In today’s world of digital and social connectivity, it is more important than ever for brands and companies to connect to their consumers in a more grounded and personal way. There are so many factors that can influence a consumer today that it is almost impossible to really understand decisions, rationales and attribute hierarchies without taking a more holistic approach to consumer understanding. So that leads us to the question – how do we go deeper and find these gems of insight?
We have found that one of the most effective tools that can be used to delve into deeper insights is building an MROC (Market Research Online Community). This type of community allows you to reach, engage with and understand consumers in a unique and dynamic way. But with so many options for contacting them and so many different studies to use, what is the best way to handle and maximize the feedback you collect from your community members? Here are some tips that we at 360 Market Reach have developed in our years of MROC management and engagement experience:
1)M: Mix it up
When supporting and engaging with members of an MROC, you need to look at it like you are running a camp. If you ran a camp and asked the attendees to do the same exact activity every week, what will happen? Eventually they will get bored and stop attending. An MROC is no different; you must keep a healthy mix of activities and topics available for your members, which means you absolutely should use a mix of qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Switching between forums/discussion boards, quick polls, surveys, mobile activities and online focus groups will keep members interested and coming back. This will also boost the quality of the feedback you receive! Which leads me to my next tip…
2)R: Remember Your Members
In addition to keeping things fresh and new in terms of activities, it is just as important to make aspects of the community about your members. Without them, you have no community! Outside of rewarding points/incentives, you can accomplish this in simple ways by sending them newsletters that summarize some of the findings from previous studies, letting them know how the research findings were applied in the real world, posting topics where they can talk about themselves and creating a ‘featured members’ corner where a highly engaged member can be placed in a spotlight and celebrated for their contributions!
3)O: Open Up To The Mobile World
Everyone has heard it, we’ve all read it, but it bears repeating: tapping into the capabilities of your members’ smartphones can be a MAJOR way to bring your community to life, as well as dive further into the life and perceptions of the consumer. It can let you see into their homes, their rituals, their shopping behaviors; wherever they go, you can go with them. The members find the exercises to be empowering because they can share their actual voice and persona with you while illustrating the positives and pain points of specific product/store/brand interactions.
4)C: Create an MROC storyline
The beauty of having a research partner run your MROC is that they can provide a more objective eye and help you connect findings from one study to another. We strive to connect dots from one set of learnings to another either in the planning phase of a study and/or on the back end when developing a report to weave a richer and deeper view of the consumer. This can also be accomplished by doing periodic ‘check-in’ to summarize all key learnings to date and have an ideation session around how past learnings can inform the future.
The above just scratches the surface of our learning but it’s a good beginning guide as you set-up your community or refresh an existing community, We’ve been doing this for a wide array of clients for years, so please feel free to reach out with additional questions.