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Online Communities are Reshaping Market Research

May 31, 2011
Now, more than ever, the Internet boasts an array of channels in which companies can achieve extensive reach to diverse audiences.  A pertinent component of business strategy, traditional market research methods are being supplemented by marketing portals like social media, blogs and Online Communities, to garner relevant consumer insights.

According to Germaine Reyes, Managing Director of consulting firm Synergy (News - Alert) Business Consultancy, “these new innovations can enable market research consultants to augment existing traditional methods to gather consumer insights. The emergence of social communities has prompted a new research strategy, webnography, where researchers study online human interactions."  This strategy, according to Reyes, utilizes content analysis to better comprehend reactions, comments and click-throughs of online consumers.

As Online Communities grow in popularity as a method for companies to bring their marketing initiatives together, companies are also finding this new platform to be extremely lucrative for gaining insight and making crucial business decisions and measuring how people interact on the sites.

Similar to how social media sites like Twitter, Facebook (News - Alert) and Linked connect its users based on interests, an Online Community takes this concept to the next level and connects a business straight to its current and target customer-base. Online Communities enable businesses to monitor and interpret mentions of branding or competitors and reach out to their target audience for product reviews, feedback and more.

The result is that market researchers can now use Online Communities as a means to collect consumer insights from a broader audience and apply improvements based on consumer preferences and outlooks.  

To discuss how to use your Online Community to perform market research,  please contact a member of your dedicated TMCnet team.

About TMCnet Online Communities

TMCnet Online Communities are news-generated, content-rich portals that position your company as the leading “go-to resource” for your industry group. TMC (News - Alert) has been building Online Communities for over 10 years, and continues to be the market leader at developing these successful sites for our customers.  To learn more about the TMCnet Online Community program, please contact Anna Ritchie or call 203-852-6800 x 107. You can also visit us online at

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

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