Traditional Market Researcher Saved by Online Communities

A lot has been written about the value Communispace brings to its clients . I, however, tend to selfishly focus on the benefits that Communispace brings to me…as a researcher and formerly frustrated focus group moderator.

Here are my top three focus group frustrations all alleviated by Communispace.

1. The “That’s All Folks” Frustration:  Many of us have been there.  A focus group has come to an end, the audio/video tape has stopped recording and the clients in the back room are packing up their laptops when…it happens:  the respondents engage EACH OTHER in a conversation that is critical to the client’s business needs.  As a moderator you try to nose your way back into the conversation, you write down notes, you look directly into the two-way mirror and start flapping your arms to get the clients’ attention, but you know the truth:  Your next group starts in five minutes and these folks need to get going.  Opportunity lost.

In the community, these members would start their own activities and/or we’d be able to get back to them (and the whole community, if applicable) directly and probe further. 

2. The “That’s Very Helpful” Frustration:  More often than not, you can’t confidently tell focus group respondents how their feedback will be used.  Despite rumors that respondents are only there for a sandwich and a quick buck, I found respondents desperate to hear that their time has been worthwhile, their opinions respected and actionable. (In fact, some even requested a hug.  It’s true.)   It’s not surprising, respondents want connection and they want to feel (not hear) that their input is valued. 

Communities show members why and how they are valued.  By building long-term relationships, members and clients are often put in conversation with one another.  Part of creating a robust community is providing feedback on how member input is driving client business decisions. 

3. The “Are We There Yet” Frustration:  Travel.

Communities are online.  Enough said.  🙂

Certainly, there are more than three ways that online communities alleviate focus group pain points. Stay tuned for an upcoming Vlog by yours truly and fellow blogger, Rocky Prozeller.