Written by: Evan Goodfellow
One of the greatest innovations to market research in the last five years has been the introduction of market research online community software. As a full service market research firm, with our own software developers, we recognized that to truly meet the needs of our clients we had to offer market research online community software.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research
Online communities allow qualitative and quantitative research to be conducted with efficiency and depth. The communities are versatile, and able to accommodate any size and type of stakeholders (customers, employees, students etc.). The size can range from small intimate groups, where the focus is on discussion and co-creation, to broad-based communities with a focus on more traditional quantitative research and anything in-between.
Unlike a panel where communications are generally limited to being from client to respondent, an online community allows members to interact with each other, and the client. This multifaceted form of connectivity allows the researcher to observe these social interactions and gather specific, complex information as it unfolds within the community.
MROC’s Enhance Research
From a market research point of view, the question is raised as to whether online research communities cannibalize other forms of research. That has not been our experience. We find that market research online communities provide an additional, comprehensive tool for gathering information that may not have been possible to obtain in the same amount of time, and to the same depth of detail and understanding.
For example, due to the social dynamic and accessibility advantages, online communities have been used for product development, brand engagement, and loyalty studies. Can you imagine designing a new combine, which will retail for $300,000 to $600,000 using a focus group or a survey?
What we have found is that the market research services available in the form of an ad-hoc study, are very important when the client finds he or she is limited due to technical knowledge or availability of resources. The assistance required for a sophisticated survey design or analysis is a phone call away, which is a very economical and re-assuring option to the in-house researcher.
The following are key features that we feel are important for a prospective user to seek out:
Mobile First Design Philosophy
Most web software companies utilize design first for the desktop and then secondly for mobile devices, in order to create “mobile friendly” software. We do the opposite, designing mobile optimized online communities first and then make our applications desktop friendly. As simple as it sounds, the design can mean the difference between valuable and insightful research with a mobile friendly presentation, to a survey which can be at the gentlest, annoying and resulting in misleading results, to the extreme of a respondent flat-lining the answers, because he or she can’t read the question with a ten point scale.
Making sure the software is device agnostic allows the member experience to be second to none. That way, users can experience an elegant, easy-to-use platform that allows them to get straight to the heart of the matter. This is especially important when a majority of qualitative and quantitative will be completed by the panelist on a mobile device, and not on a desktop.
From Full Service to Self-Manage, and everything in between, we believe the most economical approach is the Self-Managed option with its full suite of quantitative and qualitative tools in one cost-effective package. The customer will have the flexibility to use whatever tools best meet their needs – without any additional licensing fees or restrictions.
Full Technical and Collaborative Support
We offer full technical support to our clients and their panel members. No questions asked. We understand that responsiveness to support requests is a key driver in panelist satisfaction and that a satisfied panelist is an engaged panelist.
Our skilled community managers, researchers, and development team are here to support you in whatever capacity is required. We can fully manage all aspects of your panel for you, or support you in managing it yourself. This can be “all us,” “all you,” or anything in-between.
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