Daimler creates an award-winning market research site with Commons

Drupal Commons speeds launch, while Acquia Cloud keeps it running

Daimler broke new ground to gain valuable insights into the needs and desires of one of its most important customer target groups, 20- to 45-year-old compact car drivers. With little precedent to rely on, Daimler decided that the best way to understand their target group was a social community website.

Stars Insight (stars-insight.com) offers features to entice the target group to participate, including Computer Aided Web Interviewing (CAWI) questionnaires, hosted chats, an interactive forum, and creativity contests. Drupal Commons turned out to be the perfect solution for this challenging project.

Daimler teamed up with Acquia partner TNS Infratest to produce a website that would meet their high standards. They decided that Commons would give them a head start: With so many community features already implemented out of the box, there was hardly anything left to add. Commons allowed TNS Infratest to develop the layout and functionality of a complex website within tight time and budget constraints. The company also chose to host the site on Acquia Cloud, optimized to enhance Commons’ innate reliability and speed.
“Commons has proven itself as a reliable platform that made it easy for us to quickly and flexibly realize our ideas.”
— Ullrich Neiss, Lead Project Manager, crowd-creation

How they did it

Stars Insight originally ran on a Pringo platform. But after a year of repeated problems with stability and scalability, Daimler and TNS Infratest decided it was time to migrate to Commons.

The site uses Commons’ built-in features extensively, including social functions such as relationships, user points, and badges. The most important part of Stars Insight is the discussions, which have been enhanced with a rating and reward system. Commons’ architecture, based on the open-source Drupal platform, made it easy to add these features.

Stars Insight conducts 250 polls yearly among the community members. The discussion forums have so far generated over 7,000 comments on 300 topics. Daimler gains specific guidance by allowing users to score their advertising campaigns, resulting in over 2,000 user ratings. These activities provide Daimler with an easy and cost-effective way to recognize new trends and get a long-term understanding of their target group for their Mercedes-Benz brand of premium compact cars.

The results

Daimler’s efforts are rewarded with even more than market insights. In May 2011, the company received the “Best Study 2011” award from the Federal Association of German Market and Social Researchers (BVM), which goes to the most innovative and creative study. They also won the TNS Discover Award in the Results category. “No other market research tool is able to provide consumer insights as fast as this on-line community,” said Kai Blask, Consultant at TNS Infratest.

Daimler and TNS Infratest were enthusiastic about Commons’ performance and Acquia’s support. “All my questions regarding hosting and data import and export were answered thoroughly,” said Ullrich Neiss, Lead Project Manager of online social-management company crowd-creation. Commons made getting Stars Insight off the ground fast and easy. Thanks to the Commons platform, they now have the whole toolbox of quantitative market research at their fingertips.

“It’s impossible for me to overstate the great job Acquia has done,” said Neiss. “Hosting with Acquia allows them to provide immediate support and keep the site tuned with remote administration. Their support staff is amazing. Acquia is always ready to offer assistance and keep us on track.”

Drupal Commons offers the flexibility, scale, and ease of use that Daimler was looking for. Commons was the perfect starting point for the project.