It’s been roughly two decades since the creation of what is now referred to as online insight communities. Since then, insight communities have become a mainstream research tool which continue to grow because of continual increases in capabilities. In a recent GreenBook GRIT, they show that more than half of all researchers sampled use insight communities with another 29% considering their use.
The term for this type of research hasn’t always been ‘insight communities’. The name has evolved over time and many descriptors are still used interchangeably. Insight communities have been called market research online communities (or MROCs), or simply online communities (as GreenBook and other research directories list them). My-Take and many market-leading companies prefer to use the term ‘insight’ because it implies more useful and actionable information that enables better business decisions.
An insight community is generally made up of a targeted group of stakeholders, usually customers, who are recruited into a private online environment to participate in a company’s or brand’s research-related activities on an ongoing basis. The purpose of an insight community is to secure actionable insights from customer feedback and ideas in order to drive business decisions.
To better understand insight communities, a breakdown of the key elements follows:
Communities usually include a group of 500 to 600 (although it could be in the thousands) customers or consumers. It is of vital importance for companies to carefully think about the purpose of the insight community and then screen in the corresponding members.
These environments started out quite basic and have evolved into, in some cases, powerful insight suites with varied and sophisticated capabilities. These environments are private and secure which allows products and campaigns to be evaluated within the community prior to revealing them to the general public.
For many companies, insight communities have become the most used research tool because of their versatility. While online surveys and polls are still valuable tools, insight communities can now handle a variety of qualitative and quantitative use such as general voice of customer (VOC) work, customer journey, concept testing, new product development, and home use testing. The better insight community tools also work well in the mobile environment and with video applications.
A community can change how research is viewed and executed. The ability to tap into customer opinions and ideas on an ongoing basis is a huge asset to an organization. Insights come fast, and follow-up is easy with the ability to reach back out on an iterative basis.
The fundamental purpose of most research is to provide actionable insights. Actionable insights go beyond a simple regurgitation of the results toward information that can be acted upon by decision makers by providing further color, context, and implications. Moving reporting of results to inference and implications.
Insight communities can feed decision making at every step of any project. Because communities are so agile, companies can also get to those decisions faster and with more data, all done in a much more efficient and cost-effective manner. Companies that inform their decisions with customer feedback tend to win in the marketplace.
My-Take is a greater Boston based insight technology and analysis company that can help your company make smarter decisions and market your products and solutions more effectively based on feedback from powerful online communities. If you have questions about building an insight community for your company, or if you have general questions about insight communities and how they can help your company deliver more value to your customers, click here to request a free consultation.