Why Work with an Expert Network?
Read time: 4 minutes
Twenty-five years ago, GLG founded the expert network industry as it is currently known, fundamentally changing how companies conduct primary research. Prior to GLG, business leaders largely depended upon third-party research models, gathering raw data and information to help them understand markets and customers and to inform their decision making. Because this data was freely available, it did not provide much of an edge in a competitive marketplace.
What Do Expert Networks Provide?
Expert networks facilitate the exchange of first-hand information and knowledge between experts in a particular field and those seeking their expertise. Crucial here is these experts’ experience. They are professionals who have faced decisions, overcome challenges, and have operated in a marketplace for many years and can offer the insights only experience can impart.
The core offering for many expert networks is expert calls. A form of qualitative research, expert calls are 1:1 conversations with knowledgeable professionals who can provide first-hand insights not available through third-party research methodologies. Calls can provide many perspectives and include former industry executives, competitors, and customers or former customers.
Another qualitative research service offered by some expert networks is focus groups. In the B2B context, a focus group is a small panel of experts whose reactions, thoughts, and opinions are studied to gain insight into a product, marketplace, or strategic areas of focus. They are designed to gauge business decision makers’ attitudes, opinions, needs, and purchasing processes.
Few expert networks offer quantitative research tools as well. GLG does include quantitative options. GLG’s expert Surveys assemble trusted samples from the world’s most diverse source of first-hand B2B expertise, to field-test a hypothesis or gain deeper understanding of a market. Depending on reach, expert networks are often uniquely poised to connect with a highly targeted and often difficult-to-contact audience to give their clients the insights they need.
Some expert networks also program content that might include a schedule of webcasts, teleconferences, and roundtables for their clients. These events allow industry experts to provide insight into timely topics, including market-driven conversations, industry trends, and company and industry analysis. GLG provides daily transcripts and on-demand versions of these events and organizes them in its Library while they are still timely and relevant.
Because expert networks comprised professionals in various industries, with experts often possessing specialized expertise, some offer expert witness services. Lawyers often need an expert to support their case in a litigation scenario, such as a courtroom or deposition. Expert networks can provide these experts to attorneys for either short- or long-term engagements.
How Do Expert Networks Work?
Expert networks are not static entities. Some proactively recruit to boost their network while others recruit for specific client projects. GLG does both.
Expert networks also safeguard both their experts and their clients from legal risk by establishing compliance standards. As the category pioneer, GLG led the industry in establishing and developing compliance standards for expert networks. These standards recognize and respect that there are certain constraints on the information that experts can share. As an example, GLG is backed by a nearly 70-person and global dedicated team who have built firm guardrails that mitigate the risk of inadvertently exchanging confidential information and control the type of client information that is shared with experts.
Because expert networks can be very large – GLG’s network includes more than one million professionals at every seniority level across nearly every industry – a technology-enabled platform is sometimes applied to match clients more quickly with the expertise they need in a way that’s best for them.
Benefits of Expert Networks
Expert networks offer a range of benefits for both experts and clients. For experts, these networks provide an opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with others while also earning income for their expertise. They can also gain exposure to new clients and industries, which can help them expand their professional network and build their reputation.
For clients, expert networks offer a way to access specialized knowledge and insights that might not be available elsewhere. While they range in quality, these networks can provide valuable insights and recommendations to help guide decision making and improve outcomes. Additionally, clients can connect with experts quickly and easily, without having to spend time and resources on their own research or outreach efforts.
For more, read our article, What is an Expert Network?
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