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Not all online communities are born equal

The online community space is becoming ever more appealing as companies try to engage with their consumers in an ongoing, two-way conversation. However, depending on the type of insight a company wants to gain, some online communities are more useful than others.

A report from the analyst firm Demand Metric shows that two thirds of companies use different types of online communities in order to engage with their consumers. Given the ubiquitous use of this valuable tool, the question brands are asking is whether they are engaging in the right online community space. Knowing where to engage and what type of framework to apply is crucial, as each community requires a distinctive strategy and approach.

Here are the four main types of communities:

  1. Social communities: independently generated from the consumer’s social media interaction allowing brands to reach a much greater audience with a limited budget, tracking what competitors are up to and identifying consumer trends. Great for access, hard to analyse (and impossible to verify if the data is even real)
  2. Support communities: communities that operate thanks to members with an in depth knowledge of the brand’s products or services, who offer guidance and tips to fellow consumers. Great for cost effective customer support and identifying issues, but poor for understanding how people actually feel about a product or service. 
  3. Advocate communities: similar to support communities, this approach allows brands to deepen their relationship with their biggest advocates by gathering testimonials from them. The most passionate and loyal consumers turn into influencers and do the sales job on behalf of the brand. Great for brand awareness and spreading sentiment, but poor in terms of understanding what might be going wrong and / or identifying unmet needs (because brand advocates have all their needs met!)
  4. Insight communities: consist of carefully selected consumers who maintain a long-term relationship with the brand. They help the company grow, using the intelligence collected directly from the consumers who fuel it. By gathering continuous high-quality feedback brands receive a comprehensive understanding of consumer behavior by the day. 

To get the most out of their interaction with online communities, businesses need to carefully define their objectives and the kind of value they want to get. No matter your needs, there is at least one community that can prove useful and help you improve your brand recognition, limit first-level customer support or determine unhappy customers early in time and thereby reduce churn. With careful planning and execution a community can deliver impact within more than one of the above categories.

However there is only one community that is designed specifically for constructive insights that generate value over time. Having your own insight community is both effective and efficient, allowing you to cover all aspects of strategic, tactical and operational marketing.

Building your own online CROWD – the Insight Community

The insight community is comprised of dedicated consumers who have opted in to give feedback. Despite getting some kind of reward for their cooperation, they have still volunteered to objectively share what they feel and think about a product and why they would choose it over the competitor.

In terms of accuracy the insight communities have an unparalleled potential for informed and knowledgeable insight. The participants are carefully selected before the start of any consumer-centric research, depending on what kind of insight the brand wants to gain. All consumers are highly engaged but not exclusively brand advocates, as we are not aiming to get only positive feedback, but rather actionable and objective insight.

Reaching large relevant audiences is quite hard through conventional social media. With Catalyx’s help, brands can be presented in over 40 markets simultaneously, and as we take all the pain of creating a new community away, the client can focus on implementing the actionable solutions their first CROWD has given them.

Analyzing the consumer’s feedback in depth requires a lot of people, time and money. With Catalyx you don’t have to worry about any of that. We have the necessary full service expertise to carry your marketing research forward. What is more, we can get you results in just weeks, not months, allowing you to take care of other priorities, while we handle the research.

As to the objective – we have created six different capabilities that allow us to address multiple topics, from innovation and packaging, to messaging and many more. We can create a specific community designed to handle whatever business challenges you are facing, while allowing your current community to remain focused on the bigger picture.

Last but not least – with us you won’t have to choose quantity over quality ever again. With Pulsecheck  you get a quantitative testing method, enriched with abundant participant feedback. This allows for quick and excellent project realization and actionable recommendations. And providing you the confidence that an expert is there to analyze and report on every step of the way.

How does this compare to your other marketing insight instruments in terms of timing, insights and knowledge?

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