Written by: Larry Goodfellow
An online research community of engaged individuals that regularly contributes to your brand or organization can assist you with the necessary insights to make meaningful business decisions. Prior to communities, obtaining input from customers was either very expensive, took a great deal of time, limited to only one touchpoint per customer and/or all the above.
MROC’s helped to change that by allowing quick, frequent and easy access to a group of customers to identify a need felt by the customer and help facilitate the ability to create a product or service to fill that need. Online research communities go a step further by allowing you to test the product or service with your customer before investing money on a product or service that may or may not be a success. Here are four key reasons why marketers need to adopt a community-based approach to gathering insights:
1. Lightning fast feedback throughout the product development process
In the past, going from concept to production to market was a long arduous process. Product ideas were fed up the organization from customer service, sales reps, distributors, and usually lacking sufficient problem identification, need analysis or estimate of how widespread the need. Talk about risky. What if the concept you have developed and spent time and money to produce turned out to be a flop with your customers?
Organizationally, without a lot of detail to support further research, the naysayers often hold the upper hand as well as the money. Getting approval for additional market research becomes problematic unless you have a fairly strong case to begin with.
Today with online research communities, the time, money, and potential risk of failure can be reduced by getting fast feedback on the problem, need, proposed solution and potential demand, early in the process.
2. Stay in constant contact with your customer
Being able to constantly test ideas and products with your customers in a short but frequent time period is crucial for getting the information you need for new products, services, and marketing materials. A reliable community can not only help test ideas, but also provide feedback on whether they are ready for market. This can be especially helpful when dealing internally with the designers and engineers, who are reluctant to release any product that is “not perfect”. With insight communities, the customer helps define readiness for market, allowing quicker entry.
3. Fast forward to the Future
Behavioural data is good if you want to play catch up with trends or while trying to stay relevant. With insight communities you can bypass trends and instead find out what your customers are looking for but have yet to find.
4. Track Emerging Trends and Patterns
The thoughts and views of your customers change with time. Using market research online community software allows you additional information to predict the future by following the advice and wants of your customers, and secondly, tracking the patterns that emerge over time within your insight community. All of the data is captured so it can easily be graphed and analyzed to find trends that you and or your customers might not be aware.