When it comes to qualitative research, focus groups are probably what you are most familiar with. But when it comes to engaging with LSMs 6-10, who mostly have internet access, this old-school methodology is no longer the best way to capture the thoughts and perceptions of these respondents. Why is this? Well because the Market Research Online Community or MROC can offer something far better: richer data is gathered, at a better price and offering a more exciting experience for both clients and respondents.

The Market Research Online Community or MROC is a private online site with social network and research features where hundreds of invited and profiled consumers participate in research activities. This provides brands and researchers with an exciting opportunity to deep-dive into the minds of consumers like never before. They discuss and share their thoughts and experiences while moderators interact with respondents and systematically gather research feedback. The MROC can run from two weeks up to several months (or even longer than a year). Activities are posted daily and sometimes three to four activities are posted on a daily basis, creating quite a ‘buffet’ of research discussions and topics to keep respondents engaged.

In addition, because the MROC is private and anonymous for respondents, they are more open and honest in their responses providing much richer more expressive data than that generated in focus groups. Respondents do not experience the pressure of conforming to the group, but rather feel that their individual opinion is what really counts.

So not only do respondents thoroughly enjoy taking part in research because they find it easy to be themselves in the activities, but brands are perceived by these respondents to be exciting and innovative because they are making use of cutting edge research design to hear directly from consumers.

Compared to several focus groups that cover only a couple of objectives, a single MROC allows you, the Client, access to a research ‘buffet’, where you can access greater amounts and varieties of data in an innovative way for prolonged periods of time.

And let’s not forget the price: for the amount and quality of information, it all works out at great value for money and is more cost-effective than running several focus groups all over the country. On average, the current price (in line with international suppliers) for an MROC is approximately R150 000 for a two-week MROC, all inclusive.
In order to try match the quantity and quality of information generated in an MROC, one would need to conduct as least ten focus groups. On average a single focus group costs approximately R25 000. When comparing an MROC with ten focus groups, the cost per participant and cost per hour of data collection works out cheaper for an MROC. It goes without saying then that the total cost is cheaper and the data gathered in an MROC can be richer.

Let’s examine the cost comparison in more detail:

*Total number of participants can fluctuate, depending on the project.

Even though we are talking about qualitative research, the numbers here don’t lie. And is running off to watch several focus groups, with the risk of losing your luggage all over the country really worth it, when you can sit in the comfort of your own office viewing your brand’s MROC?

So if this has in any way convinced you to revolutionise the qualitative space of your business, then give Columinate a shout. Columinate are the pioneers of MROCs in South Africa, since launching the first MROC more than four years ago, in 2008. Since then Columinate has successfully run hundreds of MROCs and is the industry leader and expert when it comes to the MROC methodology.