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Community engagement is a two-way conversation

Community engagement is a two-way conversation

When requesting participants to complete a survey or a focus group you are opening up a conversation between the brand and the customer. Like any conversation this is an opportunity for both sides to share their thoughts and to ask questions. So often in market research, and especially with access panels, this is often one sided, the brand pays a small incentive yet asks a lot of questions, gains real insights and supports their business objectives. Participants have a one-way conversation yet they can’t hear the brand on the other side.

The power of communities is where both sides of the conversation are getting an equal amount of satisfaction. It is one of the best ways of recognising participants’ efforts and is one of the most effective aspects to increase engagement. It lets participants know that they have been heard, that their feedback matters and has been taken on-board.

Why share results?

  • Sharing information on the main findings, what in future will change and why you want to make this change will ensure members stay engaged throughout future phases

  • Engaging participants by sharing updates on how the research will be used will make recruitment for any future projects much easier.

  • Contributing and having their opinion heard is a central and key motivator in signing up to a research community. Confirming that members’ opinions are driving change embraces that motivation and reduces or can totally negate the reliance on incentives

  • An over reliance on incentives can be dangerous as the conversation becomes a transactional one. As well as the typical prize draws try and be creative and link this to your brand: ‘a tour of the factory’, or ‘exclusive VIP access to events’ for example.


How to share results:

  • You can involve your marketing team – sharing feedback can become part of your marketing messages, which will not only engage those who took part in the study, but also those who didn’t. Simply knowing that you have asked customers to take part in meaningful and impactful research and are now sharing with them the effect that it has had on the product/service or the brand itself, will start influencing perception of your entire customer base; the secondary result of this will be that more of your customer-base will look to take part in the next research experience, meaning that the sample of willing participants will be bigger next time around.

  • Ask your internal insight team to follow up with everyone who has been involved in the study. A quick internal update to the insight team on how you used the research is all they will need to create a compelling follow-up email, newsletter, infographic, of video update detailing the impacts and changes made to those who took part

  • A simple forum discussion or which allows the participants to quickly and easily find the trail of impacts and changes whenever they please, or through a series posts by the moderator of the online community. Keep this channel widely available for your customers to suggest topics for discussions – you will be surprised how much detail and how many valuable insights this will generate.

  • The best technology should have a dedicated feedback mechanism, and this should be easy for the end user to simply click and share a message.


If participants know the impact they're having on the business, then they know their contribution was acknowledged and valuable.

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