B2B professionals are a notoriously difficult audience to keep engaged—especially during long-term studies. How can researchers sustain engagement from the same audience for recurring insights? Four words: market research online communities (MROCs).
Market research online communities (MROCs) allow you to have a verified group of people available in an on-demand fashion. MROCs operate on a digital platform that brings different tools together to gather consistent and comprehensive insights from customers, prospects, and industry experts. Professionals are recruited and verified before being placed in the community; from there, their expertise can be leveraged at the researcher’s discretion.
In this way, MROCs offer researchers end-to-end touchpoints with the community members. Take a product manager seeking insights on new features as an example. The product manager can tap the community from the ideation stage all the way through the usage and utilization stage. They are able to collect and implement feedback from the same individuals as they make their way down the product development pipeline.
There are many benefits that come with choosing to use a MROC. Whether researchers want to poll the audience or hold discussion between the members, they are able to determine the activities that members participate in. The outputs of those mixed methodologies are all centralized in one place, making it convenient for researchers to analyze and pull insights from the data.
Communities also have the ability to track attitudes and perceptions over time, much like a brand tracker. The difference between the two is that MROCs engage the same audiences, making it time and cost-efficient as it removes the need for re-recruitment.
What researchers need to keep in mind when utilizing MROCs is that a lot of effort goes into keeping participants active and engaged—which is what ensures a successful community. With a pool of people at your disposal, it becomes crucial to have a thought-out plan that covers engagement frequency and methods.
Research comes in a multitude of different forms, so how do you know if an MROC is the best fit for your project? Here are 3 common ways B2B researchers use MROCs:
As research goals vary, the activities you choose to include participants in vary too. When choosing the activities you must know what you want to get out of the community. Are you looking for continuous feedback? Consider using an open forum for members. In search of ways to improve customer profiles and segmentation? Surveys or interviews could help get you those answers. Curious as to how buyer sentiment is changing over time? Set up recurring tasks every month. Need a question answered immediately? Send out a quick poll.
It’s difficult to keep experts engaged. So when you’re designing activities, focus on these 3 things to help deliver value at every touch point:
Start with why
With B2B professionals, who are often pressed for time and have competing priorities, it is crucial to establish a clear value exchange. Communicate to community members that they have valuable insights to offer, and highlight how their participation benefits them as well.
Then decide who
Take note of who your audience is and personalize your message to align with their motivations and interests. By showing that you understand their needs, they are more likely to stay active participants.
And finish with how
Establish expectations upfront and communicate them clearly. Let them know the frequency of engagement, the types of activities they will be involved in, response deadlines, and other relevant details. Transparency helps build trust and ensures a smoother, more productive experience for them.
MROCs can be tailored to fit your exact needs, providing you with an unchanging group of respondents for fast and consistent insights. So what’s holding you back from trying an MROC?
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