MROC Variant 3

Posted on 07 January 2010

Hat tip to Market Research Deathwatch for highlighting a new type of MROC – lockerz.

MROC Variant 1 is what we think of as a traditional MROC built exclusively (usually by Communispace, Passenger, etc.) for a client with the members coming exclusively from the client’s current customer base (raving fans typically).

MROC Variant 2 is (will be) MROCs built around particular affinity groups and consumer types and accessed like an omnibus product by many different marketers. In this case the MROC or panel company will “rent” access to the group to many buyers.

MROC Variant 3 is (will be) like lockerz or expotv .

It will be a much larger type of MROC which we might label as something else entirely – possibly a OECLS (Open Ended Customer Listening Service) or a “megapanel.”

Several things will distinguish variant 3:

1. Size. These online communities could be huge.
2. Ownership. They may not be owned by traditional MR players.
3. Multiple Interests. They are likely to include members with many different interests.
4. Fun. They will be more fun than a traditional MROC and will force Variant 1 to build in games and other attractions.

Where does Variant 3 end up? One possible future is a global “cool” community operating by member invitation only that enables trendspotters to identify the most bleeding edge trends in fashion, entertainment and consumption in real time. Members would post videos of their newest purchases and offer dreamscapes on what they want to do with friends or family in the summer. Who knows, they might even discover the catchy tunes of LatinoArabia music.

6 Responses to “MROC Variant 3”

  1. While I appreciate your effort to create a taxonomy of MROC’s, I’d like to correct a few misconceptions and offer an alternate perspective. At Communispace (which you describe as being typical of Variant 1), not all of our communities comprise a client’s core customer base and raving fans. Many of our communities are made up of competitors’ customers, lost customers, or — in one of the best uses of private online communities — emerging or future market segments. (Charles Schwab’s Groundswell Award-winning Gen Y community is a great example of that. Schwab set out to get to know a young, non-affluent population with the goal of developing products and services to serve this market segment that could become future customers of its core offerings.)And while we don’t build in games purely for fun, we do employ a variety of creative techniques to attract, engage, and retain people. That being said, what we’ve found is that being able to privately, honestly express one’s needs and views to brands who are visibly, actively listening is highly engaging in its own right.
    On a more philosophical note, I question whether Variant 3 will truly be a “community” in the sense of engaging individuals in personal, ongoing, reciprocal relationships. I think that “megapanel” probably is a more accurate description. And while panels are extremely useful for episodic, one-off research projects and, in your model, for passive listening (probably via text analytics), I don’t think they’re synonymous with communities. But thanks for starting this conversation. I hope others will weigh in.

  2. admin says:

    As an aside, are you aware of any usage of prediction markets within an MROC?

  3. admin says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful response Julie. Very educational. Much appreciated.

  4. You’re welcome. And in response to your question re the use of prediction markets within an MROC, I don’t know of any companies that combine full-blown prediction market technology (e.g. Inkling) with online community technology. However, at Communispace we’ve experimented both with inviting people to go to external prediction market sites (which have been highly engaging for a handful, and confusing for a larger number of members), and, more successfully incorporated some prediction market techniques into surveys. Brainjuicer has done a lot of good work in this domain.

  5. cheers, i like the style of your blog so will be sure to visit again!

  6. lockerz says:

    Super comme site , j’adore !

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