Focus Groups: Their Importance and How to Conduct One
Focus groups are useful for organizations looking to know more about their customers or future target market. They let you gather information and participate in engaging discussions that can influence your business choices.
And what exactly are focus groups? In general, it's a driven conversation about a new product, program, or marketing campaign with a representative group of consumers. You ask questions and facilitate a dialog between your target market in order to learn about their opinions and then use those insights to shape your future campaigns or launches.
If you've agreed to organize focus groups for your small company, you need to find out how to get it done.
When to use Focus Groups?
The best time to use focus groups is when more important is in-person, social-oriented feedback. Take, for example:
· Seeing and handling a product is essential: First-hand consumers experiencing a new product might have questions that you wouldn't otherwise think they would answer.
· When body language is as important as what has been said: One, not everybody is comfortable saying negative things, and two, others may have difficulty expressing themselves, so it is very useful to gage body language.
· Knowing how a group dynamic differs: Individuals have different priorities and expectations, but others will also influence their own personal perspectives, so focus groups reveal dynamic group.
· Exploring consumer language: Studying a focus group will give your insight into how people are going to talk about your product or service.
· Insight into a demographic target: A focus group with specific types of individuals can provide beneficial insight into how their particular demographic will react to your product, service or subject.
Can you have an Online Focus Group?
Yes, you can still get focus groups online. There are two approaches which include:
Using specific online platforms and services: A lot of focus group software is available online, so try out the likes of Collab to, Focus Vision or Focus Group It and see which one suits your focus group purposes best.
Consider online video resources to take a DIY approach: Through hosting your own DIY focus group through Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, take advantage of modern video conferencing technology. Again, there are a lot of variations between the choices, so check them all out and see what best suits your needs.
Conducting a Focus Group
The focus groups are not all alike. But a general list of steps will help guide your journey towards gathering valuable information from target clients.
1. Set Goals
Each focus group should have one clear objective. Should not view it as a general session of market research; rather, use it as an opportunity to learn about the views of consumers on a particular aspect of your initiative. For example, if you are considering introducing a new product line full of environmentally friendly goods, your conversation topics will concentrate on how much consumers appreciate that quality, rather than other aspects of such products.
2. Specify Your Target Market
You also have to ponder what target customers you want to learn from. If a new product is mainly geared towards an older demographic, this group should be the focus. Typically speaking, you want a diverse group, so consider bringing people from any ethnicity or interest group that could make up your client base.
3. Choose a Location and Time
You need a large enough physical location to fit your participants in one area, such as a lobby or large meeting room. Typically speaking, you only want about five to fifteen conversation participants each. You can also make it convenient for anyone to get there, with ample parking or near to public transit. Be aware of the time when your ideal participants are likely to be available upon scheduling. When you're talking to students, for example, that will definitely be after work hours.
It is then time to actually invite people to join your focus group. From your email address or list, you can reach out directly to clients, or advertise the opportunity in publications or media common with the target or community audience. For example, if you are in your community looking for pet owners, put up ads around local veterinary offices. Ask people to reach out to confirm and you might even be giving a little gift or reward to participate.
5. Write Questions
Once you are mindful of your goals and participants, you need to be more specific about what you want to ask. All questions will concentrate on your goals, with will intended to ignite deep conversations. Try to keep all objective and open-ended, including questions including "why" and "how."
6. Facilitate the Group
Now you're actually getting to run the event. Ideally you will have two or three members of your team present. One is there to ask the questions and encourage talks. Throughout the session the other will take notes, record and provide support. While sticking with a general outline and a list of topics is important, you should also remain open-minded and encourage participants to bring up points they think are relevant. When you simply follow a thread and give people a place to communicate freely, you may be shocked at what you know.
7. Analyse the Results
Your focus group is successful only if you are in a position to act on the information received. Take some time afterwards to go through the notes and recordings to dig in the information provided by the participants. You may spot patterns affecting your strategies or policies, or mention interesting points you hadn't previously thought of. You can then draw on the information to boost the performance of your new goods or marketing strategies.
Focus groups are a common form of market research, used to learn more about the clients. If you have never previously hosted a focus group for your small business, the tips above may allow you to stay organized and in fact draw valuable insights from the participants that can make your new initiatives successful. Once you hold your first focus group, you will learn which techniques you have used to best work with your company, and then make changes as you grow. -- time you perform focus groups for your company, at each stage you are likely to get even better and eventually get more beneficial results.
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