Recruiting a focus group is often the first step businesses take when beginning a market research study. Focus groups are great ways to begin exploring assumptions about potential products, consumers and the competition. They utilize dynamic interaction amongst peers to gain valuable, albeit general, insights that can help steer a business toward success. But recruiting a focus group that provides meaningful and actionable results takes a lot of planning. Take a look at our list of the top DOs and DON’Ts:
- DO have a plan for the group. Pick a specific issue you want to explore, such as “How easy is it for consumers to use this new medical device in a clinical setting?” Then, identify your target audience (medical professionals), designate a budget, develop a communication timeline and get to work.
- DON’T rely on people you know for opinions. It’s hard to get unbiased feedback from people with whom you already have a relationship. Seek neutral participants who don’t have a vested stake in any outcomes.
- DO choose a diverse group of people with at least one commonality. Use a qualifying questionnaire to screen potential participants based on specific shared demographics or experience. Using the above medical device example, it could be beneficial to screen and then select a group of doctors and nurses to evaluate your device. Doctors and nurses are both members of the medical profession, but they have different viewpoints and objectives. Discussing how factions of a similar group might use (or not use) your product or service can help you better understand your place in the market and possibly lead you to the identification of issues (i.e., opportunities!) you haven’t yet considered.
- DON’T choose too many (or too few) participants. Strive to have 8 to 12 people in your group. This ensures that people can carry on conversations without struggling to be heard. Too many people create chaos, but too few offer little practical insight.
- DO communicate efficiently and effectively with your potential participants. Contact them in appropriate ways and only as necessary. No one wants to be inundated with needless information over and over again.
- DON’T forget to offer an incentive. Showing your appreciation for participant time can mean you get people who feel valued. And people who feel valued are often more invested and eager to work.
- DO make it easy to participate. Pick a location that is convenient, easy to find and properly equipped. Meeting rooms should possess audio and visual equipment that provide minimal intrusion to discussion. Offer refreshments and make furnishings comfortable.
- Finally, DON’T make assumptions when focus group recruiting. With all these DOs and DON’Ts, it’s important to remember to be open to new methods, to question established guidelines and to use critical-thinking skills to find what works in each individual situation.
Do you need help with focus group recruiting? Communications for Research (CFR) has 20 years experience screening focus group participants and monitoring discussions so that our clients get relevant and actionable results. Contact our co-CEO Colson Steber today for more information on how we can help your business with top-quality market research.