When creating a new product or service, it’s important to learn how receptive your target audience will be. Extensive market research is necessary to succeed in all of your business endeavors – especially new launches. One of the most critical research components is the focus group. In this comprehensive guide, we will help outline how your business can successfully plan a focus group that will be highly effective in all of the endeavors associated with your business.
What is a Focus Group?
First things first. What is a focus group? It is a small group of individuals that most commonly represent your target market. Essentially, you share ideas with these individuals and ask questions that pertain to that which you are launching or your business, in general.
Ideally, it is best to ensure that the group consists of both current customers and those that could potentially become customers.
In short, you will attempt to gain an effective understanding of how the subject of your group will be received by a larger group of people and if you should make any changes prior to an official roll-out of your launch or an aspect of your business.
Why Place an Emphasis on Focus Groups?
According to studies, focus groups are considered to be one of the most popular and widely effective of all marketing research strategies utilized by businesses. You will be able to gain qualitative data and a wide array of insights that are immensely in-depth. Your business can successfully collect data on products that you offer, services that you specialize in, consumer perceptions, and the beliefs of consumers. The information that you may obtain from focus groups will help identify the true opinions and the attitudes of your target customers.
Focus groups are relatively small groups – usually anywhere from five to ten respondents. These individuals are brought together by a designated moderator in order to engage in a type of planned discussion.
Pre-determined questions are asked to the respondents. These are designed to obtain the thoughts and/or the feelings of the respondents on a product, service, topic, or a certain area of particular interest.
The discussion is typically open-ended and designed to be free-flowing. The purpose and intent of these groups is to obtain information that will help a business or a brand to make highly informed decisions and conclusions on some aspect of their company and/or that which they offer.
What are the Main Characteristics of Focus Groups?
In short, there are four primary characteristics of focus groups used for market research.
First, each group places an emphasis on the active involvement of a group of people. All of the individuals placed in the focus group has a commonality of some type of experience.
Collectively, the focus group is capable of providing high levels of depth in terms of qualitative data.
The discussion of the group retains a high level of focus so that a solid understanding of the thoughts and/or feelings of the people involved in the group will occur.
How Does a Focus Group Help in Building Successful Strategies for Your Business?
It is a known fact that focus groups will provide your business with information that will be priceless for the overall success of your business; that is, if the members of the group reflect people that would be included in your target audience.
These groups help in constructing strategies for the success of your business by the fact that you can grasp the needs of your customers and you may pull data that is meaningful by combining that which you receive with the numbers and other information obtained through surveys, questionnaires, and other associated marketing research endeavors.
The General Focus Group Outline
The secret to planning the most effective focus group rests in your outline of the session. Not only does the outline help you organize and structure the meeting, but it ensures that you obtain the specific type or types of information that your business is seeking. The following outlines a highly productive outline that will help in effective strategizing of your focus group encounters:
1. Select the Topic
When you start the discussion component of your focus group, you should ensure that you have the topic already selected. You may even choose a few topics. Narrowing down the topic to as few as possible will help the group retain their focus on the task at hand. You should make certain to plan on having more than one group session.
For example, if you are launching a new product, the sessions could be broken down in such a way as to the marketing strategies and the functionality of the product. If you attempt to squeeze in too many topics in one session, you will find that you are disappointed with the information that you obtain.
2. Questions and Prompts
Before opening up the focus group for official discussion, you should establish a list that includes both questions that you may ask as well as topic prompts. Ensure that the questions that you pose are asked in an open-ended manner.
For example, if you are launching a product, you could ask questions like the following:
- What do you like about how the product is packaged?
- What do you think should be charged for this type of product?
- Do you think of any other products when you see this one?
3. Create a Questionnaire
To obtain the most information for your session, ensure that you create a questionnaire for the members of your focus group. Here, you may keep track of the main points, responses that were common among participants, and any additional information that you obtain.
4. Offer Incentives
There are many ways to obtain people to participate in your focus group. You may reach out to current customers, advertise on social media platforms, and even advertise the position. The truth of the matter is, though, you absolutely need some type of incentive to entice people. Not only will you find that more are willing to take part in the group, but you will find that the information you obtain will be more detailed and beneficial to that which you are trying to accomplish.
Examples of good incentives include gift cards, cash, discounts, or even a freebie from your company.
5. Always Obtain Consent
Prior to starting the focus group, obtain the consent of your participants. You should provide them with information on the purpose of the event, identify their rights, outline any incentive you are offering, provide them with your contact information, and have them sign off on their approval of participation.
Focus groups may prove to be uncomfortable for participants. Start off with introductions and get your respondents talking.
Once everyone appears to be comfortable, you may officially start the session. Remember to take notes on any information that the participants share – such as their jobs, interests, etc.
All of this information will help give you more information that will allow you to better get to know your target audience.
7. Ask the Questions
Now, it is time to ask the questions. Remember, everyone must have a turn. This is even true of the members that are not all that talkative. You should have someone – other than yourself – taking notes of the main points that are made during the responses to your questions.
If you discover that someone is not responding to your questions, identify them by name and request their input. If you find that the group is becoming tense, ease off on the questions and lighten the conversation again.
Once everyone appears comfortable again, restart your questions and ensure everyone actively participates.
8. Analyze the Information
By this point in the focus group, you have been provided with many responses. These likely include many unique positions and ideas. Remember, soak it all up as you analyze your information. You will likely find that you have obtained even more than you bargained on gaining in the focus group. If you would like to gather more information from the participants, simply call them up, thank them for their participation, and inquire as to whether or not they would be willing to provide you with more information. This is a wonderful time to obtain clarification on anything that you have questions on.
Contact Us Today
If you need assistance in your marketing research endeavors, we here at Brick Road Media are standing by to assist you. You will obtain assistance in setting up your business website, the associated content for your website, and other types of evaluations that will lend to your overall success. We offer a comprehensive package of services that are sure to help you achieve the success that you desire! For more information or to speak to one of our business specialists today, we encourage you to contact us.