Closed loop consultation

mrhenderson Uncategorized Leave a Comment

There is a new consultation craze gripping the private sector.  Tired, survey-centric online panels are being replaced by online customer communities.  In the last month, I’ve been invited to join two:-

M&S Bank >

Eurostar Passenger Panel >

Obviously the technology is third party (and sometimes the moderation is too).  You can find some example providers over here.  I’ve been looking over the  ‘food futures’ online panel for a little while now – it’s 600 strong and hosted using CMNTY , run by OPM for BBSRC. The key challenges for panel management are many and include:-

  • Ensuring that panel health is maintained, including incentives and recruitment;
  • Ensuring that participants are adequately profiled;
  • Interpreting and acting on a lot of qualitative data;

Maintaining a ‘deeper’, two-way conversation with customers that you know well clearly has benefits.  Here’s an example from the M&S community that I thought was great – an A/B test for a new leaflet design:-


My gut feeling is that unless you have a research objective, you probably don’t need a new space for this sort of activity (Facebook will do?) but I’m ready to be proven wrong.  Mobile ethnography, however, is a much more interesting concept for a big consumer brand.


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