Data Tells a Story: How to Make Market Research Engaging

Market research

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Market research is data. Historically, market research was about collecting a whole compilation of data and sending it off to a client for them to slice and dice as they saw fit. Today, it has evolved to providing insights alongside data sets. Data tells a story and it takes good market research practices to make data’s story relevant and applicable.

Association Market Research

In associations, market researchers have data, insights, and engaged members to tap into. The voice of the member is not one-sided. Members care if the community has relevant content, networking, notable speakers at events, and meaningful opportunities to engage. In addition, members want their voices to be heard. Unlike other industries where engaged respondents are hard to come by, association research is sourced from advocates willing to provide quality feedback. It is music to a market researcher’s ears.

Effective market research builds customers up, listens to them, and utilizes their feedback to inform decisions about the community. In user groups, market research takes capturing the voice of the member to a whole new level.

Here at Innovatis Group, we see the value of this unique audience. We make it our goal to not only foster community engagement, but also prioritize the voice of the member. Data-driven decisions are part of the culture at Innovatis Group and it all starts with a tried and true process. Customized quantitative and qualitative engagements, strategic multi-phased campaigns, and actionable insights are critical elements of a market research campaign.

How to Make Market Research Engaging – The 5 Cs

User groups are powerful communities full of rich insights. But, how do you best leverage all the community has to offer? We’ve developed a proven method of success in association market research. We’ve cracked the code on making research productive, engaging, and strategic in this 5-step process.


Make market research a regular and valuable experience for the user community. Captivate the community and its stakeholders by showcasing the enhanced engagement and tangible changes that can arise from strategic market research campaigns. This involves adding regular and intentional data collection as standard procedure within the community.


First, set up a discovery call with key stakeholders to conceptualize the goals and objectives of the market research campaign. It is essential to get everyone on the same page. Identify what research questions need to be answered and explore what hypotheses need to be tested. Diving in too quickly without alignment on research objectives can result in a lot of data with little meaning or value.


Choose an engagement style and research method that aligns with the campaign’s objectives and audience. You know who your members are and what resonates with them, so engage with them in a compelling way! Whether it’s a focus group, a survey, or an exit question after an event, customize the method, tone, and voice of the questions to yield successful results. Also be sure to build a timeline and outreach plan before the campaign kicks off.

If the questions and data gathering methods are not thoughtfully prepared and strategically crafted, members can easily become frustrated or lose interest. This leaves stakeholders without the vital answers they need to guide community decisions. Sometimes a simple change in wording is all it takes to remove confusion in a question.


It’s time to capture the voice of the member! Launch the campaign and collect the data. Choose how to alert members that they are able to share their voice. Is it an engaging email, a text, or a post on an active discussion board? Pick a method that resonates with the target audience. As data comes in, review the real-time results, monitor how the campaign is going, and make any adjustments as needed.


Finally, analyze and synthesize the data into a story that’s valuable for stakeholders. Ensure the final deliverable is in a useful format for the stakeholder. For example, do they prefer a slide deck with detailed graphs and headlines, a one-sheeter with key findings, or a dashboard to filter the raw data? Capitalize on the data at hand and craft it into a cohesive story that yields actionable recommendations. When data is presented in a compelling manner, it can quickly help educate business decisions and invoke real change in user communities.

It is important to keep a pulse on the community and not rely on old data. Continue to monitor the community’s health and progress over time on key metrics. This ensures that strategic decisions are made with relevant and timely datasets.

A critical piece to this step is not to forget to close the feedback loop. Have a plan for how and when the data and resulting action items will be shared with the community. Keep members in the loop so they see the tangible benefits of taking the time to share their feedback. This will keep your feedback loop healthy, strong, and benefitting all parties involved!

At Innovatis, the 5 Cs of engaging market research helps us gain valuable and actionable feedback for our clients’ communities. Effective research campaigns have informed our content strategies, helping us produce more interesting programming. Our research has connected us with passionate volunteers that have helped us start new local chapters across the globe. We’ve been able to elicit feedback from members that directly informed and improved new product development.

The 5 Cs are a framework for better understanding your communities. Done well, market research can drive member engagement with actionable results to benefit every member.

Contact us today to explore how Innovatis Group can help make market research more engaging and valuable for your community.

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Shanna Cleveland

Shanna Cleveland

Shanna Cleveland is the Senior Market Research Coordinator who runs CX strategy for Innovatis Group. She partners with executives and community leaders to elicit customer opinion through customized engagement campaigns. After years of working in the market research industry, Shanna knows that an engaged audience is critical to collecting valuable insights that can best educate business decisions. She has designed, implemented, and analyzed research strategies for several Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries. Outside of work, Shanna enjoys soaking up the sun on her paddle board or hitting the slopes on her snowboard.