Tamara Barber [Posted by Tamara Barber]

I am oh so happy to report that our Forrester Wave on Full Service MROC vendors is now live on our site. This is the first time Forrester has done a Wave on this market, I sincerely hope our clients will find it chock-full of valuable info on the six vendors we reviewed: Communispace, Gongos Research, KL Communications, MarketTools, Passenger, and Vision Critical.

The goal of this Wave is to help market researchers understand how these full-service vendors stack-up against one another and where each of them have the greatest strengths. The MROC vendor landscape is becoming more varied by the day, with small boutiques opening up their own practices, and larger full-service MR firms expanding into MROCs as well. With client-side consumer market researchers being our main audience, we focused this Wave on vendors who can provide the whole soup-to-nuts solution in terms of recruiting, launching, moderating, and analyzing private online communities meant to extract consumer insights. In order to narrow down the field of vendors, we chose to look at those who have average annual contract deals of at least $100k and who have a strong focus on clients who have at least $1 billion in annual revenue. We figured that these clients would be the most demanding of their MROC vendors and would thus set the benchmarks for what a best-in-class vendor should look like.

So, the results? Here’s a very quick summary:  At the front of the pack Communispace and Vision Critical are in our Leaders circle. The former has superior deliverables and extensive best practices for how to maximize communities for research, and the latter is a solid research company with technical chops and an offering that ranges from very small to very large communities. I’m happy to say that the other four vendors were in the Strong Performers circle, meaning that we really did pick the best of the breed in choosing who we evaluated. Passenger knows how to communicate the brand’s voice throughout a community and optimize member engagement. MarketTools has superior technology and a methodology to take community insights into quantitative testing and then back into communities for feedback. Gongos Research got points for  innovative community applications and also got high marks for clients’ view that the firm is a true research partner that can cover both qualitative and quantitative research. Last, KL Communications is strong on encouraging member to member interactions and also regularly integrates social media into its community environment.

All in all, this report should be a great tool for market researchers who are ready to consider this exciting research method. I welcome your comments on the results, as well as on any vendors that I should consider including the next time around!