In 2014, the first time we were interviewed by Forrester about MROCs (Market Research Online Communities), a term they coined, we told them that we were building the first pure DIY MROC platform ever. They were quite impressed and I was too (by their reaction) because I was not aware at the time that none of the known vendors were offering a SaaS that was accessible with zero human interaction. In August 2015, Forrester published “Charting The 2015 Landscape Of Market Research Online Community Offerings” where DigitalMR’s communities247® featured as one of the 14 tools the report was evaluating.
I find it remarkable that there are only 14 vendors for online communities globally (registering on Forrester’s radar) when at the same time there are over 1,000 social media monitoring tools. I compare and refer to these 2 types of marketing tools specifically because these are the two SaaS products DigitalMR has been focusing on since 2012: listening247® and communities247®. Both will be available as DIY SaaS for market research agencies and brands alike.
For some reason, vendors in the online communities space avoid sharing their pricing plans online. I am not sure if it’s because this is a very competitive sector in terms of prices or because there are so many variations of a service like this that it’s difficult to capture pricing in 3-4 set plans.
SurveyMonkey, which is a great example of a DIY online survey tool, was established in 1999. It took the company 10 years to reach revenues of US$ 28 million; now 18 years later its revenue is closer to US$ 200 million with a valuation of US$ 2 Billion. I think SurveyMonkey despite a horrible brand name - in my humble opinion - became a disruptor by opening up the bottom of the pyramid in terms of new users who could not afford to do surveys up to that point in time. At present there are numerous blue chip customers that use SurveyMonkey for their online market research needs, such as Facebook, Salesforce, Samsung, and Virgin America. SurveyMonkey is now in phase II of the disruptive technologies path that Prof. Clayton Christensen has described in his book “The Innovator’s Dilemma”; they started eroding the market share of the incumbent companies. They are now good enough and simple enough for everyone to use.
DigitalMR will take the step that everyone is avoiding. It could be the most stupid move ever, or the most genius one. I guess we will soon find out. Next week for our presence at IIEX Europe 2017 we will introduce a FREE TRIAL Button on our website for communities247®. There will be no pricing plans to start with, but we will hopefully be able to gauge who is interested in “the SurveyMonkey” of online communities for market research. Another company made this same statement in 2013, but we do not think they have succeeded. Sometimes, timing plays a very important role on the success or failure of a new product. Stay tuned!