By: Margie Lane, Research Director
The end of the year came & went, a reminder of how much time flies. So I’m making the time now to reflect on what we’ve achieved and the direction we need to take next year with our online communities.
1. There is always room for more scope to explore market gaps and opportunities rather than simply answering burning questions or sense checking ideas just before they go to market. We need to help our clients to use our communities much earlier in the product development process when ideas are first on the drawing board.
2. Research shows, and our members tell us, that they’re happy to tell us about their lives and be involved in the cocreation process as long as we tell them how the information is being used. We need to help our clients provide our communities with feedback so they receive the recognition and feedback they need and deserve.
3. As we continue to develop our mobile platforms we will be including more mobile tasks and challenges for consumers to capture insitu experiences that help identify actual behaviour and can be used to bring the consumer to life in the boardroom.
4. Internal stakeholders benefit much more when they are fully engaged with our communities. We need to invest more time upfront when our communities are being established to inform and excite stakeholders and provide ongoing dialogue, not just written reports. Debriefs will be more brainstorming sessions than formal debriefs.
5. Focus more on engagement than be concerned about size. We know engagement is the key to delving beyond predictable, rational responses and our focus needs to be on continually challenging, inspiring and relating to our members to reveal their true behaviour and attitudes.
6. Ideally we want more time for spontaneous discussions and exploration of issues and ideas as they emerge. The accessibility of online communities makes it too easy to use them to seek an answer to a question, but answers to direct questions do not always provide an accurate reflection of what the consumer will do. Far better we learn from consumers’ conversations of how they go about using products and services and making their decisions to guide decision-making.
How do you plan to use your online communities in 2013?