Monday, April 26, 2010
Are you really attending a "focus group?"
Things like getting reactions to ads or websites, marketing promotions and strategies and to explore new approaches are more common uses of focus groups. More importantly, these groups are tightly controlled and modified by professional researchers. The questions are written well in advance of the sessions and go through a formal approval process with the client prior to the actual group. Most of all, the information is private and highly confidential. Here are some occasions when a formal focus group is warranted:
- Generating new product ideas
- Predicting new product success
- Determining reasons for decreasing sales
- Spotting product gaps
- Determining product usage patterns
- Evaluating competition, pricing, advertising and strategy
- Pinpointing what and how customers/prospects think
Total confidentiality is afforded our clients since the location, moderator, questionnaire design, taping and screening are all done in-house. There is no opportunity for the group information to "leak" nor is the mere fact that these groups are being conducted known to the outside world.
So, the next time you hear someone calling an ordinary meeting to discuss a single topic called a focus group, be aware that using it in this manner is truly a misnomer.