This is the era of give your customers what they want or risk losing their attention or favor. Customer research is increasingly important to provide your company with the information it needs to maintain and attract happy customers. One challenge companies often face is the cost of implementing a reliable way to engage with their customers to drive insight that also provides a return on investment (ROI). To meet this challenge, leading research companies have created online populations of targeted consumers, stakeholders and shareholder called Insight Communities.

So what are insight communities exactly?

Insight communities are like a focus group of hundreds of people that is always available (via an online private portal) to provide opinions on products, services, campaigns, and more. They are a highly effective and reliable way to engage with your customers and have been proven to drive positive ROI.Insight communities are organizational assets that both inform business decisions and create brand advocacy among members.

How do you build them?

Strategic marketing agencies are skilled in building communities like this to gather and evaluate feedback from peer groups. What’s most important when evaluating whether or not this is right for your company is identifying a firm with specific expertise in your industry. The Lift Factor, with its experience in financial services, insurance and healthcare marketing, is able to tap into a deep bench of industry peers, professionals and customers and build impactful and informative groups that you can then learn from.

Capturing the ROI of Insight Communities

There are many ways that the ROI of such groups can be measured, making these groups a cost-effective and important marketing tool.

Here are some of the benefits they provide.

  • Quicker reaction time to customer feedback and demand—what is the short- and long-term savings of rapidly reacting to a situation or gaining better knowledge of your customers’ buying journey and pain points?
  • Launching the right product to market at a faster pace—how much does speeding up the development cycle and ensuring the right solution result in increased revenue and better market position?
  • Making more informed and accurate business decisions—what is the cost savings of not doing the wrong thing or validating the decision (risk aversion)?

Forrester Consulting completed a study on the ROI of Insight Communities to clients. In addition to the cost efficiencies, speed, and value propositions of such communities, Forrester quantified the financial value of continually engaging with members in a community. The highlights include:

  • $1.7M business value from increased customer insight
  • 590% ROI
  • $546K incremental profit and $4.7M increased sales from community members
  • 39% increase in average order value and 70% lower churn rate from community members
  • 75% reduction in cost compared to traditional market research methodologies
  • 4–6 times faster speed to resultsA Proven Solution for Customer Engagement“Online Communities and Mobile First Surveys continue to lead the pack as formerly emerging methods that are now in mainstream use.” (GRIT Q3/Q4 2018)
  • Ultimately, these two pieces of evidence indicate that these communities are not only a solution that spreads efficient business insight across an organization but also an asset that drives revenue and profitability.
  • Five years ago, Insight Communities were more of a niche solution or emerging technology, but according to the latest GreenBook Research Industry Trends Report (GRIT Q3/Q4 2018), 80% of respondents stated that Insight Communities are either in use (59%) or under consideration (21%). This has led GreenBook to believe that insight communities are now a mainstream solution:
  • This reaffirms that insight communities not only provide fast and efficient consumer insight but also drive business action that results in incremental sales and profit for organizations. These are just some of the reasons that organizations are implementing communities. Client stories about the impact of ongoing Insight Communities are powerful and continue to prove the short- and long-term ROI. Shifting the focus to consumer engagement is resulting in organizations realizing significant returns and outcomes.