MROC: Qualitative Research Made Simple

by | Jul 27, 2012 | Market Research

Ever heard of MROCs?

MROC stands for Marketing Research Online Communities. Whether you want a closed community comprised of employees, in order to innovate and share opinions within an organisation; or you want to understand consumers and customers better – MROCs are the way to go.

While Online Panels are an efficient, cost effect way of conducting targeted surveys, MROCs delve deeper, to understand and promote discussion.

They tap into the success of opinion sharing and social behaviour in online communities, and when research is added to the mix, they are an incredible platform for drawing quality insights in shorter turnaround times- at a fraction of the cost of traditional Qualitative Research.

And if ‘fraction of the cost’ didn’t already pique your interest, here are seven more benefits of going the MROC route.

#1 Anonymity

There is nothing more cringe worthy than having to sit in a three hour focus group with complete strangers and talk about your sex life and condom use. Nevertheless, the topics we feel least comfortable about are usually the ones that require the most research.

Being a member of an MROC means that you have far more anonymity and freedom to answer questions and give opinions from a point of comfort. For the researcher it means that respondents are less guarded, and as a result, responses are far more personal and in depth.

#2 Privacy

In addition to anonymity, MROC members have a sense of security.  They have their own login details, and they are able to form a trusted, secure community with the other members on the platform. There aren’t any outsiders or strangers viewing their opinions and responses, and if they wish, they can allow only the researcher to view a particular response.

This security extends to the researchers and of course the client, as project information is only shared with members who have access to the community.

Another nifty function is the option to only allow participants to view the group’s responses once they have submitted their own. This eliminates group think, and ensures participants are responding as individuals, instead of reacting purely off the comments of others.

#3 Collaboration

Discussions on an MROC platform don’t feel like interrogations. Instead of the rigid process that research usually follows, MROC research feels more like a series of insightful conversations.

Because of the collaborative effort between researcher and research community, the flow of conversation is less inhibited, and far more focused on what the community wants to talk about – within a defined topic.

While researchers may steer a conversation in the right direction, the community keeps the insights rolling because of the freedom they have on the platform, and the fact that they are allowed to communicate in ways they feel most comfortable with.

#4 Convenience

For the members of an MROC, it’s not about sitting down at a table for the required amount of time. They can contribute as much time as they feel like giving, and they can do it at a time most convenient to them. Whether it’s in the comfort of their own home, or on the go with their mobile device, they don’t have to feel like participating in research is a task, but rather a rewarding experience.

As for researchers, it means that international respondents can be accessed at the click of a button, and going further, MROCs can contain a mix of both national and international respondents, making discussions far more interesting and insightful, with no added inconvenience. They also don’t have to chase respondents, as they are willing to participate on the platform.

#5 Engagement

Members of MROCs enjoy the fact that they are able to communicate and engage with other people, on their own terms, without having to meet them face to face.

The platform gives life to brands, and members are able to share their opinions through multimedia like video and picture sharing.

You can react to surveys, polls, discussions and games in your own personal way and you are also able to add your opinions and discuss topics with others – without having to leave your personal comfort zone.

#6 Flexibility

Where traditional Qualitative Research planning may end at ‘Print discussion guide’, online research is far more fluid.

Looking at the MROC platform specifically, discussion topics can be added, deleted or amended at any time, allowing the research to grow and transform based on real consumer insights.

These insights can happen at anytime, anywhere, so isn’t it comforting to know that members of the community are always a click away from accessing the platform.

#7 Speed

MROCs can run anywhere from a few weeks to months. Because of the continuity of discussions and topics, there’s a constant flow of useful information and insights. You might think that because MROCs last longer than traditional qualitative research, it’s slow to return findings and data…but it’s the opposite.

Online means real-time feedback, and researchers have the ability to analyse data and draw insights as they receive them. Reporting doesn’t happen at the closure of a community, but throughout its lifespan.

But then again…

The classic statement made by late adopters is that “This isn’t for us”.

But with people making purchases online, using online customer service tools, and often preferring social networking to plain old socializing, the internet is undeniably a viable avenue for research.

It is a trusted, secure way for consumers to save time, express themselves and live their lives. And if you have customers, and you want to know what they think, launching an MROC is not only logical for your business, but essential.

If you’d like to find out more about Interact RDT’s MROC methodology, click here.


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