Matt and Ben at PluggedIn have made a few predications about the year ahead, many of which I agree with. For us at Latitude it’s been a big year and it’s always good to take time to reflect on what has happened when looking to the future.
It was only a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of an article I wrote early last year in Research News about online qual and looking back on it highlights how much things have changed in the last 18 months. At that time, it seemed I was the only one in Australia talking about online communities. Fast forward 18 months and the buzz words at this year’s AMSRS conference was online communities. So if you didn’t know what they were, you do now and if you weren’t thinking about them, you have started to. The latest prediction is no surprise to us – MROCs will be big news next year.
Today it seems everyone has a different definition for what these are but over the next year I’m sure clearer definitions will emerge and we will stop comparing apples and oranges. We’ve seen some people talk about MROC’s, others use the term online research communities and then there are those who talk about online community panels but as time and experience emerge it will become clearer what the differences are.
We’ve seen a couple of big players enter the Australian market and the global players scrambling to get on board, but over the year we at Latitude have been working with a fantastic set of clients who are ahead of the curve. From FMCG icon brands to banks, well know Australian drama series, luxury cars and retailers we’ve covered the spectrum of diverse conversations with equally diverse audiences.
The beauty of our real time 24/7 connection to consumer conversations emerges as brands goes through a product recalls, competitors experience PR nightmares, social media trials go haywire and through it all we are getting immediate responses from consumers as they see it. The timeliness of the feedback procees is one of the biggest benefits for our clients. So there is no doubt in my mind that more clients (big and small) will see the benefits of online research communities and it will fundamentally change how research is integrated into their business .
And I take this opportunity to thank the fanatastic team of researchers, clients and community members I get to work with everyday. Without you, this would be no fun! And here’s to continuing the ride in the year ahead.