How Do Focus Groups Work?
You may have heard of focus groups, but have you ever wondered what happens when you sign up for one? What exactly are they, and how do they work? Simply put, a focus group is a marketing research tool aimed at bringing a group of people together to provide their feedback about a particular product, service, concept, or marketing campaign to a moderator.
When a company holds a focus group, they spend time before researching who they should include, gathering consent forms, and preparing questions, as well as analyzing the data afterward. For a closer look into what goes on during a focus group, here are five of the most common steps:
- The Moderator Introduction
At the beginning of a focus group, one or two moderators will introduce the topic and the schedule of events. They will then introduce themselves to the group, as well as the attendees to one another to help them feel more at ease. Focus group sessions can last anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on the needs of the company involved and the depth of the questions to be addressed.
- A Presentation of Topics
When the moderators present the focus group questions, the method typically varies between each group. Depending on who the attendees are and the needs of the company conducting the focus group, the questions could be presented in different ways. One option, for example, might include a few discussion topics to prompt the attendees to speak about their opinions among one another. Another method could be to disguise a researcher as an attendee to help guide the discussion or make the others feel more comfortable.
- Props or No Props?
Depending on what the company needs insight into, a focus group may or may not include props. The business may want to provide samples of a product, for example, for attendees to try and provide their opinions on. Another option is to provide photos of a new design, product, or other object to prompt opinions.
- A Statement of Opinions
As the attendees become more comfortable in the focus group and get a better understanding of the product or service being studied, they will begin giving opinions more freely. These opinions are the focal point of the entire study; getting insight into the minds of potential customers is an invaluable piece of data for companies to use in their marketing, product development, and more.
- Restating Key Points
During the wrap up section, the moderators will provide a recap of the discussion and restate any important key points. This section can also be used to clarify anything between the attendees and the moderators as well, so the data will be more accurate and representative of the session. Moderators may also ask the attendees to write up a conclusion of their experience and opinions, which provides an easy reminder on the general reaction from the group.
- Possible Compensation
In many instances, people who attend focus groups will be compensated in some way for taking time out of their lives to help the company. This could be in the form of a payment, a catered lunch, free childcare, gift cards, sample products, and more. The promise of compensation helps to incentivize people to participate and feel more comfortable in attending the focus group session.
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