Insights and market research budgets often get cut – even in good years.

Despite living in the apparent age of “Customer Obsession,” the funding it takes to truly be “customer obsessed” isn’t always there.

If you’ve got an online insight community for market research, it’s not uncommon for others to look at the price-tag and say “hey… why are we doing this?” Brands using an insight community throughout the full year are probably looking at a 6-figure number if they’re using the recommended full-service capabilities of their insight community provider, so it’s a natural place to look when finding ways to cut budgets.

 

Here are 4 ways to prevent that from happening – or to salvage what you can of this amazing market research and insights resource.

1. Combine multiple rooms into 1.

These days, most diverse insight communities should be simple enough to manage in one room. Sometimes though, you’re paying for multiple rooms to house different audiences. In most cases, there is no reason to do this today. You can combine your branded and unbranded communities, your customer and prospect communities, your mom and fan communities, etc. into one room offering each member a unique experience depending on who they are. That helps lower technology costs.

2. Consider a hybrid service model.

Many communities are delivered via a full-service model, whereby your trained account team handles everything from learning design to analysis and deliverable creation. While we recommend that, you may be able to work with your provider on a ‘hybrid model,’ where a certain portion of projects are fully client-led or just a portion of the project is managed by the provider. That can help reduce the consulting fees associated with such a relationship, and many partners will allow this.

3. Switch to a provider with a broader range of native capabilities.

If your community is just “quant” – you could also consider transferring it over to an insight community provider that offers more qualitative applications, such as mobile diaries and video chats, at a same or sometimes even lower cost. There have been major innovations in the market research online community toolkit over the past several years, and you can get more bang for your buck today than you may realize. This could lower the cost of other research you’re currently doing outside of your customer insight community.

4. Get a quote for a comparable ad-hoc research project.

For the sake of demonstration, bid out a project you’re doing with your community partner to other providers as a one-off. You might find that you’d be paying a lot more for the same volume of research if you didn’t have the community – a stark reminder to leadership that cutting resources that save market research dollars probably isn’t the right move when you’re looking to save but still have a high volume of work.

 

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