Mixing online and offline: Meeting community members in person

So, we are running all these communities at InSites Consulting, with between 50 and 150 members participating in each community. But what are these people like in person? To find out and meet them personally, every now and then, we organize a community-meet-up, this time in cooperation with one of our clients: Marktplaats.

Meeting community members face to face

Here we are, Amsterdam 14:00 local time at the Marktplaats (an eBay company) headquarters, eagerly awaiting for the community members to enter the building… About a month ago we asked our community members whether they were interested in a meet-up, to get to know each other and spend half a day at the Marktplaats office. The program consisted of a workshop, a guided tour through the office, a presentation and a demo-session. Within half an hour, the community members were present at the office, immediately finding ourselves in a cozy, informal atmosphere. The members got connected amongst each other “OH, so you’re the guy with over 500 posts!”, and met the Marktplaats team which was responsible for the project.
Toon Provoost, marketing intelligence manager at Marktplaats says:

“Thanks to this community we have a very clear and actionable vision on the needs of our users. By presenting the community results together with our communitymembers at our office in Amsterdam we’ve created a lot of brand ambassadors!”

Connecting managers and consumers offline

After a short introduction, the guided tour began. A lot of the Marktplaats employees already heard about the project and they were eager to find out who those community participants actually were. The community members met several division leaders and started asking questions right away. “Are all cars placed on Marktplaats sold eventually?” And: “Who is in charge of the banners?”
The members also got an in-depth look in how their opinions and feedback was used in the Marktplaats organization. Quotes were read aloud by the Marktplaats employees, leading to recognition and sparking interesting discussions among the members. Even the managing director stepped up, giving the opportunity to the participants to voice their opinion even more direct than in the community. After an exciting group-workshop in collaboration with the advertising company, we got together for some drinks and snacks, and the clock approached 19:00.

Mixing offline and online boosts the community feeling

All-in-all, an offline meetup is a great way to boost the community feeling. Besides that, it offers another opportunity for the brand to share feedback and let members know how important their opinion is.  Want to know more about research communities? Click here and read more.

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