Both large and small companies rely on focus group surveys to help them determine whether to launch a certain product, how to package and market it, and what demographic is most likely to buy it. But what is a focus group, and why is it becoming an increasingly popular tool? Focus group participants include a cross-section of the population, from 20-something college students to stay-at-home moms to retirees. By gathering opinions from such a diverse group, businesses can better gauge the likely response to a new product or service.
Things to consider when organizing a focus group survey:
- What focus group methodology you'll use
- If you'll use an in-person or online focus group
- Whether to hire a market research company or conduct the focus group yourself
Find a facility for your market research focus groupIf you run a small business, you may not have the space to host a focus group. For free or for a small fee, you can rent a conference room at your local library, or at a nearby restaurant or hotel. You can also rent space at a facility designed specifically for focus groups, which is a more expensive option but may offer tools, such as audio or video recording capabilities, that will enhance your focus group.
Select a moderator to lead your focus groupsThe person who leads your focus group sets the tone, encourages participants to provide honest and open opinions, and keeps the focus group discussion on track. Selecting a moderator is one of the most important aspects of organizing a focus group, because choosing the right person reduce the time and expense involved, and ensure you gather meaningful and relevant feedback. If you can't afford to hire a moderator, or prefer to have someone on staff instead of contracting with a third-party every time you want to conduct a focus group, you can train a current employee to fill this role.
Consider an online paid focus groupFor the ultimate in ease and diversity, consider an online focus group. You can gather feedback from people in different geographic regions (just keep in mind the time difference), and you eliminate the need for things like finding a space for the meeting or providing refreshments. Many online focus group companies provide chat areas for groups to meet, whiteboards on which participants can jot their thoughts, and even selection and screening of participants.
- If you're new to focus group research, you can hire a market research company to handle every aspect of the process--from finding a moderator to enlisting participants to preparing a focus group report with all the information gathered.