Research in the mix
Let me start with this: I LOVE MARKET RESEARCH ONLINE COMMUNITIES! It is my favorite research methodology… And I truly believe that they are a big part of the future of market research! To be honest, I hate the term MROC’s as it sounds like an angry, hungry, hairy beast! I like ‘Insight Communities’ better. That’s what they really are!
But, don’t over-use the method. You have to be careful and wise in when and how to use it. To fully understand this, let’s take a look at some characteristics of insight communities:
- By definition, they are NOT representative, as they work best with participants who identify with the topic or the brand hosting the platform.
- Secondly, 150 people are the maximum number of participants a moderator can build a real relationship with. And, in my opinion, no relationship = no community!
Conclusion: This makes that they are qualitative of nature! OK, you can do some basic quant on them, but only to have first feelings. So, if validation of insights afterwards is necessary, it needs to be done through a traditional survey! And we have not even spoken about tracking studies…
Let’s say that every method has its place. It’s all about fusing methods! Researchers have to become more like DJ’s:
DJ’s play and select songs for an audience from their wealthy music collection. The successful ones provide a creative mix that makes the crowd go wild. They are the cool new super stars! What makes DJ’s also successful is that they have the guts to experiment without forgetting tradition: they re-use old riffs and blend it with contemporary elements.
This is the real future of research!