The heart and soul of marketing – and ultimately, sales and profitability – is not found in products, pricing, positioning or promotions. In fact, the essence of marketing is governed by customers! In other words, the most fundamental objective of a business is not to sell. As noted by the “father of business consulting” Peter Drucker, it is to create customers.
In order to create customers, you have to know what they want to hear and this brings us to marketing research and focus groups. Simply put, focus groups enable businesses to coordinate their efforts and calibrate their messages based on what customers like. Then when it comes time to reach customers, there is traction, engagement and conversion – instead of indifference or, in some cases, irritation.
Below, we highlight the 3 key reasons why a focus group should be a key part of your overall market research program and strategy:
A Focus Group Lets You Go Below the Surface
Unlike surveys, a focus group enables you to dig deep with customers and understand their goals, aspirations, challenges, “pain points”, and other valuable insights. What’s more, this intelligence isn’t just captured by what customers say. Sometimes it’s even more meaningful to note what they do not say, as well as the tone and body language they use.
A great moderator can connect with participants and detect emotions that you would never capture in an online survey. They can also react to what participants are saying and ask more questions for clarification.
A Focus Group Improves Participation Rates
Customers are busy, and trying to engage them exclusively through online or mobile surveys can be an uphill struggle. Thankfully, a focus group is characterized by direct interaction, which means a much lower chance of non-participation – and ultimately, high quality data.
Expert interviewers can engage each focus group member and react to a non-participatory member, ensuring that every focus group session is highly productive. Also because a focus group typically involves more than two participants, they can talk to each other, share product interaction experiences and build upon each other’s ideas.
A Focus Group Creates Adaptable Interaction
If you need participants to engage with a product or you want to watch them use a device, a focus group is a great way to see this interaction. As mentioned above, a moderator will be able to detect confusion, clarify mental models and see moments of clarity when a focus group is using a product.
They can even adapt questions or scenarios based on how the focus group is reacting and based on what they need clarification on. While an online survey is nearly unchangeable while respondents are taking it, a focus group creates opportunities to learn more about questions you didn’t even know you had!
Additional Focus Group Thoughts
The focus group seems to be under attack in the modern market research world as an antiquated tool. However, if the sessions are expertly designed and facilitated, and the data is organized and analyzed correctly, the ROI can be substantial. Then businesses can look forward to actionable intelligence that helps them do what matters most: find and generate profitable customers.
At Communication for Research, we know what works and what doesn't work. We are professionals at coordinating everything to have the right people in the room to have your focus groups succeed. We use all of our experience, knowledge, systems and technology to ensure that our clients exploit focus group best practices and avoid pitfalls.
To learn more, contact us today to discuss your research questions and how CFR can help your business achieve its goals. With 20 years of experience and over 500 market research projects conducted annually, our team can provide valuable expertise as decision makers on your research team.