In an ideal world, you’d know just how your product or business concept would be perceived before really released. This knowledge could help you make alterations to what you aren’t offering for the best possible reception, and better inform your sales projections and marketing strategy.
Sadly, you’ll never know exactly how what you’re offering will be received by your audience, which is why companies conduct market research.
But , while mass data collection through surveys gives you necessary quantitative information, keep in mind that offer as much qualitative regarding your target market’s look at or opinion of exactly what you’re selling.
This is where a focus group comes in.
So , what is a focus group, and how can it help you navigate your market research? Let’s explore all those two questions, next.
Exactly what focus group?
In the framework of market research for companies, a focus group is really a cohort of individuals participating in the guided discussion about a company, brand, product, and/or program.
Typically, a focus group is facilitated by associates from the business and is composed of individuals in the business’s target market who share their thoughts and opinions on the topic or offering in question.
A focus group is usually moderated by a representative or representatives of the firm, who ask 5-10 questions to the participants over the course of 30-60 minutes, with another facilitator keeping notes on the focus group questionnaire.
Follow In addition to a Free Focus Group Questionnaire Template
HubSpot’s Market Research Kit features a questionnaire template to use inside your focus groups, as well as four more templates to aid you inside your market research efforts. You can down load the kit here to assist you plan your focus group and market research.
You can also read more about the process of conducting a highly effective focus group in our post, How to Run a Focus Team for Your Business.
Next, why don’t explore the pros and downsides of a focus group.
The Pros of a Focus Group
1 . You get the story behind the data.
In focus groupings, qualitative data takes the main stage. Survey data is exceptionally powerful, but it’s difficult to understand the rationale for the figures without context. Focus organizations are a way to understand how somebody truly feels about your business and provide the why behind the data.
If someone answers a question in a way that interests a person, you’ll have the chance to dig much deeper. Ask “Why? ” See how the other participants feel about the specific answer. Gauge facial expression and tone of voice to see how people react to what you will absolutely talking about. You’ll end up with the emotional input from your target market that your surveys may not be in a position to provide.
2 . Focus organizations are interactive.
Those responding to a survey or a set of questions can’t pick up your items or use them, but they can in a focus group. If the subject of your focus group is tangible, observe and inquire questions about how participants make use of the product and feel about the packaging and design.
Here, you’ll see your product with the end-users’ eyes, which can help you realize something you hadn’t before.
3. They’re more efficient than interviews.
Interviewing individuals can take much longer than running focus groups with the same amount of people. Say you want to job interview 100 people, and each interview or focus group requires one hour. Getting the opinions of these 100 people would get 100 hours if interviewed, but only 20 hrs if participants were broken up into groups of five.
By doing this, you can get qualitative feedback from multiple people in a smaller amount of time — an enormous period saver, especially if most of your own participants think alike.
The Cons of a Focus Group
1 . They’re not completely representative.
What you gain through depth of opinion through focus groups, you lose within sample size.
Because concentrate groups take longer than research, you’ll hear from a bunch or hundreds of people in more time than it could take you to hear from thousands of people through your own surveys or exploring secondary analysis, such as previously conducted studies or surveys.
This constricts the amount of people whose insight you’ll receive, which means your own findings may not represent the particular opinions of your entire target market.
2 . They could encourage groupthink.
Have you ever been in a meeting exactly where one or two people voice a concept you disagree with, but everyone else agrees with the idea before you decide to have the chance to say your piece?
As a result, maybe you choose to go along with the idea… even though you aren’t its biggest fan?
That may be called groupthink, and it happens when a group rallies behind the vocalized idea that not everybody believes is correct for the sake of moving on or attempting to prevent a conflict.
Focus groups can quickly turn into one or two participants providing the bulk of the answers while the other four or five quietly nod in agreement. The issue is you’re now only obtaining input from two individuals – not the entire concentrate group, as intended.
You are able to avoid this by asking specific group members to answer in-depth, but some may be reluctant due to shyness or disinterest.
3. Your concentrate group moderators may have confirmation bias.
Focus group moderators are often attached to the project in question, and can come into the session with an idea of exactly where they think it will — or want it to — go.
For example , one ansager may want a product to be priced, packaged, or colored a specific way, and can lead the particular discussion towards that conclusion. This is known as observer addiction.
For instance, let’s say one moderator wants a product to be colored blue, and poses the particular open question to the team: “What colour should this be? ”
After everybody responds — and no one says blue — the lady might ask, “What about blue, might that work? ” Everyone silently nods, and she notes that the group decided blue would be a good colour, despite that being far from the ideal truth.
To overcome this, focus group moderators should be explicitly instructed to put their personal preferences aside and act as an objective group facilitator. You could also work with a market research firm, which typically has less interest in the product or subject than those from the business that are actually creating it.
Focus groups may not be the most efficient source of gathering data, nevertheless used appropriately, they can place a face and an emotion behind the statistics and quantitative data get gathered to better inform your company, marketing, and product development.
Keep in mind, focus groups are most effective when moderators organize their thoughts ahead of time and get notes during the session on the focus group questionnaire — which you can access for free here in our Market Research Kit.