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Market Research Online Community Data Should Tell a Story

Updated: Jan 3, 2020

Written by: Larry Goodfellow

The purpose of reporting tools for online communities is to find the general theme or story embedded in your data. Data itself will often be forgotten shortly after it is heard. Without a story to connect facts and figures to, the point will be lost. Accessing this information and learning how to read the story in the data is a major challenge for a lot of market researchers. This article looks at how to understand the story in the data and then use it to make future decisions.

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Link Data to Real Life

When processing vast amounts of data it is good to create analogies that you can tie your data to. Let’s imagine that you are presenting to a rapidly growing social media company. Your presentation is to report on all the areas the company is going to need to invest, in order to be able to support future growth. Rather than giving numbers of the future expected growth of the company, give numbers tied to an analogy. The analogy might sound like this, “If Instagram is New York City with a population of 8.4 million, your company is currently Boston with a population of 700,000.

Why Should Your Audience Care About the Data?

By linking a current number to Boston, you can also show future growth as well. You might say, your company is Boston and it is expected to double by next year. A city the size of Boston generates $7 billion annually; a city double the size generates $12.5 billion. Growth projections estimate your company to be worth nearly double by next year, therefore you are going to need to spend heavily this year in infrastructure to support that growth. Can you imagine Boston hearing that it is expected to double in population in the next year and not do anything to facilitate and support that growth?

Formulate A Strong Plot

When analyzing the data create a strong storyline with very few sub plots that often confuse the listener from the main point.Identify the main problem for the company and then talk about how it will be remedied.

A Story Based on Facts

The purpose of the story is to communicate information in a way that will help the company make the best decisions possible. Online research communities are a great way to generate hard data in which companies can base their decisions on. Don’t let the power of the data be lost by failing to connect it to a story. The stories are based on real hard numbers that can be proven time and again. The story that unfolds has a key problem but also solvable, predictable outcomes.

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