Unlike other research modes that have clear definitions, the market research online community (MROC) has had a difficult time of clearly defining itself.
Origins: The term MROC was coined by Forrester Research in their 2008 report titled, “Will Web 2.0 Transform Market Research?”. Who built the first MROC is debated, but it most likely grew organically from an online community with an owner who casually needed to extract insights from its members. Market researchers quickly saw the potential of this research mode and began creating communities with research as the main focus.
Definition: The Forrester report defines a MROC as a “captive interactive groups of people online joined together by a common interest, which are systematically harvested for qualitative market research purposes.” This is a great definition but the MROC has evolved considerably since that report came out. One major evolution is the introduction of quantitative research as an additional engagement tool and research mode in the MROC. Quantitative surveys on MROC’s are much shorter than traditional surveys (no more than 5-10 questions) but the addition of quantitative surveys in the MROC research mix makes for a much more powerful research tool.
Best use: MROCs can be used for a myriad of different research objectives, at ThinkNow Research we have found that the best use of MROCs are exploratory in nature and are best suited for:
This is not a comprehensive list, but gives you an idea of what our clients have used MROCs for. It’s best to have a research plan spelled out before launching an MROC. Poorly defined goals can sidetrack an otherwise vibrant community. ThinkNow Research can help create a research plan and define the deliverables so that your team can focus on leveraging the results.