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Insight Blog

Read the latest thinking from the crossroads of marketing, insight and technology.

Top 5 Tips for Unlocking Consumers Insight with Online Communities

A research or insight community is defined just like any other type of community, by the peer to peer interaction that takes place. "Community functionality enables participants to work jointly on problems and create solutions incorporating more than just the summation of each individual's ideas and knowledge" (Fuller, 2010).

That means the participants you invite to feedback, test, develop and share don't just get to talk to you but they also get to bounce ideas and debate points with other customers. I've previously outlined the difference between communities and panels and today I want to really unpick the value that can be gained in a community.

So, here are a few situations when we would recommend a community approach in your research:

1. Increase Depth

To increase the depthyou achieve a community approach encourages openness and sharing, so when you need to understand the intricate nuances of customer behaviour this helps to really uncover context and detail through prolonged interactions and open conversations

2. Achieve Consensus

To reach a consense more quickly, have peer to peer interaction allows the participants to debate issues and do the prompting for you. I have seen the whole discussion take place overnight before and come in in the morning to a clear answer that I can report straight to my client

3. Give Room to Unforeseen Variables

If you don't have a clear hypothesis about the causes, precipitators and contributing factors to your customer behaviour you will find tremendous value in a community approach that is less structured by your specific questions

4. Reach the Right People

To  reach the right people quickly an online research community can be long term to enable a continuous, multiple dialogue with customers or it can pop up with a select group, either way, it enables responsive and detailed feedback

5. Understand your Community

To understand or mimic group dynamics some decisions aren't taken without lots of consultation, if you want to test what the crowd will do with your new idea in a safe space a community is ideal for you!

Read more about our research communities

If you think a community will be beneficial to your research, get in contact with us. Or, to book a free trial of the FlexMR research platform and make use of our wide range of quant & qual tools, click here.

Maria Twigge

Written by Maria Twigge

Maria is an active member of the UK market research industry, regularly presenting new and engaging topics at industry events. With over 9 experience guiding the FlexMR’s research services, Maria builds strong long-term partnerships with clients, providing insight to effectively translate client needs into action. You can follow Maria on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Topics: Community Tools, Insight Innovation, Market Research