If you’re reading this, it most likely means that you are thinking about setting up an online customer community for your research needs. Congratulations, you are joining many of the world’s leading brands and companies in harnessing the power of your customers in real time. But equally, the market is littered with communities that aren’t performing well. So, what are the traps for young players?
It’s worth thinking through why you need a community and who is going to use it. Are you seeking consumer feedback on your innovation process? Maybe it more about improving customer experience? Alternatively, will you use it for testing advertising and promotional ideas? How much research would you like to do through it? Will it be mostly qualitative or quantitative or a mixture? These are important considerations in determining the size, structure and target audience for your community.
Involve the stakeholders in your business at an early stage. Cast your net wide – sales, marketing, customer, product & pricing, digital and social to name a few. Not only does this help scope out the community requirements and secure their buy-in for when you launch, but you will be surprised at how many ideas get generated. Turn the output of these sessions into a clear community plan – your plan should cover who and how many you will recruit into the community, how you will recruit them, what type of research you will originate, and how you will keep the community engaged and rewarded for their efforts.
And, of course, you need some good partners to help you along the way, for technology, research and community management. Involve your partners early so they can help guide you through the purpose and planning. Make sure their technology platform delivers to the needs that you have identified, that they have robust research credentials and they have a plan to keep the community engaged. Or just email email@example.com and we’ll help you out!