As everyone in the entire world is aware, the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has halted travel and business on a global scale.  With many companies instituting travel bans for their employees, and the general public being told to stay home to curtail the spread of the virus, market research and innovation is now more challenging than ever. Despite this, your market research does not need to stop.  This is where online insight communities come into play.

An online community gives you a way to continue to gain insights from your customers so you can keep conducting business as usual during this trying time.  Specifically, through an online insights community you have:

 

  • An engaged audience in perpetual “go” mode.  The beauty of an online community is that it’s typically comprised of consumers who have been pre-screened to meet certain criteria and represent your brand’s most loyal customers.  As members of your community, they are accustomed to being – and expect to be – asked to participate in different research activities at a moment’s notice.  And they are ready for it.   Typically, you can expect to collect data and verbatim’s to help you understand your research objectives within 24 hours AT MOST of the time the activity went live.  And you’ll see results start to trickle in immediately, so you’ll have a read on the data early on.  Long story short – if you post it, they will respond, and you will have in-the-moment, on-demand results.

 

  • Access to customers on a national – and even international – level. While in-person focus groups, shop-alongs, and many other qualitative research methodologies need to be canceled considering the current environment, online research can continue business as usual in an insight community.   Plus, you can reach customers from all over the country and globe.  They can talk to you via video chat, journal their experiences using photos, images and video testimonials, etc.  All these features are available in an online insight community, so you can see and hear what your customers are experiencing, while they experience it.  Also, you can follow up with community members after a project is complete, which is not possible with in-person research.

 

  • Substantial cost-savings plus speed to market. By being able to continue your research initiatives while others have to put them on hold for the foreseeable future, you can get your products to market in a timely manner.  The financial implications of an online community are great; the ROI continues to grow as you learn more about your target customers and incorporate these insights into your product pipeline.  Online communities are cost effective too, as they enable to you to have ongoing dialogs with your customers to develop products with them in mind, virtually guaranteeing success.

 

All of these elements are key your business during this time of public health crisis, as you can keep your research moving in an online environment, free from threat of virus, and continue to innovate and develop products and services.