Your goal in conducting market research focus groups is to learn as much as you can about your target market. Market research focus groups can give you a glimpse in the minds of your target market by revealing their thoughts, opinions, and feelings about a certain product, service or topic. Though conducting focus groups is a useful method of market research it should not be used as your sole method of market research.
What can Focus Groups be used for?
- obtain opinions and concerns about a product or service
- test out a new product
- improve an existing product or service
- develop ideas for new products or services
- learn about your target market’s wants, needs, concerns and motivation for buying
- generating ideas to solve a problem
What is a Focus Group?
A focus group is a group of anonymous people (fitting the profile of your target market) whom gather around to talk in debt about a certain product, service, or topic. The members of the focus group are chosen based on certain characteristics such as age, income, race and demographic location. A focus group can be made up of 6-15 people. In the focus group participants are asked about likes, dislikes, problems and opinions on a product or service. Each focus group should have a moderator. The moderator will be given a discussion guide sheet to guide him/ her along the session. The moderator is there to ask questions, encourage everyone to speak up but make sure they are not all talking at the same time. The participants of the focus group should be doing most of the talking, not the moderator. The participants should be able to voice their concerns, thoughts and opinions freely. A focus group can last 1-3 hours but no longer than that otherwise members may become restless.
Advantages of Market Research Focus Groups
- you can attain more in debt information about feelings, thoughts and concerns of your target market.
- Focus groups can provide a new perspective as well as new ideas for your product or service.
- This form of research is attained more quickly.
Disadvantages of Market Research Focus Groups
- Members may feel peer pressure to give certain answers or to go along with the group.
- The small size of the focus group may not be a good representation of the larger community.
- Can be expensive.
Costs of a focus group
Costs for a focus group meeting will vary. You can choose to hire a market research firm to conduct the focus group meeting for you. However if you are working with a budget you can decide to do it yourself. Of course participants will want to be compensated for their time anywhere from $20- $100 for each. Many focus groups also offer their participants free food or snacks.
New Trends with Focus Groups
A new trend with focus groups thanks to the Internet are online focus groups.There are benefits to conducting focus groups online such as lower costs. Instant messaging, screen sharing and webcams have made it possible to have a group discussions online.