Pricing out a market research online community (MROC)

At some point during a pitch there is always the inevitable question - how much does it cost? When designing an approach to a market research online community (MROC), a few key variables play the greatest role in deciding the ultimate price of the initiative, including:

  • Community Size - As you can imagine, the more members in your community, the higher the price, as the costs for incentives, recruiting and overall community management scale with the number of members. Building smaller research communities can help keep your costs down, while offering a number of advantages over larger communities.
  • Length of Time - Running a MROC over many months (or years) is going to be more expensive, although the average monthly cost tends to decrease over time due to certain economies that result as the community progresses.
  • Activity Level - Some research communities are highly active (e.g., daily research-related activities), while others tend to be moderately active (e.g., weekly or bi-weekly research activities). As you can imagine, the costs for incentives, community management, moderation and reporting will scale accordingly.
  • Sample Source - Recruiting from client-provided sample will result in significant savings over purchased sample, as will using an online recruiting method over phone-based recruiting.
  • Frequency and Type of Reporting - Last, but definitely not least, are the reporting requirements for a MROC. Weekly memo community reports can be less expensive than a comprehensive summary report, although they may lack some detail.

As you can imagine, the actual amounts for each of these categories will vary by the vendor, objectives of the community, etc... However, I hope this provides you with a starting point for the variables to consider when outlining a MROC approach for your organization.


Matt Foley - Qualitative Research Consultant

Matt Foley
, Senior Qualitative Consultant & Managing Partner

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