followers with our ads, but we’re targeting a fresh pool each time.

This allows us to recruit fresh, engaged participants who are articulate in the subject matter and eager to share.

Small Panel Sample

While panel samples are the breeding ground of professional respondents, we still see a benefit in this approach. We regulate our panel tightly, to ensure that participants haven’t taken part in research for the past 6 months for us, or on the topic in the last year.

There is no doubt that some panel respondents can be dishonest to get onto the research and disengaged when they get there, but on the flip side you can encounter “star respondents”. That gem in the centre of the group that has a ton of knowledge on the subject matter and lots of experiences to share.

Therefore we use our panel to build up this “star respondent” catalogue so if you need a super trendy fashion blogger and we’ve recruited one in the past that we know would be brilliant, we can get back in touch with them to ensure that you’re getting the best in your research.

So how does Zest stop professional and disengaged respondents?

By tracking the history of all research that respondents have taken part in, as well as all the research that they have applied for we can build a clear image of our panel.

We use a variety of different measures to track respondents, so if they apply with a different name, a new email address or a new phone number we can match them back. This allows us to weed out the serial applicants. On top of this we rely on moderator feedback so we can keep a score of great respondents and those who should be avoided going forward.

To ensure that respondents are articulate we build in additional questions to our screening process to ensure that they have lots to talk about in the relevant topic. For longer term studies where engagement is paramount, we build in short tasks ahead of the research so that respondents can prove before the research has even began, that they are dedicated and will stay the course.

At Zest we don’t believe in best effort basis. If we can say we can do it, we will deliver you fantastic respondents using this mixed recruitment approach, so you’re free to focus on the insight!

For more info on how we can find the best people for your next project, contact us at – we’d love to hear from you!


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