A Decision Analyst Proprietary Panel of Users

Category: Tanning Products
Methods: Proprietary Panel; Custom Research Panel; Tracking Research; Qualitative Research; Quantitative Research; Attitude, Usage, & Behavior Research

Proprietary Panel for Marketing Research


A large consumer-packaged goods company wanted to gain insights into two consumer groups’ attitudes, usage, and behaviors toward tanning products over a period of 16 months. This time period of research was necessary to understand differences in product usage during peak tanning season as well as off-season.

Strategic Issues

With rising concern of the health effects of tanning (namely skin cancer), and improvements made in self tanning products, our client wanted to develop a deep understanding of consumers of tanning products, namely their shopping and usage behaviors through all seasons.

Research Objectives

The objectives of the research were to:

  • Understand behaviors and usage habits of consumers over several seasons.
  • Elicit additional input on usage, such as other products used, as well as record demographic and lifestyle questions.
  • Gain insights into why consumers enter and leave the category, what products or services they move on to, and what would motivate them to use tanning products in other seasons.

Research Design and Methods

The proposed methodology for this research was an online diary that participants were be required to keep for 16 months. A proprietary panel of consumers were recruited from Decision Analyst’s American Consumer Opinion® Online panel, screened, and qualified to fall into one of two user groups, depending on product usage. Screening also required that participants had a digital camera and the ability to upload pictures to the online survey. Once screened, consumers were asked to participate on an ongoing basis. An appropriate incentive was offered to encourage continuous participation.

The online survey was programmed so that a survey could not be answered online until the previous week’s or month’s survey responses had been made. This process encouraged consumers to record their survey responses in order and as promptly as possible.

The basic survey was 10 minutes in length, and periodically the client team added additional open- or closed ended questions (typically once a month) to obtain answers to questions they had that were raised from the responses, as well as questions about current market conditions and competitive products. Retention rates remained high, as the survey was of high interest to users. Therefore, no additional recruiting was needed over the 16-month period.

Qualitative Component

After the first three months of research, the client wanted to better understand the needs, feelings, and motivations of the consumers. A question was added to the survey asking consumers to participate in a 30-minute, in-depth interview via telephone. An appropriate incentive was offered.

Decision Analyst’s qualitative team conducted 15 in-depth interviews, with the client team monitoring the calls. A summary report was delivered to the client, along with a CD that included the findings of the research, as well as audio clips of consumer quotes (actual audio from the telephone interviews).


The models were programmed into the Customer Loyalty Simulator™. This tool allowed management to investigate how changes in perceptions of their brand would impact equity and loyalty through “what if” scenarios.

The client had a number of internal clients from the brand team who had high interest in this research. New questions were frequently raised and added to the survey to better understand complex shopping and usage behaviors, competitive threats, and product improvements. The client used the quantitative and qualitative research for messaging and promotions, as well as input for product refinement and development. They plan to continue the survey for another 16 months.

Online Marketing Research Services

If you would like more information about our Proprietary Panel, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, by emailing him at jthomas@decisionanalyst.com, or by calling 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.