June 27, 2024

What's an insight community?

Get always-on access to a vetted group of consumers.

An insight community is not simply a group of really smart people who hang out together feeling superior about themselves. That’s Mensa.

In the marketing world, an insight community is a targeted group of customers (or potential customers) who interact with your brand over an extended period of time.

They’ll give feedback, share opinions, answer polls, and participate in other market research activities.

How is an insight community different than old-fashioned surveys?

A typical survey is often a one-off exercise: a cohort is built, the survey is deployed, that’s it.

An insight community, on the other hand, is a group that stays active and engaged for the longer term. That opens the door for deep, qualitative insights into consumer behavior, preferences, and perceptions.

These richer learnings help you evolve your marketing, product development, customer experience, and any other aspect of your business that you want to drill down on.

Does an IC replace ad hoc research?

When it comes to custom research/surveys and insight communities, it's not an either/or proposition. They work in tandem.

"Insight Communities are meant to be complementary to your ad hoc custom research," explains Kasia Galka of Harris QuestIC.

If you want insights on market segmentation or brand perceptions, you'll conduct ad hoc research with a general population, Galka explains.

After that, you can drill down further with your insight community "to get into concept testing, or product evaluation with your brand or product's user group."

Give me an example of how this works...

Your goals can be broad, or very specific—and they can change over time.

For instance, a large farming equipment company used QuestIC to help innovate their tractor filters—with the goal of preventing them from clogging up, allowing farmers to avoid interruptions in the field.

Across a company, the use of ICs can be widespread. They might be used by insights teams within the research department, as well as within marketing, product, and brand teams.

What are the features of an insight community?

This more robust way of connecting with consumers offers a few clear advantages.

In short, insight communities are:

  • Engaged: A productive insight community keeps things exciting. Mix it up, or even gamify the experience, from super-quick polls to more in-depth surveys or consumer diaries.
  • Ongoing: ICs allow for a longitudinal perspective on consumer behavior and attitudes. Let’s say your brand encounters a crisis, like a product recall. You can tap into your existing insight community to see how opinions and perceptions have changed pre- and post-crisis.
  • Targeted & vetted: Platforms like QuestIC work to ensure that the members of your insight community actually fit the target audience or segments you want to hear from.
  • Two-way: An insight community can act as a way to make your customers feel valued and rewarded, since you can serve them things like newsletters or company news not immediately available elsewhere.

How do customers enter or engage with the insight community?

If you’re using QuestIC to create and manage your insight community, then your customers will have access to a bespoke website designed to mirror your brand’s own look, feel, and guidelines.

Think of it as akin to a very niche social media site or Facebook group, in which the shared passion is a brand or consumer product.

What sort of things can I expect of my insight community members?

Here are some common ways QuestIC would enable you to engage with your vetted consumer community to help your campaign for a new drink you’re launching in the winter:

  • Quick polls: Get a rapid read on your audience’s drinking preference by asking a quick question such as “What time of the day do you typically drink a hot beverage?”
  • Surveys: Dive deeper—understand what type of hot beverage they consume, their preferences in taste, preparation, and consumption levels—by creating a 10-minute survey.
  • Consumer diaries: Have members of your IC participate in a 5-day diary that follows their daily routine in consuming their hot beverage of choice. Link emotion, behavior, and consumption patterns with your audience to tailor your media campaign, packaging and product awareness among other potential customers.
  • Forums: Test your new campaign pitch with a selected group of customers in your community by having them participate in a forum, providing real-time qualitative feedback on the messaging, visuals, and beyond.  

What can I do to reward & keep my community members engaged?

As we mentioned above, insight communities are two-way. You learn from your consumers, but your consumers also learn from you via newsletters, updates, discussion groups, and other insider perks.

Some examples of things you can offer community members to make them feel valued include:

  • Instant results to the polling questions
  • Quarterly newsletters, calling out how their inputs actually impacted and shaped a media campaign or product innovation
  • Brand rewards and experiences

"A common assumption is that respondents need to be incentivized through monetary compensation," explains Kasia Galka of QuestIC.

"Actually, members of insight communities are most excited about specific product swag, special experiences like an exclusive product launch event, or just being part of a group that shapes the future of the product/brand."

Interested in learning more?

QuestIC, part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud family, can easily help you get your community up, running, and driving actionable insights.

There’s also a flexible, three-tiered subscription system, depending on how much support you need along the way. We’d love to show you the product in action. Click here to set a time to demo.

Scott Indrisek

Scott Indrisek is the Senior Editorial Lead at Stagwell Marketing Cloud

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