5 ways to measure MROC ROI.

A successful market research online insight community (MROC) delivers timely and relevant insights and recommendations with more actionable outcomes. But how do you measure impact and prove ROI?

Today, online insight communities are more valuable than ever in leveraging the potential of real-life, continuous engagement between company and customer. In fact, according to the annual GRIT Report, 65% of the world’s biggest brands use communities. But how are insights leaders quantifying the investment in MROCs? 

We spoke to over 250 insight practitioners from Walmart, McDonald’s, IKEA, Mondelez, John Deere, Jaguar LandRover, Pinterest, Nissan and more, to learn how they are measuring ROI for key stakeholders and the larger business.

1. Analyze and measure the stakeholder value of Online Communities.

Use a combination of research techniques, including qualitative feedback and quantitative metrics, after each project to measure impact on stakeholders. Do you understand customers better than you did before this project? Did this project help you make a more informed business decision? Would you recommend the research community to other business stakeholders with a similar need for strategic insights? Did you feel you got value for money? Were there benefits to embedding an online community platform in your market research? These can be aggregated and tracked over time, allowing you to measure perceived value across audiences and projects.

2. Understand the impact creation of MROCs.

Estimate the extent to which the community has affected revenue-producing activities. This can be highly valuable in driving sales meetings or for product or service launch. Estimate revenue created by new products, etc., that the community has affected. Ask stakeholders to quantify significance of impact of community work on business initiative. Build use of insights generated by communities into tracking systems, like Salesforce. This is not an exact science, as clearly other factors influence success or failure, but it is still a useful measure.

3. Evaluate cost-savings from Online Communities versus traditional market research techniques.

Estimate the aggregated cost saving your community has made through efficiencies of scale over the year. Estimate saving vs. traditional methodologies. The speed that projects can be turned around in the community also represents a cost saving, as the business is able to make decisions/ act faster upon the insight. Some C Space clients have estimated annual research cost efficiencies of approximately 40% vs. traditional methods.

We’ve estimated that our community has enabled us to go up to 80% quicker, which is critical in a tremendously fast-moving business like ours. 

Insight Manager, Major Technology Company

4. Evaluate how customer insights platforms act as a loss-prevention tool.

Estimate the savings created by projects that prevented a failed launch. For example, a piece of communications with irrelevant messaging that was averted. As one respondent noted, “We would have invested considerable dollars in this product that we learned would not have been successful in market due to customer insight. The planned communications which received highly negative feedback during research would have reached millions of customers. We estimate that unchanged this could have caused a 0.5% reduction in NPS.” 

5. Prepare hero stories to communicate the worth of insight communities.

Decisions aren’t made on reason alone; we’re emotional creatures. Plan some exciting, high-impact stories on topics that you know matter to the wider business or to the audiences whose support you will need in retaining the budget for the insight community. These could be communicated at annual shareholder meetings, internal or external awards. You essentially want stories to reach the C-suite. Quantified measures are important in justifying the value of the community, but you also need stories to convey its worth. And impressive stories help capture hearts and minds.


A guide to online insight communities.

Whether you’re an experienced user or a newcomer, this buyer’s guide to online insight communities and how to make the most of them is a must.