Why every online research community manager likes to work with moms!

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!

Natural and spontaneous
They are one of the most natural communities: lot’s of spontaneous conversations & massive interaction guaranteed. You can imagine how much mothers of babies have in common: they are mostly in the same life stage, they share the same challenges and frustrations they are confronted with on a daily basis. This results in a giant amount of unsolicited consumer feedback, a valuable benefit of online communities in general.
But most of all, they know how unique & impactful becoming a mother is. This strong mutual basis (a precondition for running an online research community) guarantees a close connection amongst all participating mothers. It is just great as a community manager to see how interested they are in each other’s experiences and stories. Almost no need to trigger more interaction.
Continuous learning phase
Another striking characteristic of this target group is that mothers are in a continuous learning phase with regard to different aspects (feeding, educating, caring…). It makes them very open to collect tips & tricks from fellow mums. This boosts the ‘what’s in it for me’ feeling, a strong motivator for participating in online research communities. The above is also proven in the popularity of natural online mother communities. For example in the UK: netmoms.com/coffeehouse (210.000 visitors per day!) Comparable in participant closeness, if you ask me, is a research community with patients suffering from the same chronic disease. They all know the stages you go through as a patient & the emotions one is experiencing. As with mothers, it’s at the very core of their existence.
Real emotions and stories
Eager to share sweet baby pictures & even videos: real mothers-real emotions-real stories. Most of the times, community participants need some time to relax and get used to the platform & each other. Then after 1 or 2 days, they go ‘the full monty’ and start sharing pictures – which enables the client to get very close to the consumer. Breaking the ice in a mum community is different: their common base makes sure they immediately feel connected. They love to show pictures of their babies to the others as they are proud and have loads of them available. So, the community manager gets a lot of interesting, very real data in a spontaneous way. What we call a 360° view on the consumer experience, both the rational and emotional side of the story.
In a follow up post, we’ll share more information and learnings we were able to collect during our work wit mothers in research communities. Stay tuned!

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