In early 2018, NEEA staff launched the Market Research Online Community (MROC) pilot to determine if this methodology would support efficient research of certain market actors through online discussions and ongoing market research activities. The goal was to test the platform in order to assess if it enabled us to uncover market insights more quickly and at a lower cost than through other market research efforts.
We learned a great deal about the strengths and limitations of this type of platform and have concluded that while the online research platform itself offered a variety of options for market research, the community maintenance component is not an effective way to uncover market insights for the target markets NEEA requires. The residential MROC wrapped up at the end of January, and the commercial MROC is in the process of winding down. Over the next few months, NEEA staff will continue to test the use of the platform for commercial programs using on-line discussion and polling opportunities but will cease recruiting new community members and discontinue fielding more intensive (and costly) research efforts, such as surveys and structured group discussions.