Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
>                    By Robert Moran, Jennifer Myers, Allison Quigley and Sparky Zivin                       The rules ofo...
Become as central                               have come away with some helpful                  tity. As Pew found in it...
bers represent a wide range of                  and beverage space to rebuild its                     There has been a lot...
nity is more likely to rust out than            Appreciation Day. Awareness of                    market research tool.wea...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5

MROC Rules of Engagement


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

MROC Rules of Engagement

  1. 1. > By Robert Moran, Jennifer Myers, Allison Quigley and Sparky Zivin The rules ofonline communities engagement Lessons learned from creating an MROC for Millennials A s Kit Yarrow and Jayne O’Donnell, authors of Gen BuY, have written, Millennials are “the largest, most NIC diverse, educated and influential shoppers on the RO planet.” Substantial research has been done to under- CT LY stand the behaviors, values and opinions of the 71 LE ON million teens and twenty-somethings known as Gen Y or the Millennial gen- R E UT eration, and for good reason. They are the first generation to have grown up FO TP online (so-called “digital natives”) and represent the most ethnically diverse Editor’s note: Robert Moran is executive vice president at StrategyOne, a generation ever, with a spending power exceeding $200 billion. OU Washington, D.C., research firm. He can As a group, they have been defined by the Pew Research Center as con- be reached at robert.moran@strategyone. net or at 202-326-1772. Jennifer Myers fident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and open to change, but we believe is the firm’s senior project manager. She can be reached at jennifer.myers@ that we still don’t fully understand what makes this complex and increasingly or at 202-772-3564. influential group tick. Previous studies, such as the Pew Center’s year-long Allison Quigley is the firm’s marketing director. She can be reached at allison. series Millennials: A Portrait of a Generation Next, have defined Millennials or at 202-326- as a group rather than exploring their diversity. 1725. Sparky Zivin is the firm’s vice president. He can be reached at sparky. The recognition that we can’t box them in to neat categories sparked our or at 202-326- 1708. To view this article online, enter desire to create a proprietary market research online community (MROC) article ID 20110402 at as a way to continue the conversation with Millennials as they evolve and articles. their influence grows. The community, called 8095 Live, was built as a jointsnapshot partnership with global communications firm Edelman. It is composed of 500The authors detail the nuances of launching andmaintaining an online community of Generation Y U.S. Millennials, born between 1980 andconsumers and offer tips to marketers interested in 1995, who represent a diverse group ofcommunity-building. life stages, locations and ethnicities. © 2011 Quirk’s Marketing Research Review ( Reprinted with permission from the April 2011 issue. This document is for Web posting and electronic distribution only. Any editing or alteration is a violation of copyright.
  2. 2. Become as central have come away with some helpful tity. As Pew found in its 2010Based on the increased interest in learnings and tips and will spend the study, Gen Y has a higher level ofand steady adoption of MROCs we balance of this article exploring them. cohort consciousness than its Genhave seen from brands and market- X predecessors. When asked, “Doers across all industries, it is likely Keep people with a common you think of your own age groupthat communities will become as age range, but not a common as unique and distinct from othercentral to the corporate insight passion, engaged. generations, or not?,” 61 percent offunction as the brand tracker has Building a true community - where Millennials felt their generation wasbeen historically. content is co-created by moderators unique and distinct. This compares Unlike traditional MROCs built and community members and dis- to 49 percent for Gen X, 58 per-exclusively for a client with the cussions form organically - is more cent for Boomers and 66 percentmembers coming from the client’s difficult in a community built around for the Silent customer base, 8095 Live is a shared demographic characteristic This belief that one’s genera-cohort-centric, targeting a single than those tied to shared interests tion has a unique identity serves asdemographic group. This distinction or enthusiasm for a specific brand a community bond. Communitiespresents advantages as well as disad- or product. In the latter, the nexus built around generations with lowervantages that must be overcome by between members already exists and cohort consciousness, such as Genthe community manager in order for our job as moderators is to guide the Xers, mean more work for the com-the community to thrive. conversation. In 8095, we had the munity manager in building and Further, there are significant additional step of building “commu- maintaining community identity.challenges that a community man- nity” itself and the ongoing challengeager must address when moderating of maintaining that engagement. Create engagements on a widethis type of community. Having Fortunately, a majority of range of topics. NICdealt with the unique challenges Millennials believe their generation With a community of Millennialsof a demographic community, we has a unique and distinctive iden- ranging from 16 to 31, mem- RO CT LY LE ON R E UT FO TP OU To purchase paper reprints of this article, contact Rhonda Brown at FosteReprints at 866-879-9144 x194 or
  3. 3. bers represent a wide range of and beverage space to rebuild its There has been a lot of debatelife stages and milestones: any- image. Members discussed whether regarding the optimal size for anwhere from getting their learner’s the advertisements and news stories MROC. Some have used Dunbar’spermit, to going away to college, they had seen were believable and number as one avenue of approachto embarking on their careers, to how they affected their opinion of on this topic. (British anthropologistbecoming parents. Despite fitting the brand and their willingness to Robin Dunbar theorized that therenicely into the Millennial or 8095 buy the company’s products. We is a limit - somewhere betweengeneration, as a group they do not rewarded the creator and the first 100 and 230 - to the number ofhave a unifying interest or hobby. several members who responded stable social relationships people can Recognizing that every engage- and then turned the activity have.) When applied to an MROC,ment within the community into one in which anyone who Dunbar’s number suggests thatwould not appeal to everyone, it responded would receive points. MROCs in the 150-230 range arewas crucial for us to create more This encouraged the conversation optimal and that in larger-popula-engagements, on a wide range of to continue and it also demon- tion MROCs it may be difficult forsubjects, than typical in a tradi- strated to community members that participants to develop much of ational MROC built exclusively for we were listening to what topics sense of group identity.a client. We found that members they wanted to discuss and were Alternatively, social media con-will self-select in or out of activi- interested in a dialogue. sultant Jacob Morgan has arguedties based on their interests, so that applying Dunbar’s number tooffering choices was important Create subcommunities. MROCs is inappropriate becauseto help them feel invested and to In a large demographic community we are not trying to build a tribe orentice them to keep coming back. such as 8095 Live, subcommunities fighting unit and are only attempting While a segment of community are an essential tool for encourag- to get a critical mass for consumer NICmembers are active across nearly all ing more interactive discussions. In co-creation. Similarly, some clientssubject matters, there are also clear a single discussion board posted to and prospective clients feel that lim- ROdivisions. For example, we have the entire community, we can easily iting communities to a range aroundcome to expect to hear from differ- exceed 200 unique responses in a Dunbar’s number (typically estimated CT LYent voices when asking about life matter of hours, but we often find to be 150) is too restrictive and that LE ONinsurance compared to beer prefer- members are only responding to the the size of the community shouldences. Stay-at-home moms are happy initial post, not interacting with one more closely resemble the sample R E UTto tell us about their perceptions another. As an alternative, we some- size of traditional national surveys -on healthy eating but less inter- times developed multiple discussion 800 or 1,000 (or more). FO TPested in a reality TV show about a topics around a common theme and Our perspective is that if it ismatchmaker. Community members assigned members to one of those important to the research that awho are eager to tell us about their discussions. By dividing the com- tight-knit community develops, OUexperiences capturing video are very munity into a smaller group, we are then Dunbar’s number seems to bedifferent than those concerned about better able to manage responses, ask a guide, and traditional MROCs forprotecting their privacy online. thoughtful follow-up questions and brand enthusiasts, employees, etc.,Encourage organic content. encourage back-and-forth discus- are best kept small.It is equally important for com- sion by members. However, when it comes to amunity managers to encourage demographic community, where aorganic content, especially at the Keep members interested with digital tribe is not critically impor-outset. Managers must actively themes. tant, the community needs to belisten to what members are saying Weekly and monthly themes larger to allow members to beand reward those who co-create encourage people to keep coming segmented into subcommunities.meaningful content. In 8095 Live, back and can rekindle interest in Because 8095 Live asks about topicsmembers don’t receive incen- members who had stopped par- from travel to technology pur-tive points (which are redeemed ticipating. For example, February’s chases, we need to ensure we willfor gift cards) automatically when theme was food, and while commu- have a critical mass of communitythey create their own activi- nity activities continued to cover a members ranging from workingties or respond to content posted broad scope of subjects, we included professionals to technology earlyby others. But when particularly several food-related activities and adopters at any given time, and thatinsightful or interesting content offered additional rewards for our requires a lot of people.emerges, we foster the conversation most active participants on the fea-by rewarding points to the creator tured theme. This resulted in higher Community managers are key.and, occasionally, to members. response rates not only on engage- When designing a survey, research- One of the first discussion ments related to food but also in ers aim to keep the questionnaireboards in 8095 Live created by a other subject matters. concise and precise to avoidmember was about a campaign by a respondent fatigue. However,major global company in the food Size matters. unlike surveys, an online commu- © 2011 Quirk’s Marketing Research Review ( Reprinted with permission from the April 2011 issue. This document is for Web posting and electronic distribution only. Any editing or alteration is a violation of copyright.
  4. 4. nity is more likely to rust out than Appreciation Day. Awareness of market research tool.wear out. Unless the participants this role will evolve, and, in time, Third, we feel that propri-are being engaged regularly, the best practices and industry train- etary communities will evolve tocommunity dwindles and dies. ing standards will solidify. become at least as important, if Therefore, the skill of a commu- not more so, to corporations asnity manager, a position that some Four basic conclusions the quarterly brand tracker or cus-current project managers may transi- Our work on 8095 Live has led us tomer satisfaction tracker, becausetion to, is critical. To meet the new to four basic conclusions about the of their real-time nature and costdemand for community managers, future of MROCs. advantages over traditional qualita-market research and insight firms First, we believe that “cohort tive research. And we believe thatwill need to go through a significant communities” such as 8095 Live can the majority of these communitiesevolution in human capital. In addi- be scaled quickly and have a bright will remain as “walled gardens” fortion to the new skill set that will be future. For example, we envision competitive reasons.required of today’s project manag- the creation of a successful MROC Finally, our analysis of theers, a mind-set change is needed as built around Americans born in MROC marketplace leads us towell. Focus group training and soft 1951. These Americans, now 60, believe that massive, open com-skills, like empathy, may be helpful have a strong generational bond as munities will occupy a hybridprerequisites for project managers Baby Boomers. With disposable research and public or consumertransitioning to the role of com- income and aging parents, as they engagement role. These communi-munity manager. No longer will contemplate their next act, we ties will either rise spontaneouslyresearchers treat participants as fun- can expect much more from this or they will be created or spon-gible commodities and nameless cohort. Their purchase and invest- sored by a corporation, but theirand faceless samples in a survey; ment patterns will create ripples open membership and public access NICrather they will be building long- throughout the economy. will make them exceedingly large.term working relationships with Second, we also believe that With strong text analytics tools we ROcommunity members who will be there is room for the development believe that the content of thesepartners in learning. of a new type of MROC through massive communities will be mined CT LY This is especially the case with the addition of a new option to the successfully for insights. But the LE ON8095 Live, as Millennials are the ownership/control dimension - a existence of these large communi-most connected and digitally- shared solution. Under this model, ties and their dual use as both an R E UTengaged generation the world has a firm creates and fosters an MROC insights tool and an engagementseen, and there is no shortage of based on a key demographic, life engine will present the market FO TPcompetition for their attention and stage or psychographic profile and research industry with a challenge.time online. That means we have sells access to this community to After all, the co-creative activitieshad to work doubly hard to keep multiple buyers for a lower cost of these future communities will OUcontent fresh, engaging and worth a than any one buyer would pay to in themselves become a consumerMillennial’s valuable time. build their own proprietary com- engagement or marketing tool. Community management is not munity. Think of it as the omnibus Will the blurring line betweenan easy job, but it is beginning model applied to MROCs. We “marketing” and “research” withinto get some recognition. January believe that under this shared-cost this new type of community be24, 2011, marked the second model, “multi-client cohort com- embraced by market research orannual Community Manager munities” show much promise as a rejected by it? Only time will tell. | Q To purchase paper reprints of this article, contact Rhonda Brown at FosteReprints at 866-879-9144 x194 or