Market Research’s Most Powerful Tool: How to Maximize Online Communities in the Digital Age

It's been more than a decade now that online communities have been available in market research and they’ve taken on a lot of different forms.  Short term communities can be a great way to bring people together around a specific topic and long-term communities are an excellent foundational tool for a brand’s larger and longer term goals.  Today, we’ll dive a little bit deeper into the value of and required commitments for longer term communities and how to assess what’s right for you.

 

The very first question you should ask yourself when your organization is considering launching a longer term community is: What the goals are? 

Once you figure that out, you will want to ask yourself the following: Do you want an on-tap resource?  Will you primarily be conducting surveys, or will there be a qualitative component?  Are you prepared to communicate with the participants on a daily or weekly basis?  What kind of staff do you have internally to manage it or what are you willing to spend with an external partner?  Is it a high engagement category?  How will you source the participants?

 

When we are walking potential clients through those questions, we often uncover that they aren’t clear about the goals or what it’s going to take to get there.  Fortunately, we can help with that!

shutterstock_436476886-1

With proper planning, oversight, and engagement, there is no tool more powerful tool than a long term community. This methodology can  serve as a tracking study and an organic listening device all wrapped into one.  If branded, you can easily create ambassadors for your offering by letting them know how impactful their feedback is.  As an industry, I think we sometimes forget that market research can, and should be, fun for the participants. Communities are unique in that they can act as an ideation playground for both researchers and participants alike.

 

Echo has many unique offerings that can support your communities and help maintain them.  We create engagement content – items that keep your members coming back for more, as well as community health reports to help illuminate what activities are most productive and how to optimize it.

 

If you’d like to hear more about what we’ve learned over the past decade and how we do things differently, let's chat.