Our Approach – Technology Driven Online Research Panels & Insight Communities

It’s no secret: rapid, dramatic change is the new norm. Internet usage on mobile devices now exceeds PC usage. Smartphone adoption is growing by leaps and bounds. New ways of consuming content is bringing dramatic change. The digital revolution is in full-swing.

We are a research firm with technology in our blood and digital research as our specialization. Our belief has always been that marketing research must be as fast-moving, dynamic and ever-changing as is today’s consumer-centric tech-world. If you want to reach people and engage and communicate with them in new, more relevant ways leading to greater insights and understandings, it is good sense to take a look at what is working for them in their everyday lives and bring that into research applications. That has been the Touchstone Research approach from day one.
We have an ever-evolving approach to what we do and constantly develop, adopt, modify, and integrate new technologies, APIs, tools, and applications into our capabilities–whatever provides a better means of helping our clients connect with their customers.

We have been designing and managing online communities and panels for more than a decade and a half—since the beginning of online research. We are unrivaled in the development and management of the most high quality client solutions and services focused custom online proprietary research panels and insight communities. We will build your custom online research panel and/or insight community utilizing best-in-breed technologies and customize as needed to provide the best solution for your unique needs and budget.


Cool, Current, Relevant, Brand-Inspired, Sophisticated Site Designs

Are you keeping up with today’s tech-savvy digital customer?

We build awesome online research panels and insight communities that thrive because they are built from the consumers’ point-of-view with the features, layout and conveniences they expect.

An online research community panel must be right for you and your brand but it must also be engaging, involving and appealing to the participants. We apply consumer thinking to our online research panels & insight communities: we make them cool, we make them current, we make them relevant–your brand and customers provide the inspiration.


On Target & On Budget

While we build the most sophisticated state-of-the-art online research panels and insight communities, our philosophy is to let the design follow from our client’s needs—if you require a very comprehensive, full-featured complex solution we will provide the very best (and well beyond what others can do), if your needs are more limited and budget is tight we can provide a high-quality solution at reasonable cost. No matter your requirements, we can help and we will deliver the very best solution.


Scalability & Flexibility

Regardless of scope, we build all online research panels and insight communities on a sophisticated open architecture platform. This ensures that we not only provide an elegant solution for your needs today but also build in the flexibility and scalability to accommodate your future needs—whether you have a panel of 500 panelists or 500,000 we have you covered.


Social Login, Registration and Social Media Integration

It’s a no brainer. Our goal is to make joining and participating in your community panel, quick, painless and convenient. One of the ways we do this is with social sign-on and registration. No one likes registering for websites—it’s a pain. With social login the pain is gone: your customers will simply join with their social media identity.

Ever forget your password? Want to go through the hassle of recovering account information e.g. filling out forms, answering challenge questions, re-setting passwords? No thanks. If you are like most there is a good chance you will abandon the website—there goes all that cost of recruitment and retention.

Social sign-on on not only makes it easier for your customers it provides an additional means of validation, and rich demographic profiling for segmentation and analytics.

Social Login, Registration and Integration Options Include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Google
  • Snapchat
  • And others as needed!


Responsive Design for all Devices & the Mobile Consumer

Ever gone to a website on your tablet or cell phone and had to stretch and drag across the smaller screen to find what you were looking for? Did you stay there? Not likely: you bounce like everyone else. If you had a business website where people buy from you, it obviously is good practice to think about how people view it; a community of customers should be no different.

This is the age of smartphones, tablets and laptops. Two thirds of adults own one. Many people prefer accessing the Web with a smartphone, for others it is their only means (increasing the breadth of reach for websites that cater to them).

All of our online panels, communities, and associated online research tools including interactive online surveys and discussions utilize a responsive design and are optimized across all platforms and devices (computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets) and will automatically adapt to whatever screen size a respondent is using to participate in the research activity providing a quality user experience regardless of which device they choose to use.



Integration with CRM/Databases & Third Party Applications

We can seamlessly integrate your community panel database with 3rd party applications, software, and external databases through the use of API’s making possible the most comprehensive, state-of-the–art, execution imaginable.

Common community panel integrations include:

  • CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management, Salesforce),
  • Third-party databases (e.g. Experian)
  • Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

Third-party software and applications
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Rewards & Incentive Program

We feel it is important to the health of the panel to have an incentive system wherein members earn monetary rewards for active participation. We also consider it a best practices procedure. It is a proven method for maintaining engaged and involved members and results in better data quality.

This system permits flexibility and allows consistency across numerous subgroups, countries, currencies, activities and rewards. Different levels of rewards may be allocated for different activities and, even within an activity, different levels of incentive may be assigned based on the particular tasks accomplished by the members. Also hard-to-reach participants may receive a greater incentive. We can provide a points-based program wherein when a threshold is hit the member can redeem them for a reward or instant rewards or a combination.

Our system permits a variety of rewards and incentive disbursement options including:

  • Checks (issued in numerous international currencies)
  • E-Gift Cards
  • International E-Gift Cards
  • Physical Gift
  • Instant Rewards
  • Merchant cards, etc.
  • Nonprofit Donations


Platform, Training & Support Only Solutions

If you are simply looking for our assistance in designing and building an awesome community panel website interface and training and support in the use of the platform and research tools, we can deliver what you need. We offer the level of service you require for your online research panel or insight community—whatever your needs are.


Panel Management

We can provide full research panel and insight community management services including database management, field, sample and survey programming, community management, at any level or any combination desired. For Insight Communities, we offer optional Insight Community Moderation services if desired.

We help our clients win through effective, creative and innovative solutions and with exceptional client service. Our clients are very well known with tremendous brand equity. They chose us and remain with us, because of our outstanding technical ability and extremely high quality work but also because of trust: they trust that we will manage their online panels and communities and represent their brand in accordance with their very high expectations and standards in customer relations. We adhere to the highest ethical standards in all of our dealings with consumers.

In ancient times alchemists used a special stone—known as a touchstone– to grade the purities of precious metals such as gold and silver. Similarly, Touchstone Research, Inc. sets the standard for excellence of work and exceptional customer service.


Community & Panel Solutions


Insight Communities

There are different solutions depending upon the objectives of your research program. A “Marketing Research Online Community (MROC) or consumer “Insight Community” is typically small (N=200-300 members) with a focus on qualitative research purposes and customer engagement to gain insights about new products and ideas.

Online Research Panels

A panel is typically large (at least a couple of thousand and in some cases tens of thousands) and limited to quantitative activities (tools available are mostly limited to surveys and panel management).

Insight Community Panels

Insight Community Panels have all the elements of large quantitative panels but also include the features, technologies and capabilities of online qualitative communities (Insight Communities)—they provide the benefits and advantages of both on one platform and you are free to utilize it as needed for quantitative or qualitative research, without limitations, with all the advanced tools.

Most of the solutions for our customers are built on an Insight Community Panel platform. While some have more of a quantitative focus—conducting large volumes of surveys–the ability to include methodologies such as discussion forums into the research mix is very useful even for these quantitative focused clients. Additionally, clients who primarily want community engagement activities benefits from a sophisticated survey engine. For many clients, we have a large on-going quantitative research program along with one or more full communities built on the same installation (significant cost savings and management efficiencies) with a subgroup of members.

Short-Term Online Panel & Community Solutions

Short-Term Online Panel & Community Solutions Include:

  • Pop-up Communities for Kids & Family Research
  • Single Project Community Activities

We offer the cost-efficient option of a short term solution for community activities with kids and families. With this service, our clients gain access to a subgroup of TSR’s Youth & Family Insight Community Panel with which they can conduct ad-hoc, ongoing quantitative and qualitative marketing research for a limited period.

This option provides the benefits of a custom Community Panel or MROC for your one-off projects or research programs of limited duration without the major investment in time and resources to develop a custom Community Panel. Client branding may be provided in survey templates and community features such as discussion forums. A subgroup of our members are screened and profiled to meet your specifications. We provide the level of service and support needed from technical support through moderating, analysis and reporting.

For single project community activities we also offer a full array of advanced community features such as discussion forums, blogs, chat, etc. which may be easily implemented on a project-specific basis for our clients utilizing our community access services. We provide the level of service and support needed including recruitment for the single projects.


Looking for something different? Contact us with a brief description of what you are looking for and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible! Also, check out an array of our other services – qualitative research, quantitative research, VR research, Youth & Family Sample/Research.

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