This Thursday, Questia Group continues posting on the new section of its blog, in which you can read more on the methodological aspects of market research and the constant developments in the field.

Today, we focus our article on Insights Communities. As discussed in my previous article, traditional research often fails to keep up with the data-driven world in which we live in, by suggesting time-consuming and costly approaches. Even more, common market research tools often propose a static, one-shot view of customers’ beliefs. But attitudes and opinions may change over time. Therefore, it's crucial for businesses to keep their eyes on the ever-changing views of their consumers. As a result, in the last years, companies have searched for innovative tools of researching the markets they activate on. And this is how Insights Communities were born. Insights communities are able to capture and track behaviors over time, to put them in context and to identify patterns and trends that can help companies take better decisions in the future.

Insights Communities give brands immediate access to different consumers who deliver ongoing, real-time feedback. Additionally, they are reversing the role of market research from being unidirectional to multidirectional: respondents don’t wait to receive instructions from the moderator/ operator anymore, yet they engage with others by truly creating meaning of their opinions. But how does an Insight Community work? During time, I have received this question many times, since it’s rather hard to put the finger on its exact mechanism. However, in order to differentiate Insights Communities from other market research tools, I think is more appropriate to say what they aren’t.

Insights Communities are not online focus groups. Communities create an ongoing dialogue with the respondents as opposed to the snapshot offered by most focus groups. Engagement with community members is daily and can take the form of quantitative surveying, as well (see below).

Insights Communities are not online panels. Unlike panels, Communities regularly engage people on several research topics over an extended period of time (several months or even years) using a mix of quantitative (surveys, quick polls) and qualitative methods (focus groups, photo and video diaries, ideation).

Insights Communities are not forums. Even if similar with forums in terms of design and information offered, Insights Communities often use a purpose-built solution, featuring tools especially designed to bring groups of customers together and to engage them in various activities. The engagement they create cannot be matched by a forum proposed solution, especially since using dedicated qualitative and quantitative market research tools.

On one side, from a business perspective, Insights Communities allow companies to engage with customers in an ongoing dialogue and to rapidly transform the gathered feedback into actionable strategies. On the other side, customers feel like they are positively contributing with their feedback in the “life” of a brand.

In today's hyper-competitive world, businesses developing consumer-centric strategies for their brand(s) gain clear advantages in their customers’ eyes. In this context, Insights Communities bring unparalleled findings and take brands one step closer to the global village of insights.

Stay connected to Questia Group and find out more on our Insights Community tool.