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How Many People Do you Need for a Successful Qualitative Market Research Community?

The other day I was watching an interesting YouTube video where two marketing managers Martijin Van Kesteren and Tom DeRuyck explained their experience setting up a community in Europe for the brand Ben and Jerry's. In the video they discussed their experiment setting up a community for the purpose of engaging fans in order to gain deeper insights. The goal was engaging daily with customers through an MROC platform to help fuel activation plans to gain a stronger place in the European market. The market research online community served as a way to test ideas, and opinions and give the floor for a free flowing exchange of ideas and to gather unsolicited feedback. As a part of this plan they sought the help of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands to define what elements create an optimum qualitative research community.

"150 people participating for 3 months"

The community was setup for an around the clock connection. Discussions were created and observed to see the type of conversations that were going on, and also allow the marketing team to participate in them. While MROC’s or experience management platforms are not new, with the first one appearing back in 2000, the actual amount of marketing staff that have used them on a regular basis is relatively low. New technology takes time to learn, and adopt. While many marketing staff may say they know about communities, if they were completely honest there are still a lot of unanswered questions that people have about them.

The first question a lot of people ask themselves is how many people do you need in the research community? Martijin Van Kesteren and Tom DeRuyck explain in the video how this was one of the first questions they tackled through the help of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. He states, “we wanted to come up with some kind of formula just like you have in quantitative research. How many people do I need not to have a scientific sample, but in this case, to have a group of people that will deliver you great insight.” They found that to have a community that provides the best insights requires specific elements.

The first key to a dynamic research community was that it needs to be at least three months long. This takes into account the fact that people participate in waves. So to expect the same group of people to participate everyday to every question you ask is unreasonable. This understanding gives you perspective when you look at participation rates, as they will shift over time. Some days or weeks are busier than others for your participants. Another key element is that you need to have at least 30 distinct conversations and within each conversation you should have at least 30 comments. After 30 comments it becomes more of the same, so it doesn’t really help to have 200 comments as most of the key insights will be found in the first 30 comments.

"30 Conversations and the first 30 Comments"

So in conclusion according to Martijin Van Kesteren and Tom DeRuyck if you were to run an optimal qualitative research community you would want a minimum of 150 people participating over a period of three months, and the amount of conversations you would want to carry out is 30 conversations. Within those 30 conversations you would look for key findings to appear within the first 30 comments.

If you would like to find out more about setting up your own qualitative research community please contact us. To learn more about what Insightrix Communities has been up to, check us out on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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