It is generally accepted that in order to sustain innovative developments it is vital to research the market; this area itself is not often associated with innovation.
One organisation determined to prove otherwise is market research company Explain which has been at the forefront of market research innovation for 20 years and working with digital partner Better has recently launched a completely new way of engaging and researching different market sectors with customers.
The product, marked as Better Communities, capitalises on the growing use of social media and harnesses digital technology to provide a platform by which organisations can engage with their customers.Unlike Twitter or Facebook, the customer is invited by an organisation to join a private community so that they can exchange ideas and comments without competitors keeping tabs on the latest thinking and pool of ideas.
Market research companies have used panels of customers for insight and feedback over many years but the benefit of Better Communities is that it allows complete transparency so that the customer can start the process and debate, not just the sponsor, that is a huge step in innovation.
David Shiel, managing director of Explain, said:
“By tapping into innovation we can develop digital focus groups which make it so much easier to engage with our customers and stakeholders without the usual constraints of time and location planning.”
“Our experience has been that retail, utility and social housing companies all quickly seized the opportunity to take a giant step forward in their knowledge about the customer.”
“Having access to a massive database of customers reduces the cost of research and provides better, faster information.”
Chris Hylton, innovation manager (interim)at the North East Business and Innovation Centre, said: “It is an exciting time on the programme, welcoming companies like Explain on board.
“Explain are a great example of an innovative company, the business constantly evolves into new ways of market research and this is illustrated by the longevity of the company.
“I look forward to seeing how the company can evolve over the next three years using the programme.”
The business constantly evolves into new ways of market research and this is illustrated by its longevity.
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