Online communities are an intimate way of having a pulse on what your customers are feeling and saying about your product and brand.

FUEL CYCLE recently conducted a survey asking Market Researcher’s questions on what their most valuable tools are for collecting data and maintaining a community. The results are reflective of a larger conversation on proper market research tools and how to best use insights to drive crucial brand decisions.


What is your most useful tool for collecting data?

Close to 70% of respondents reported relying heavily on survey tools to gauge customer sentiment and collect data.

The role of Market Researcher in recent years has become more prominent and valuable as brands are beginning to see how susceptible the market is to sweeping changes.  Market Researcher’s use tools that provide them with quick information and insight on the customer, with industry reports indicating that tools such as Survey Monkey and Google Analytics are the most popular. While survey tools are great, they don’t always provide a holistic understanding of consumer needs, and they don’t create an open dialogue. This is where creating a strong online community that can be accessed at any time is imperative.


How valued are online communities within your organization?

Out of respondents polled 62% ranked online communities as very important to their industry, whereas only 4.2% found them not important.

Online communities are quickly becoming the industry leading tool for understanding customer sentiment and driving consumer engagement. And as disruptive brands are now the market standard, cultivating a customer-centric model is without a doubt the necessary component to staying ahead of the curve.


What are your most important community objectives?

45% of respondents claimed that user engagement was their first and foremost community objective. (Reducing customer churn and generating leads followed second at around twenty-five percent.)

A study by Gartner found that nearly 90% of industries considered customer experience to be their key market differentiator, so it’s no wonder that having a community platform that enables and harbors a space where customers have a voice is vital to growth and innovation.


What do you consider the biggest pitfall plaguing online communities?

Our respondents conveyed that misreporting and poor communication was their biggest setback.

Having an online community platform is only the first step to creating the ideal customer experience journey. Understanding the pitfalls and setbacks that plague communities are homogeneous to its benefits.  Our respondents conveyed that misreporting and poor communication was their biggest setback, and according to GreenBooks’ this is the biggest market research challenge: Researchers want a way “to provide or receive consultative reports, tell a cohesive story, and account for all the pieces of the puzzle in the client’s world.” Brands want actionable insights, and knowing community best practices cultivates the strength of the online community.


What do you find as the biggest asset from online communities?

By far and large, Market Researchers consider customer feedback as the most important benefit to online communities.

Researchers commonly remark that they know their customers have a lot to say but just don’t know where to go to express opinions and sentiments.  Typically, customers provide feedback only when they’ve encountered a negative experience. However, with online communities, consumers have a place where they willingly want to give feedback and are encouraged through incentives to express brand sentiments.

The Market Researcher’s role is growing in importance, but thankfully, so are game changing technologies, like community platforms, that act as a gateway into the mind and habits of the consumer.