Marketing is all about knowing your customers better than they know themselves. To achieve this goal, it takes engagement and insight into what makes your target audience tick. What better way to figure them out than to talk with them directly? It’s all but impossible to ask a large consumer group what they are looking for from your company on a case by case basis. That’s why focus groups are so powerful.
Here are the basics of how you can harness this marketing strategy research tool.
How to Use Focus Groups
Focus groups provide data. Data helps companies like yours identify and interpret trends. Those trends can help shape your business so that you are instinctually meeting the needs of your customers without them needing to tell you directly. How it works is that a company interviews a small but representative sample of their consumer base to test out new products, new development processes, reactions to concepts or prototypes. Even marketing messaging to make sure that the consumer reacts as hoped to new advertising messages or other types of marketing communications. Over the years, focus groups have become more and more targeted toward narrow information niches. If you have a specific question that applies to a very specific set of your customers, a focus group can quickly and effectively provide you a reliable answer.
Creating a Strong Focus Group
The most common way to select focus group participants is by demographic. Variables such as age, gender, geographic location, purchase behavior, attitudes, lifestyle information, all help focus in on those sample consumers who are most relevant to your audience and your business. While there is no perfect size for a focus group, participants are usually kept to a maximum of ten so as to get the high-quality answers you are seeking from the focus group as a whole. Remember that these individuals are representative of much greater audiences. Different moderators work best with different size groups. But that 8 to 10 range seems to be a strong benchmark for focus group success as it provides a wide range of perspectives and there is less chance of unique individuals dominating the discussion.
Outlining a Successful Session
A great focus group session has four key characteristics:
- They actively involve people
- The participants have a commonality of experience
- The participants are able to provide in depth qualitative data
- Discussion remains focused to help companies understand their viewpoints
To achieve these goals, sessions should be held in a comfortable and non-distracting environment where participants feel at ease providing their opinions. Make sure that you have the right information recording equipment on hand to capture the data as it is provided. Give the group a chance to settle in, provide an introduction to the moderator, each other and the process up front. After a session is ended, a report sums up the data that was provided. That information can help shape everything from marketing campaigns to products and so is highly worth focusing in on.
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For more tips on how to make a focus group work for you, contact the experts at Clarity Consultants today.