Creating Online Feedback Communities for Marketing Research

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  • 0:04 Building Virtual Communities
  • 0:57 What Is an MROC?
  • 2:24 Characteristics of an MROC
  • 3:31 Tending an MROC
  • 4:04 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Building an online research community can provide an organization numerous benefits. Actionable intelligence and rapid feedback are two of the biggest perks. In this lesson, we'll examine online communities set up for market research purposes.

Building Virtual Communities

The internet has made it possible to do wondrous things that have changed the business landscape. One concept that has mushroomed in growth is virtual communities, or online gatherings of people with a shared interest. People can exchange ideas and ask each other questions.

Businesses can get involved in these virtual communities in a variety of ways. If the virtual community is independent of the business (for instance, a product user group created on LinkedIn), the business can monitor traffic and comment when appropriate or when a question is posted.

Online communities can be made up of customers, or also include other interested parties like employees or business partners. Non-profits may have donor networks and schools may have alumni networks. Colleges and universities may have foundations set up that control or create networks for the purpose of fundraising.

What Is an MROC?

Some businesses build virtual communities with the express purpose of collecting real-time, qualitative data, or thoughts, feelings, and opinions, about their products and services. These communities are called market research online communities (MROC). MROCs can be used to survey customer opinion or engage in ongoing discussion with the customer base. MROCs can provide real-world, real-time, direct customer feedback, and they also help establish psychological connections with customers.

There are two main types of MROCs. The first is ongoing MROC. This is a branded community; a long-term platform used for brand-building, exposing new products to the market, and learning about customer attitudes and interests. An ongoing MROC can be expensive to create and maintain, and it needs to be actively managed to be effective. Ongoing MROCs are used for gathering more reflective insights over longer time-frames.

Then there's the ad hoc MROC. This is a pop-up community assembled for a specific purpose. These tend to be more diverse groups because not as much time and effort is put into recruiting as is done for ongoing MROCs. An ad hoc group could be used for concept-testing, or for testing product usability. Companies are looking for quick-dip insights on relatively short notice.

Characteristics of an MROC

MROCs can allow members to contribute content through discussions, blog posts, video journals, or other types of media. There is often interaction between members through comments on posts and status updates. MROCs can be created and curated in-house or farmed out to an outside expert.

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