Front Porch Forums

Consider complementing your cooperative’s traditional quantitative market research with Front Porch Forums, an emerging research tool used for collecting qualitative information.

TSE Services now offers an online qualitative research platform for cooperatives called Front Porch Forums. Front Porch Forums make use of an emerging research methodology called a market research online community (MROC), and can be thought of as an online focus group for your cooperative to engage with your members in new and unique way. It is the ideal platform for gathering insights, attitudes, and opinions from a small segment of members through organic conversation in a moderated setting. This type of attitude-oriented feedback is unique, and not easily collected with traditional survey methods.

These forums are among the most important qualitative tools driving online market research today and give cooperatives the opportunity to connect with members across their service area using an online platform similar to those used in social media applications such as Facebook.

Benefits of a Front Porch Forum:

  • A forum positions the membership as an essential and effective partner.
  • The attitude-oriented feedback collected through a forum is unique, and not easily collected with traditional survey methods.
  • The platform allows for image mark ups, website evaluations, billing statement evaluations, video reviews, and more.
  • There is a discussion board feature which provides cooperatives the opportunity to inform members of their initiatives, while at the same time, members are able to interact with each other, share opinions, and act as advocates for the cooperative.
  • 75 members can participate, which is a larger than most traditional focus groups.
  • The forum is a flexible platform for busy members who wish to engage with the cooperative, but cannot commit ample time during the day due to other obligations.
  • There is no coordination of busy schedules; participants can log on and participate when it is most convenient for them. Members do not all need to be online at the same time.
  • There is no time is spent traveling to and from meetings.
  • The forum is an opportunity to connect with a unique segment of members who may not regularly engage with the cooperative in-person (i.e. tech-savvy members and younger members).
  • Cooperative members of all ages are more connected than ever before. Most are connected via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. And penetration of in home wireless routers providing wireless internet access to mobile devices and connected appliances is commonplace in today’s electric cooperative household.  The once wide technology divide between old and young continues to shrink as middle-aged and senior members expand their utilization of technology.

Cooperatives can incorporate a wide range of topics into the activities and contents of forum studies. The forum will typically be open for one week. Upon completion of the forum, TSE Services will provide a comprehensive report including a detailed Executive Summary of the findings. The project timeline, from initial discussions with TSE Services to having a completed report in hand, is about 6 weeks.

Want more information?
Please contact Audrey Gould ( to set up a web conference and to discuss the capabilities of the forums in more detail, ask questions, or discuss pricing. In addition, click here to read more about Front Porch Forums on our website!

Additional questions can be answered by our staff.  Thanks for your attention today.

Scott Saff, Manager Research Services / or call 919.875.3037
Audrey Gould, Market Research Analyst / or call at 919.645.2227

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