Once your target audience for the study is determined, we invite screened and carefully selected participants into the MROC study we are conducting for your brand or product category of interest. A market research online community (MROC) is a targeted group of people who are recruited into a private online venue to participate in research-related activities over an extended period of time. One way to think of them is like a large "focus group on steroids." They similar to focus groups in that they are qualitative and exploratory in nature, but offer a number of advantages over focus groups.
Over a period of weeks, research respondents are exposed to product and brand stimuli, open-ended questions, as well as quant-like closed end questions. They interact with other respondents and engage in conversations about your product or brand.For more details, see our discussion in our FAQ about "Qualitative versus Quantitative" market research methods.
MROCs provide aspects of both behaviorial ethnography studies, and focus group studies. The MROC approach has distinct advantages:
The beauty of this leading edge method is the real-world time-extension that allows for thoughtful incubation by participants. This method provides the value of the classic market research depth interview, yet with super-charged benefits of incubation by the participant, and by the client.
As with focus groups or depth interviews, online market research communities are often used as a prelude to quantitative market studies, customer online surveys, phone surveys, and other quantitative market research. Online research communities are applicable to both business B2B market research, industrial research, and to consumer research. They are especially useful in the early stages of strategy decision-making.
The main point of this exciting method is the value of getting in-depth insight into the buyer belief and attitude structure, and use this insight for business strategy development. For example, when scanning for strategic opportunities they can uncover important consumer and business buyer attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that may precede an emerging trend. Non-directive techniques and projective research techniques are especially useful in defining buyer motivations .
Different from statistically reliable public opinion and market surveys, online surveys, and other quantitative techniques, qualitative methods like online market research communities should not be used for market sizing, measuring consumer or B2B brand preference, brand position, customer satisfaction or buying or product usage behavior. They are best suited for uncovering the spectrum or range of views, beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and experiences. This helps build assumptions and generate ideas which may warrant further assessment.
Aside from qualitative market research community studies, other qualitative methods include focus groups, and special observational qualitative methods such as ethnographic studies. (Photo ethnography, for example, uses various methods to watch what people do e.g. store shopping, using products in their home, behavior during a sales call, etc.)