Sawatdee ka! Or ‘Hello’ in Thai. That was the first thing I heard last week when arriving in Bangkok. I visited the Land of Smiles to attend Merlien’s Insight Valley Asia conference to speak about the power of communities and be one of the chairpeople. Organizations such as Heineken, Samsung, Ericsson, Heinz, IFF and GlaxoSmithKline shared inspiring case studies, giving me a good impression of market research in Asia today. After this inspiring trip I have summarized my takeaways from this conference in 3 M’s: Mad men, Mobile and Move fast.
Online research communities are key to a company’s toolbox in order to reach structural collaboration. On Friday April 19, Tom De Ruyck and Anouk Willems will elaborate on what’s next for research communities in terms of new tools and new possibilities in an MRS workshop in London. They will pay special attention to how to really engage with consumers, how to report results in an impactful way and how to embed this voice of the customer within all departments of the organization. In other words, how to give consumers a seat on the board of your company via a Consumer Consulting Board.
We all know social media has gained considerable human relevance. User-created content, citizen journalism and online social interactions are embedded into the daily lives of consumers. And it goes without saying that these evolutions have and are still changing the entire market research process and industry. Market research has changed from asking questions to having conversations with consumers. And Online Research Communities have proven to be a viable environment to engage with consumers as well as marketing executives in a connected and participatory way. But what makes research communities so unique?
“The future is unknowable but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to catch a glimpse of it. It’s what marketers want from their agencies. We need to get to the future first”
- Unilever CMO Keith Weed at a recent conference.
BRIC is the future!
InSites Consulting is now literally taking research forward. An in-depth qualitative study on how to conduct online research communities in the BRIC countries provided us with the necessary knowledge to expand our horizon. Already want to test your knowledge? Click here and check in for a trip around the world! BRIC countries are more than ever in the spotlights as developing countries. They bring a global shift in the economy. Together they will outperform the current G6 industrialized countries in the coming decades.
Co-creation and crowd-sourcing are high on the agenda of the majority of today’s marketers. It is seen as a quick way to experiment with this new way of working. Also among marketing researchers co-creative approaches of doing qualitative research are on a rise if you look at the research (#mrx) buzzwords of 2011 on Twitter and the latest GRIT report. Both studies refer to ‘co-creation’ and ‘community’ (MROC) approaches as one of the most popular emerging marketing research techniques. Also here, it’s a great way for researchers to experiment with a new way of connecting and interacting with consumers.
At InSites Consulting we believe that gamification can boost productivity and can help people to think more creative and contextual. We also believe in the power of collaboration. Therefore it seemed perfectly logical to engage our own moderators in a challenge to map all techniques used on MROC’s.
The current economic uncertainty and the re-evaluation of budgets result in a more critical view on research. In evaluating research methods and technologies it’s key to not only take automational, but also informational and transformational dimensions into account. The automational level results in a higher efficiency by reducing time and investments, informational improvements result in better and richer data while a transformational feature changes the rules of the game, bringing something completely new to the table. Online research communities are not only excelling in the automotive dimension, which is key in a period of downturn, but are also performing great on the informational and transformational level.
This is Part I of the blog series ‘Mothers in online research communities: a universal experience’. There’s something about … mothers! Indeed, we figured out during a recent brainstorm that we already did lots of communities with this interesting target group. The brainstorm was resulting in an animated internal conversation in which we shared facts related to this specific participant profile in our Market Research Online Communities (MROCs). Allthough the research communities covered different topics ranging from ‘diapers’ to ‘baby formula feeding’ to ‘kids drinks & snacks’ to ‘mother’s weight problems after child birth’, common denominators are multiple and are found throughout different countries (we did communities with Belgian, Dutch, Polish, French, Spanish, UK & German moms). And what’s more… we all love to run a community with mothers. Find out why!
“Imagine this: you are a quantitative researcher, and have been writing questionnaires that include 5 point Likert scales for years now. One day, someone comes up to you and tells you that it has just been scientifically proven that participants don’t understand 5 point likert scales. That the whole system behind it, is flawed, and that you are no longer to use it in your projects, because a study among thousands of people has indicated its ineffectiveness….” At ResearchWorldConnect, our research innovator Elias Veris ‘s written a very interesting article last week. Check it out: “Killing your gamified darlings“.
The use of social media has changed our lives. User-created content, citizen journalism and online social interactions (conversation, collaboration, participation, sharing, connecting) are embedded into the daily activities of consumers. With the different semantic waves of the Web, the entire market research process and industry has undergone clear changes. For instance, we now speak of having conversations with consumers rather than asking them questions. Against this backdrop, online research communities have proven to be a viable way to engage consumers while also getting marketing executives closer to their customers in a connected and participatory way. But… still there is a friction between the ability and desire to utilize research communities in our industry. The status of online research communities today is comparable to teenagers and their first sexual experience. Everyone says they are doing it, everyone wants to do it … but in the end no one really knows how to do it well….